When the Singapore leg of Laneway was first announced in 2010, I was unfortunately serving our dear nation in an army camp somewhere far north. Mind-numbingly bored and stuck in camp for training, the day was only made worse when my then-girlfriend added salt to injury by not only attending it (for free, mind you) but also gushing over the set that Foals played – the one band I was dying to see that year. It sucked.

If you weren’t one of the lucky few who attended the first Laneway (or Rainway as the papers called it the next day), it might be hard to understand why it was such a big deal. For anyone who chooses to listen to something other than the Top 40s drivel on radio or the EDM bangers that Zoukout serves, the Australian-born Laneway Festival has always been a Mecca of sorts. Singapore may have had its fair share of talented indie artistes stopping by over the years, but an entire festival over a day packed with talent was an inconceivable idea back then. Until it happened.

Playing the festival were bands like Temper Trap, !!!, Beach House, Deerhunter, Foals, Holy Fuck, Ladyhawke, Warpaint and Yeasayer – the list read like a Who’s Who of 2010’s coolest bands and the reality of the festival was better than imagined. Since then, Laneway has revamped itself several times, changing locations from Fort Canning where the first two were held to Gardens by the Bay and introduced more regional and local acts. Management itself has changed but at its heart, the festival’s core belief in good music hasn’t.

This year won’t be different with several acts well-known for putting on incredible stage performances hitting our shores. The Internet (with Syd the Kyd of Odd Future-fame), dance electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso, indie rockers The War on Drugs, shoegaze legends Slowdive, local post-rock outfit Amateur Takes Control, rapper THELIONCITYBOY and Malaysia’s gen-Z electro-dreampop hero alextbh are some of the acts we’re looking forward to watch.

If none of these names sound familiar, fret not. It’s part of the annual ritual for most Laneway-goers anyway. Half the people attending will be there for three acts and the other half has probably memorised the lyrics to every act playing. And that’s the best point about live music really. You’re bound to leave with some form of appreciation for whoever you might be watching. Heck, we’ve watched Ed Sheeran not knowing any of his music but left humming his tunes and in admiration.

If you want to come a little more prepared, search Spotify or iTunes for a Laneway 2018 playlist and groove along with the tunes. For the more mature crowd with a fear of “crazy millenials” such as myself, fret not. I spend most Laneways at the bar, taking down the names of the artistes. I’m the old geezer (by Laneway standards) muttering away under his breath. I’ll see you there.

Laneway Festival is on 27 January, tickets are available at singapore.lanewayfestival.com

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