Providing a phenomenal start to a year that’s bound to be filled with great music, ST. JEROME’S LANEWAY FESTIVAL 2018 had over 10,000 people grooving, singing and chilling throughout the spacious The Meadow at Gardens By The Bay on January 27. There was never a dull moment as festival-goers were treated to three different stages, the Garden Stage, Bay Stage at front and center, and the Cloud Stage which was just a short walk away. Here were some of our favorite moments from the event:
At exactly 12:15PM, alextbh officially opened the show, making a grand entrance at the Garden Stage, wearing his pride flag as a cape. He then proceeds to hook us all with his infectious electronic beats and sultry voice, and what he calls his “twink r&b music.” Our memorable moment was when Alex did a cover of SZA’s Love Galore, and ending his set with his single, Stoop So Low.
Right next door, Amy Shark, accompanied by her full band, officially opened the Bay Stage. You would never have guessed it was her first time to perform in Asia, as she was quickly able to draw in a crowd with her energy, enthusiasm and — of course, her amazing voice. Her set had the audience moving with her music and had fans singing along to her hits Adore and Blood Brothers.
After Amy’s set, we walked over to the Cloud Stage where we got to catch local Singaporean rock band, Amateur Takes Control. We quickly ended up joining the jumping, head-banging crowd that they had drawn in, while being equally mesmerized with their music. We also got to catch a glimpse of another local Singaporean band, Obedient Wives Club, who impressed us with their easy-going and catchy blend of indie rock and indie pop music.
Making our way back to the Garden Stage, we squeezed our way in and secured a spot in the front row, not wanting to miss a single second of The Ransom Collective’s set. We were immediately surrounded with a crowd filled with band’s family, friends and fans who, like us, made our way from the Philippines to see one our favorite indie folk acts perform in a renowned international festival. As with other TRC performances, we were joined by people wearing band shirts, and those who held up cut-outs of the band’s faces, while we danced, swayed and sang to Settled, Open Road, and Fools among other great songs from the band’s first full album, Traces. Despite a small miscommunication in the first few minutes of the set between the band and the tech team, TRC was still able to smoothly transition into their first song, and deliver the same great set we’ve seen them perform countlessly, which attracted a big audience filled with other festival goers, and filled our hearts with pride (Aww).
Singer Billie Eilish then followed with her set at the Bay Stage. The 16-year old “pop prodigy” had the audience jumping and chanting the lyrics to her song Burn, as she followed with more of her original songs. She also had the audience pleasantly surprised as she brought out her ukulele and did an intimate, stripped-down set, while also managing to sneak in a cover of Drake’s Hotline Bling.
Following Billie was one of the acts that we — at least here at Indie Manila — had been extremely excited for. After a bit of a lengthy and teasing soundcheck (trust us, it was both exciting and torturous to see the entire band up there, and just wait as patiently as we could for them to play), The Internet performed their first song Under Control, which had us all jumping and screaming (or squealing?). They performed hits like Girl and Special Affair from their album, Ego Death, and even songs from vocalist Syd and guitarist Steve Lacy, who both started solo projects and had released albums just last year. The band then ended their set with our personal favorite Get Away. If we could describe the entire set in just two words it would be this: smooth and swabe.
Over at the Bay Stage, Mac DeMarco soon followed, coming out with his band and wearing an oversized orange shirt (yes, this is relevant to his music… somehow). The Canadian singer-songwriter also drew a massive crowd to his side of the stage, as he performed his original songs, while at one point even putting down his guitar to play drums as his band did a cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers Under the Bridge.
Back at the Garden Stage, Wolf Alice started their set, while gave us a bit of a shock as guitarist and vocalist Ellie Rowsell came out in an elegant white dress, and then shortly proceeded to scream the hooks of her songs. The British alternative rock band set the stage on fire and made sure they had the audience as powered up as they were. “Not only is the amplifier broken,” bassist Theo Ellis announced on the mic mid-set “but my trousers are as well.” Definitely our favorite part of their set.
Slowdive followed at the Bay Stage with their soothing ambient music, which felt like the equivalent of a chugging down a big gulp of cold water that we needed to drink after Wolf Alice’s explosive set. We caught a lot of festival goers with their eyes closed, swaying and bobbing their heads to Slowdive’s calming, dream pop and shoegaze originals. The band ended their set with crowd favorite Sugar For The Pill.
Before I talk about the next act, know that at this point we had stayed standing right in our exact same spots at the front row for the past 5 hours — with no sitting, no bathroom breaks and no leaving (except, of course, to buy beer) — because we wanted to be as close as we possibly could with to the next act; and he made the wait worth it.
After a lot of excited chanting and screaming, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals started their set with a bang, with the band ready and positioned, playing the first few chords of Come Down before .Paak came running right in, and jumped on the monitors, positioning himself at the very front and center of the stage — but right after the first line of the song, it seemed a wire had either burst or tripped causing the entire sound system to shut down. While the audience was worried this would affect the performance, Anderson and The Free Nationals came right back out after a couple of minutes with the same energy as they did the first time, with an enthusiastic Anderson .Paak telling the audience “Let’s do this again, Singapore!”
The entire set had us all jumping, screaming, dancing and grooving, and even had us squatting along with Anderson and The Free Nationals at some point, as they performed songs mostly from the highly successful Malibu, Anderson’s debut album Venice, and his newest album (as NxWorries), Yes Lawd! Anderson put on a fiery performance as he constantly switched from rapping to singing to dancing to drumming. We may be biased, but this was definitely the hottest performance that day.
Jumping off the energy of the previous act, Father John Misty followed with his set at the Bay Stage. Wearing his signature shades and white polo (buttoned pretty low, as usual), the American singer-songwriter gave us a set full of good vibes, and a couple of laughs.
Late into the night, second-to-the-last performer Bonobo closed the Garden Stage with his widely anticipated performance. Bringing in his band and even a vocalist, Bonobo had literally everyone in the audience up on their feet, dancing, and pumping their fists as he played a variety of songs from his wide and diverse catalog of music. It was easy for all of us to lose ourselves in his music, become hypnotized with his mesmerizing visuals, and forget our tiredness and aching feet.
Truth be told, us being the titas that we are here at Indie Manila, we were drained by the time Bonobo’s set had ended so we weren’t able to catch the last performer (and recent Grammy award-winner), The War On Drugs, but we have no doubt that they put on a rocking performance. We also would have loved to have seen other acts such as Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Aldous Harding, Sylvan Esso, Tim De Cotta, Loyle Career, Moses Sumney, MAS1A and THELIONCITYBOY, who performed at the Cloud Stage, but of course, there’s always next year, and we already can’t wait for ST. JEROME’S LANEWAY FESTIVAL 2019 to come sooner.
Our stories may have expired, but you can still see some of the photos we took during the event at @indiemanilalive on Instagram, as well as @indiemanilalive on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to stay tuned, as we post some exclusive content from interviews with Amy Shark, The Ransom Collective and The Internet. Make sure you never miss out on our content, download our app available at the Play Store, just key in ‘Indie Manila’ on the search bar.