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13 live gigs to check out in Singapore this year

Next up: The Foo Fighters, The xx, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande and more

By Adam Kerr | May 22, 2017

  • 13 live gigs to check out in Singapore this year
    Laneway Festival Singapore. Photo credit: Aloysius Lim

Feels like half the year just whizzed past us in an instant, yet, we've had quite an amazing repertoire of live music acts already. We saw a good mix of biggies like Metallica, PJ Harvey and Coldplay, smaller bands like Honeyblood and The Fin., the incredibly epic line-ups at Laneway and SingJazz, trance savant Armin van Buuren and the very, very fun French synth-pop band Yelle, among others. But hold on, we're just barely scratching the surface. The later part of the year will see The xx, Foo Fighters, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Justice, and Ed Sheeran doing their thing right here in Singapore. Get your tickets while you still can. If they’re sold out, you might just strike gold on Carousell or the gig’s Facebook event page, but we can’t promise you that the prices won’t be marked up. 

Crystal Castles (May 23)

How amazing was their set at Neon Lights last year? We were a little skeptical about how the Canadian indie-electro duo’s dynamics would be with new lead vocalist Edith Frances (she replaced the beautiful Alice Glass who left in 2014), but things worked out really well. The friendly duo, together with live drummer Christopher Chartrand were a friendly bunch who didn’t turn away their fans’ request to take photos with them while they were exploring the grounds. Their low-res 8-bit melodies and pop hooks produced by Ethan Kath, paired with Frances’ haunting, altered vocals will resonate with once more come May. Early bird tickets are sold now. Standard tickets are available for $80 (standard) via Moonbeats Asia. 8:30pm, *SCAPE The Ground Theatre

Air (May 27)

The atmospheric, enchanting and trippy work of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel—better known as Air—is the stuff of soundtracks and reflective moments, and they’re set to bring their unique sound to Singapore for the very first time. Air will perform at the Esplanade Theatres on May 27. Expect to hear tracks like Sexy Boy, Cherry Blossom Girl, La Femme d'Argent and more. Tickets are priced from $88 via ApacTix. 8:30pm, Esplanade Theatre

Sting (May 28)

Multiple Grammy winner Sting, known for seminal hits like "Shape of my Heart", "Desert Rose" and and "All for Love", a collab with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, returns to Singapore after five years as part of his “57th and 9th”’s tour. The former lead singer and songwriter of The Police, will be playing songs from his 12th (!) solo album, his first rock/pop album in over a decade. Expect to hear different styles of music ranging from melodic tunes to high octane guitar solos with songs like “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You” and “Petrol Head”. He will be accompanied by a three-piece band which consisting of long-time guitarist Dominic Milner, Josh Freese on drums and Rufus Miller on guitar. After all these years of coming to jam it out in Singapore, he'll be joined by his son Joe Sumner, who's currently the singer-songwriter and bassist for the rock outfit Fiction Plane. Ticket prices are available from $108 via SportsHub Tix8pm, Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Honne (Jun 2-3)

Alt R&B has been on the rise, slowly creeping its way into the mainstream with artists like AlunaGeorge, Banks, Nao, and Kehlani at the forefront of the scene. But among the many great acts who have become staples in our Spotify playlists is this electronic duo from London who’s captured our hearts and many others around the world with their brand of dance-y yet heartfelt, personal songs. In just about two years, they’ve amassed 20 million Spotify streams, a couple of Hype Machine number one singles and sell-out tours; clearly their music resonates with many of us going through similar “digital love” situations. Tickets are sold out for both days, but you can try other platforms like Carousell or keep checking their event page. 7:30pm, Esplanade Annexe Studio

Britney Spears (Jun 30)

Photo credit: Randee St. Nicholas via RCA Records

Eighteen years after her debut album ...Baby One More Time dropped, fans of Britney Spears in Singapore will finally get to see their princess put on a full-length concert. The mother of two has been under public scrutiny since she was young, being part of The Mickey Mouse Club together with Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell. She once married in Vegas but it was later annulled just 55 hours later because she "lacked understanding of her actions". More drama ensued: she shaved her head, attacked a paparazzi's car with an umbrella and became pretty much a gold mine for the tabloids. But we’re glad that’s all behind her, and she’s well enough to come perform hit after hit, like “…Baby One More Time”, “Toxic” and “I’m a Slave 4 U”, for her fans here in Singapore. Tickets are priced from $188 via Sports Hub Tix. 8pm, Singapore Indoor Stadium

Banks (Jul 11)

Remember when you had to make the painful decision between watching Chet Faker and Banks back at the 2015 edition of Laneway Festival? Well, we’ve already seen Chet Faker (or rather, Nick Murphy) when he came again this year. And for those who missed out on Banks, she’s making her return to our shores for a headlining concert this July. Born Jillian Rose Banks, this Californian alternative R&B singer-songwriter will be bringing her blend of sultry vocals, painfully honest lyrics and dark music production to Capitol Theatre on Jul 11. Like most indie musicians, she started out on releasing music on SoundCloud. The track "Before I Ever Met You", which made it to her first album Goddess, was picked up by BBC Radio 1. She then released her debut EP in March 2013 under music label Good Years Recordings, and the rest was history. Since her humble beginnings, she's been nominated for numerous awards and has a total of two amazing records under her belt; the latest being The Altar, which debuted at #17 on the US Billboard 200. Tickets are priced at $98 (standard) and $120 (door) via ApacTix. 8pm, Capitol Theatre.

The xx + Sampha (Jul 25)

We were pretty confident that they weren't going to go through Japan and Australia without coming here too, seeing how they sold out both their shows at The Star Performing Arts Centre in 2013 and during their debut in 2010 at the Esplanade Theatre alongside Florence + The Machine. The great appeal of The xx is perhaps the vulnerability they present in their music—a space that’s jarringly empty and minimally filled with reverbing guitars and sounds and raw, honest lyrics. They won the world over with their Mercury Prize winning self-titled debut album, which had songs that ought to be listened to under the comfort of crumpled duvets with a box of tissues on standby. Then they did it again with the 2012 follow-up record, Coexist (one of our favorite tracks is "Our Song", which was essentially a letter by the band members to each other). And this year they released I See You, an album that revolves around themes of survival and has much more variety to offer compared to their first two records. Joining them on the tour is one of UK’s rising singer-songwriters Sampha. He spent his formative years lending his vocals, music production and songwriting prowess on an impressive repertoire of tracks, often collaborating with biggies like SBTRKT, FKA twigs, Frank Ocean, Kanye West and many more. Just last month, he released his debut album Process, an introspective, soulful record that comes from grief and how he copes with it. Tickets are priced from $98 via Sports Hub Tix. 8pm, Singapore Indoor Stadium

Bastille (Aug 14)

Did you miss Bastille's concert when they were last here at The Coliseum in 2015 or as part of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix lineup in 2016? Not to worry if you did, because they are making their third Singapore appearance this August. Besides looking forward to the anthemic singalong of "Pompeii", expect tunes from their most recent album Wild World, which took the top spot on the UK and Scottish album charts just a week after it was released last year. Tickets are priced from $68 via Sistic. 8pm, The Star Theatre

Justice (Aug 15)

We were just about as thrilled as the next person when French electronic music duo Justice announced that they'll be coming down to Singapore, even if it's for a DJ set at Zouk. Along with the likes of Daft Punk, Air and Etienne de Crecy, they rose to fame during the second wave of what was known as the French Touch scene. Who could forget the now legendary, super dance-y track, "D.A.N.C.E.", off their debut album (pronounced "Cross")? With their third and latest studio album Woman (released in Sept last year, after a five-year hiatus) in tow, get ready to move your feet and let loose. Tickets are priced at $110 via TicketBox. 9:30pm, Zouk Singapore

Foo Fighters (Aug 26)

Photo credit: Foo Fighters' Facebook page

We were all so psyched when the Foo Fighters announced that they'd be performing at The Padang in 2012 for their Wasting Light Tour. It would've been one of the biggest live gigs in Singapore, had they not cancelled because of a medical condition of a key band member (frontman Dave Grohl). Doctors had advised him to "take it easy on his voice", and mentioned that they'd "see [us] all in the not too distant future". They’ve kept their promise and will be performing at the National Stadium. Prior to their May 16 announcement, the legendary rock outfit had already confirmed a headlining slot at Japan's Summer Sonic Festival, with another teaser that they'd be in Bangkok, so it was natural to speculate that they were going to keep to their word and redeem themselves for the cancellation five years ago. This will be the second time they’ll be performing in Singapore, after making their debut at the WTC Harbour Pavilion in 1996. Tickets are priced from $128 via Sports Hub Tix from 10am on May 23. 8pm, National Stadium

F1 Singapore Grand Prix (Sep 15-17)

The Chainsmokers

For the tenth edition of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, the organizers are pulling out all the stops with the announcement that not one, but five international acts will be having full-length concerts for this year’s entertainment lineup. Headlining acts include pop darling Ariana Grande and EDM duo The Chainsmokers, both making their first appearances in Singapore, plus pop-rock band OneRepublic, 80s synth pop sensation Duran Duran, English singer-songwriter Seal and Scottish EDM DJ-producer Calvin Harris. Making sure there is something for everyone, soulful female multi-instrumentalist Lianne La Havas and British spoken word performer and rapper George the Poet will be taking the stage as well. We are especially curious as to how George’s brand of thoughtful social commentary will be received by Grand Prix goers. And that’s not all, at least according to race promoters Singapore GP. They are teasing us with a tidbit that even more acts, including the Sunday post-race headliner, will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets are priced from $248, and are available via the official F1 Singapore Grand Prix website. Various timings, Padang Stage/Village Stage/Downtown/Esplanade Outdoor Theatre

Lucy Rose (Sep 18)

English indie folk singer-songwriter Lucy Rose's early beginnings didn't start with vocal lessons or karaoke sessions from young; instead, it only started when she played drums in her school orchestra. She only began writing fresh material after buying a guitar from a shop located on the way to school at 16. However, they never saw the light of day until she was done with her A-levels and left home. She later met the frontman of Bombay Bicycle Club after moving to London when she was 18, and the rest was history. She now has two studio albums under her belt, and a third one, Something's Changing, which comes with an accompanying documentary, slated for release this July. It’ll be screened during her Lucy Rose Cinema Tour when she returns to Singapore in September. Tickets are priced at $50 via Peatix. 8pm, The Projector

Ed Sheeran (Nov 11-12)

If you were about to make plans to fly over to Manila to see British singer-songwriter perform at the end of the year (he mentioned in a pre-recorded video at a fan gathering in Philippines stating that he'd be back in Manila this year), hold your horses, cause he’ll be stopping by Singapore for the Asian leg of his “Divide” World Tour. The last time he was here back in 2015, tickets for his concert sold like hotcakes. He serenaded a 5,000-strong crowd at The Star Theatre with hits from his first two albums, Plus and Multiply. But with his current success, he’ll need a much bigger venue, which is why he’ll be performing at Singapore Indoor Stadium this time round. Since his last appearance here, he's gone on to clinch two huge Grammys—Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for Thinking Out Loud—adding on to his already stellar collection of awards (Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist, Album of the Year, Best Male Solo Artists... just to name a few). Tickets are sold out, but you can try other platforms like Carousell or keep checking their event page. 8pm, Singapore Indoor Stadium

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