Honne isn’t Coldplay or Ed Sheeran. But the London duo of multi-instrumentalists James Hatcher and Andy Clutterbuck provoked the same response from their captive audience: Demand for its first-ever show in Singapore was so overwhelming that the outing’s promoters, the reliably next-level purveyors at Moonbeats Asia, who did us a solid with Crystal Castles last month, opened a second-date staging on Saturday, the next day. Not only was this remarkable news for fans, it proved that you don’t need to be Top 40 mainstream headline-cloggers to get the love in Singapore. And love was certainly in the air, as over the course of last weekend, it suffused the Esplanade Annexe Studio as it surged from the two-day sold-out crowd to the band and vice versa. We count ourselves lucky to have been there to radiate and bask in that love. Here’s a memory of that time that we’d love to share.
Even before their critically bedecked debut album Warm on Cold Night hit the ether last year, James and Andy were already an attractive proposition. It’s hard to say no to two strapping young lads who make soulful, earnest Blue-eyed soul that has just the right amount of dance-inducing groove that doesn’t detract from the beautiful gravity of their songwriting. And if you were in attendance, you’d know just how much the gifts of the album were amplified by the twosome’s fantastically nimble touring band. A special shoutout must be awarded to the bassist – so much of the night’s sublimely voluptuous grooves came from him.
So, from the inviting opener till the closing notes of the show’s final kiss-off, the low-key masterpiece of a pledge-all-to-bae love song, “Warm on a Cold Night”, the crowd was held in the thrall of the moment. A moment that was soundtracked by cuts like “Coastal Love” and “Good Together” and illuminated by a vividly lovely array of stage lighting.
The sing-alongs were plentiful and emphatic; the entire show was a celebration of how great it feels when two people find each other. Men sang to their women and vice versa – reflecting the synchronicity of the sublimely earthy elements unfurling from the stage.
Encounters like this is why people go to gigs. We’ve lost so much to the accelerated pace of modern life. But last weekend proved that you can still be in room with people you feel good about being in the room with and sing aloud to a band you love. Warm on a cold night, indeed.
Photography courtesy of Moonbeats Asia.