"YOUR LIPSTICK STAIN IS A WORK OF ART…" | SOUND OFF: 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER

by Miss Atomic Bomb

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If One Direction’s Harry Styles created his own spin-off band, they’d probably look and sound exactly like 5 Seconds Of Summer, an Australian pop punk band that caters to today’s “soft grunge” youth. While they’re not exactly for everyone, I have a special fondness for pop punk because it reminds me of days when I used to blast my own fair share of Simple Plan, Blink 182, Sum 41, etc. — back when the genre reached its peak circa early 2001 and when today’s millennials are either just popping out or at the very least, still learning how to walk.

But beyond nostalgia, I like how there’s no pretense to 5 Seconds Of Summer. They have a specific aesthetic (with a lot of help from American Apparel it seems) and their music serves that. There’s no trying to accommodate the ”indie” crowd but there’s not a whole desire to be the next One Direction either (even though the media likes to pit them against each other quite a lot). They’re young and charming, cheerful and a whole lot of fun, sure. But they rock that gitara quite a bit and put out a cheeky sneer or two just enough to win the hearts of today’s tye-dyed shirt wearing young generation.

They’re more pop than punk as of now but by allowing them room for growth and with people from McFly helping them out with writing their own songs, they have the potential to eventually produce hits like my own favourite gem below:

They’re already gaining popularity but also, maybe, somewhere down the line when today’s youth reach their mid-20s, they’d be able to look back to these days and remember every lyric to their songs. Music is an effective time machine and 5 Seconds Of Summer can be a great vehicle for it.

SOUND OFF: YOUNG KATO

BY ANNIE FORD

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In this age of Spotify and Spinnr, I discovered Young Kato one summer afternoon, when the opening bass notes of “Help Yourself” came on the radio station I was streaming while at work, and what first seemed like a Two Door Cinema Club b-side turned out to be an even better musical discovery. As the song played on, I let the lyrics sink in and hit me right at my core. I eventually find myself going guano to the beat, since I haven’t stumbled upon anything this catchy and vibrant in a long time. When it got to its symphonic, synthesizer and percussion-laden bridge that was highly reminiscent of a Foals arrangement, I shouted the words I’ve been dying for some time and told my friends: “You’ve got to turn this up! It’s fucking fantastic!”

Young Kato are a British, six-piece band from Cheltenham, composed of Tommy Wright  on vocals, Joe Green and Jack Edwards on guitars, Joe Lever on bass, Harry Steele on keyboards, and Sam Henderson on drums. Their sound draws from a lot of musical influences, but Tommy and Green have always been vocal about their 80’s inspirations. They were put on the map of the UK music scene shortly after having some of their songs featured on different UK shows and quickly rose to fame after performing in the fifth season opener of “Made in Chelsea,” the UK’s version of “The Hills.” Aside from their loop-worthy and radio-friendly singles, touring alongside top acts such as Bastille, Peace, You Me at Six, Don Broco, Swim Deep, The 1975, and Tribes has given them a devoted fanbase that just keeps growing and growing by the day.

I’ve been in a Young Kato spiral for months. After discovering them on the radio, I immediately went to look for their entire discography on the Internet and saw that I was just among the few fans in Manila that followed their sound. I kept their songs on heavy rotation from then on – blasting them on my daily playlists and including them in the tracklistings of the monthly mixtapes I uploaded online. “Lights” and “Ignite” were immediate favorites because of my penchant for symphonic guitar explosions, “Revolution,” “Breakout,” and “Life’s Good” can easily brighten up any cloudy day, while “Drink Dance Play” and their new cover of Boy Meets Girl’s “Waiting for A Star to Fall” are just stellar and spectacular from start to finish.

Their latest single, “Sunshine,” can easily pass for Manila’s next summer anthem, since it boasts of a catchy saxophone hook, a great foot-stomping melody, and a fantastically built-up chorus that will just make anyone go ape, get up, and start dancing. I first heard “Sunshine” when I caught their gig at London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, where I could’ve sworn I was dancing and singing like a carefree lunatic to all of their songs while being a few feet away from the band onstage. It’s no surprise that Young Kato are already climbing their way to the top of the UK music charts, and there’s no doubt that things will just skyrocket for them once they release of their much-anticipated, full-length album before the year ends. So go ahead, hit one of the “play” buttons here and join the Young Kato movement. You’ll thank us later. 

Coldplay in Tokyo: CALL IT MAGIC, CALL IT TRUE - Tokyo Dome City Hall June 10, 2014

BY THE GIRL WHO

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I ticked off another item in my concert bucketlist when I caught Coldplay’s show in Tokyo, which was part of the 6-city, intimate tour that the band announced months before the release of their latest album, Ghost Stories.  This was not the first time I traveled miles to see a band perform live, and I didn’t mind how much it cost. Seeing Coldplay in Tokyo was probably my only chance of seeing them because I wasn’t sure if they were ever going to visit Manila. Through the years, there were rumors of the band coming to the Philippines, but those were indeed just rumors that broke my heart countless times.

The concert venue could only accommodate 3,000 people and the concert ticketing system for the show was very disappointing because it was done through a “lottery system.” With the help of my sister, I signed up and registered to apply for tickets, before losing the lottery twice. I was heartbroken for not being able to secure any, but I decided to take my chances and still fly to Tokyo. 

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I met a couple of fans from different parts of the world -  Australia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand – waiting outside the concert venue. All of them flew in without a concert ticket as well because they booked flights already before they could even get a concert ticket. It was lovely to meet them and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this adventure.

 imageIt was a sold out show and I was really, really having a hard time finding a ticket. There were auctions online, but the ticket prices are too high. A few hours before the show, I saw a lot of people with their signs that read how they were trying to get a ticket and willing to pay 2x - 4x of its original ticket price. I put all my hopes in a jar and did the same thing. I never imagined myself doing it, but I did.  I stood outside Tokyo Dome City Hall holding a sign. One of the fans I met found a ticket an hour before the gates opened. I told myself that there was still hope and I knew I could find one for myself. Money can’t buy you happiness, but a Coldplay concert ticket is the same thing. I was walking around outside the venue holding that sign. Out of the blue, a Japanese guy approached me asked If I need a ticket and I SAID YES!  Then, he handed me the ticket and pay him 12,000Yen. THE UNIVERSE HEARD MY PRAYERS!

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I ran into the stadium and already heard Coldplay playing their first song. That very moment when I saw the band on stage, I felt like I was dreaming. I was amazed how they sounded so great. I became teary eyed and almost burst into tears out of happiness. The atmosphere was unbelievable and I enjoyed every single moment. Coldplay sounded even better live. Chris Martin was so good with the crowd even tried to speak a little Japanese much to the fans’ approval. It was an hour and half set full of amazing memories. The lasers, the stars and the band’s energetic performance were just amazing. It was a totally memorable concert adventure that unfolded like a sky full of stars that aligned.

SETLIST:

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SOUND OFF: YEARS & YEARS

by Miss Atomic Bomb

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Years & Years is a brand new group that made its debut just about a year ago and already, it’s making waves. It certainly helps that their featured lead is Olly Alexander, a known actor in the British seas for his work on “Skins”, “Penny Dreadful” and the up and coming film (with fellow British broods Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth and Max Irons), “The Riot Club”. Apparently the young lad has quite a voice in the shower that prompted the band’s guitarist to recruit him - the result is less shower tunes and more ‘cool-vibe-smoke-me-up-in-the-club-and-take-me-back-to-your-cot’ that I dig immensely. It’s completely new and original, and stands out in today’s generic indie folk scene.

Their first single featured Ben Whishaw (you might also recognize him from a lot of movies including the most recent Bond film, “Skyfall”) doing a cathartic dance, entranced by the moment and the music:

It’s a minty tune that induces one to do exactly what Ben does in the video - get up and “dance the pain away…”

The second single (released just a few days ago) takes up a more urgent beat with Olly coaxing you to "Take shelter, take the pressure. Do what you want tonight. It’s alright, if you want to get used… then get used." It, again, features another noted name: Emily Browning (of “Sucker Punch” fame) playing some sort of woodland nymph that unwittingly seduced Olly’s character into a shared stuporous dance.

While their videos present quite a bit of odd-dancing and illustrious actors, ultimately the real star is Olly’s more entrancing J.T. voice that makes it seem like you get to shed a few years worth of burden from your shoulders with every listen. Go on then, give it a listen.

The Gathering with Travis at The Star Theatre, Singapore – August 1, 2014

BY THE GIRL WHO

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Just a year ago, I went to see Travis live for the first time in Tokyo. I had a blast and those memories are still fresh. When it was announced a couple months ago that they would be playing in Singapore, I just knew I have to go see them again and I believed it was going to be a different experience the second time around.

Come concert day, my friend and I met we went to Marina Bay Sands before heading to the venue. We were a little bit early and decided to have an early dinner. As always, I was so excited that I couldn’t finish my meal. When we arrived at the Star Theater, the gate was already opened and I decided to get inside and wait. I was so happy I got a front row seat ticket, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a problem to get to the barricades and get closer to the band.

The show started later than expected. The opening act - a local band named Take Two - took the stage and played couple of their original songs and a few cover songs from Peter Bjorn & John and Two Door Cinema Club. They sounded really good, but my I knew that my heart was really screaming for Travis to take the stage. When Andy, Neil, Dougie and Fran finally appeared on stage, everyone went crazy. I WENT CRAZY and I saw everyone in the back row section rush to the front of the stage.

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They played their first song, “Mother” followed by “Selfish Jean” and “Pipe Dreams.” Fran talked to the crowd and said they were so happy to be back. This is their fourth visit in Singapore, 2001 when they shared the stage with Coldplay; Singfest 2008 and in 2009 Formula 1 concert. They continued playing new songs from new album and some songs from their old records, which I really, really enjoyed because it felt like a toast to my 15 years or so of listening to (and loving) Travis.

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One of the highlights and my favorite moment of the show would be an acoustic rendition of “Flowers in the Window,” which had a very intimate set-up where the PA system was turned off and the only thing you could hear was the strum of Fran’s acoustic guitar and him singing in acapella. He even asked the crowd to resist singing along for it to work. IT WAS SO LOVELY, I nearly cried. All these years, the band maintained their charm and can still rock in their 40’s. Watching Santa-looking Fran Healy climb and jump off the drum kit was pretty badass, too. Andy even tried to top that by climbing one of the huge speakers, tossing his guitar down to a roadie before carefully jumping down.

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Travis is one in a million and I hope and I know they will never stop making beautiful songs.

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The Setlist


"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."
― Chris Martin (lead vocals)
Zoom Info

"Although it’s painful at the time, most of the things that people have said about us negatively - some of them are true and you can work on them, and the ones that you don’t agree with, you don’t work on."

 Chris Martin (lead vocals)

MAY: Call it Magic, Call it Coldplay

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MAY 2014 ARTIST OF THE MONTH

Coldplay are a British rock quartet with members (from left) Will Champion (drums), Guy Berryman (bass), Jonny Buckland (lead guitar), and Chris Martin (lead vocals, piano).

Call it Magic, call it Coldplay.

To mark the release of their new album GHOST STORIES, and to celebrate their music that made us believe in magic, The Pen Lane will be featuring Coldplay this May.

Get ready to witness a Sky Full of Stars in this Magical May of Coldplay.

Ghost Stories, out May 19th
http://coldplay.com