Tiger Jams Center Stage perfectly showcased indie music, presenting CHVRCHES and great local indie bands

Tiger Jams Center Stage perfectly showcased indie music, presenting CHVRCHES and great local indie bands

For many on their way to attending the Tiger Jams Center Stage concert last Saturday night, the hype and excitement was all about CHVRCHES, who were playing for the very first time in Bangkok. One of the most exciting indie synth pop bands in the world, CHVRCHES were set to play in Bangkok in November 2014, but unfortunately had to cancel. But now they were finally here and the crowd of fans and live music lovers were prepared for a great show.

But in the end, the audience got a lot more than they expected, an experience that has been over 4 months in the making.

It all started with the Tiger Jams competition, designed to help give unsigned bands the opportunity to be discovered. We were at the auditions back and May to see each band give their very best. 30 bands got to perform for a judging panel comprising of key people in the industry, 10 chosen finalists got to play at pop up Tiger Jams Showcase concerts around town, and the 3 winning bands got to co-create songs with some big Thai indie bands and play at the final Tiger Jams Center Stage concert. Oh, and 1 band even got to get their song remixed by CHVRCHES! Not bad rewards at all. Even for those who didn’t win their were major ramifications, with 2 bands from the batch ultimately getting signed by local labels and many other bands getting booked for key indie gigs.

 

Tiger Jams Center Stage concert delivered a perfect palette of indie music – from brand new local talent23’O, Mirr and Monkey Business, to 3 of Thailand’s top indie bands Jelly Rocket, Somkiat and Polycat, to of course CHVRCHES

 

So much time and preparation had gone into everything, as we must mention that besides the music, some fantastic work was put into both lighting and installations by local talents Tuna Dunn, Eyedropper Fill and Dudesweet.

The stage was set, and the Tiger Jams Center Stage concert delivered a perfect palette of indie music – from brand new local talent 23’O, Mirr and Monkey Business, to 3 of Thailand’s top indie bands Jelly Rocket, Somkiat and Polycat, to of course CHVRCHES.

And the line-up was perfect, with Somkiat up first. Straight off a brand new music video release that featured some great local actors, they had a lot of fans in the room and quickly drew in a crowd that jut steadily got bigger with each following act. With great, upbeat pop rock numbers, they got things moving from the get go, with a great, energetic set featuring their classics like Whatever.

Mirr were up next, and a little bit more melancholy than most of the other bands. They also performed their new song Good Luck, Girl which will be remixed by CHVRCHES soon.

Next to play was dream pop band Jelly Rocket, with their songs How Long and Forgotten getting a fantastic response from the audience. We love how lead signer Pun rallied the crowd time and again and how everyone else, especially drummer Aphiwich, just looked like they were enjoying the best day of their life. Great set, great moments.

 

 

Up next was 23’O, who actually really impressed me. They were new to people and had the task of winning the crowd over, but succeeded with a really straightforward, fun set full of upbeat pop rock numbers like All C.

By this time the crowd had grown and up next before big acts Polycat and CHVRCHES was Monkey Business. They got that spot for good reason, because seriously, you’ve never heard something exactly like what they do. A mix of electronic, jazz, pop and more their music has a really specific groove. They performed their standout song Baby Monkey with every ounce of energy they could muster and their brand new song Do It that they’ve done an incredible video for lately, which got a great response.

Polycat, a band who need no introduction here, played their set next, which included all their great numbers like Teardrops, Alright and So Long. I completely get why these guys are so popular. They’ve almost single-handedly made 80s music huge in Thailand lately and their lead vocalist Na has fantastic stage presence. They had some nice surprises on the night as well, like inviting local band Chanudom’s drummer to join them on stage and Na shamelessly promoting his backup singer’s new material, much to her delight.

 

Unlike quite a few bands who almost apologetically introduce their new material, with Every Eye OpenCHVRCHES have clearly picked up with where they left off with The Bones of What You Believe and the crowd’s amazing response to all their songs was proof of that.

 

Time was already flying past, but unfortunately it was about the speed by even faster.

After a smart little delay to get the crowd into an excited tizzy, CHVRCHES appeared on stage. Cue madness as they started their set with Never Ending Circles.

To be honest I think a lot of people in the room didn’t even know CHVRCHES very well, but within 1 hour, they sure did. They delivered an incredible performance, a good example that you can’t judge a band’s onstage performance by what you hear online, it’s very much a different experience live.

CHVRCHES‘ setlist was a perfect mix and match of songs from their first and second albums. Unlike quite a few bands who almost apologetically introduce their new material, with Every Eye Open CHVRCHES have clearly picked up with where they left off with The Bones of What You Believeand the crowd’s amazing response to all their songs was proof of that.

 

It was just that sort of night. From every angle, the sort of night bands dream of. For CHVRCHES, they’ll be hard-pressed to get a better welcome to a city, and for the brand new indie bands who shared the stage with them, this will be a night they remember for the rest of their lives.

 

They roared through We Sink, Keep You on My Side, Make Them Gold, Empty Threat, Gun and High Enough to Carry You Over, with the energy particularly rising when Martin Doherty performed Under The Tide, with people near me mentioning he had fantastic stage presence.

The crowd went nuts as the band performed Recover, Bury It, Leave a Trace and Clearest Blue – all clear favorites – but nothing could prepare for the moment they played The Mother We Share. Lauren Mayberry started if off with a neat little acapella intro to get the crowd perfectly riled up, and they then took full advantage of every bit of the sound system, filling the whole space with a wall of sound that somehow still couldn’t drown out the fans singing along.

As much as I wished there could have been an encore, it was nice to see Lauren promise “we’ll see you with the third album”.

It was just that sort of night. From every angle, the sort of night bands dream of. For CHVRCHES, they’ll be hard-pressed to get a better welcome to a city, and for the brand new indie bands who shared the stage with them, this will be a night they remember for the rest of their lives.

— Written by Abner Olivieri, contributed to by Kris Ongrattanasenee. Images courtesy of Fungjai and Tiger Beer. Photos taken by Bemanoy and N. Noun Studio n’ Production.

 

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