10 Singaporean Musicians Who Slay Live Performances And Where To Stalk Them

9 minutes reading time (1845 words)

Singapore's best live performers


On the surface, Singapore music only consists of famous names like The Sam Willows, Gentle Bones and Shigga Shay. However, there are so many more musicians that you need to know - from buskers like Ken Loh, to the HubbaBubbas.

Here’s the 411, we’ve sieved through Singapore's music scene and picked out the bands that will help you enjoy music the way it should be: live. 


1. 53A


It’s safe to say 53A requires no introduction, as performers of 2016's National Day theme song, Tomorrow’s Here Today. They are no strangers to NDP medleys, having performed a few of their own during live shows. That, coupled with being among Singapore's most recognisable faces in the bar scene, led to performing a national day song being a natural next step.


With the sunny Sara Wee at the forefront, 53A brings joy to its listeners from the positivity that exudes from their renditions. On bass is Bani (B-Quartet's former drummer), who is no stranger to grand stages. Both musicians have worked tirelessly as mentors in the music industry, guiding young talents through high profile mentorship programs like the Noise Music Mentorship (NMM) Programme or Baybeats Budding Bands Programme. 

Catch them at:
Tuesday | Timbre @ The Substation | 8.30 PM
Thursday | HIVE By Wala Wala | 9.30 PM
Friday | Timbre @ The Substation | 10.15 PM

Look out for:
53A’s Friday sets at Timbre Substation. The Friday night feels go hand in hand with their sets.


2. Supersonic



These rockstars are no strangers to the live music scene and, chances are, if you're a regular bar hopper, you'd have chanced upon one of their sets. With Supersonic’s massive sound, any stage is evolved into a festival, no matter how small the pedestal they stand on. 


I was treated to the band’s brand of eclectic showmanship on a Friday night at Timbre+ - they were rocking out to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody! Never have I watched this song played live but Supersonic delivered it with a side of class while frontwoman Cassie’s intense belting might have gained Mr Mercury’s approval.

Catch them at: 
Tuesday | Timbre @ Gillman Barracks | 7.15 PM - 10.30 PM
Wednesday | Timbre+ | 7.30 PM - 11.30 PM
Thursday | Timbre @ The Arts House | 8.15 PM - 11.30 PM|
Friday | Timbre+ | 8.30 PM - 12.30 PM
Saturday | Timbre @ The Substation | 10.30 PM - 1.30PM

Look out for: 
Anthemic rock songs like Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’.


3. Sweatshop Jam



Versatile and trendy, the quintet isn’t restrained by genre conventions. Top 40s is the band’s main staple so any avid radio or YouTube’s Featured listeners will know the lyrics to jam out to Sweatshop Jam’s renditions. 


Prioritising their grooves and upbeat rhythms, the band’s bass and stripped-down drums combo puts the fun in live music - be sure to direct your attention to the two musicians! Frontman Helmizar’s unique tenor vocals fit the band’s R&B and pop covers perfectly, and his witty banter with bassist Yazzit will keep you entertained through their entire set.

Catch them at:
Tuesday | Timbre @ The Arts House | 8.30 PM - 11.30 PM
Wednesday | Timbre+ | 7.30 PM - 11.30 PM
Thursday | Timbre @ Gillman Barracks | 7.15 PM - 10.30 PM
Friday | Timbre @ The Arts House | 7.15 PM - 9.15 PM
Saturday | Timbre @ The Arts House | 8.30 PM - 12.45 PM

Look out for: 
The chemistry between the bass and drums combo. Also, their cover of ‘Cake By The Ocean’ by DNCE.


4. Stopgap



This young quintet - they're 23 years old on average - may not be as experienced as live bands that accompany bars like Wala Wala and Timbre, but they are just as amazing in their craft. With a full-length album under their belt titled ‘Totems’, Stopgap eases in their compositions and musicianship nonchalantly live on stage - all while having a world of fun. 


A typical Stopgap show includes humour, energy and lots of dancing, so familiarise yourself with the best songs on Totems: ‘Run Out’, ‘Crossing Swords’, and ‘A Tough Nut to Crack’. Then, you'll be ready to compete with their fans on who sings along the loudest – and trust me, you’ll be a Stopgap convert soon enough.

Catch them at: 
They don't have regular gigs, but Stopgap will be performing at the Noise Singapore 2016 Festival Concert, on 27 August at 930pm at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.

Look out for: 
Their original song titled ‘Nervous’, which has guitar riffs that will entice you into a frenzy of fun. 



5. Shirlyn and the UnXpected



Heading out the office door on a Friday evening signals the start of a merry weekend. The accompaniment of loud, rock music is a plus and Shirlyn and the UnXpected is a perfect addition to your weekly celebration. Their live sets are ferocious and mighty - the band is known to be crazy aggressive in their classic rock and metal renditions. 


Aerosmith, Metallica, Bon Jovi and Iron Maiden are some of the bands that this local outfit loves covering, with diehard fans head banging their approval with beer mugs held to the sky.

Catch them at:
Wednesday | Mad Men The Attic Bar | 8.30 PM
Thursday | Wala Wala | 9.30 PM
Friday | HIVE by Wala Wala | 9.45 PM
Saturday | Wala Wala | 9.30 PM

Look out for: 
Brandon Khoo - demigod on the drums. He's amassed a wealth of experience performing all over the world and sessioning for various bands and international artists, and he's more than happy to share this knowledge. Besides working with global drumming ambassador, Dom Famularo, to introduce the "Freestroke Technique" to drummers in Singapore, he is also a long-time supporter and mentor with NMM.


6. Smells Like Last Friday



Lead singer Amanda’s sweet nature offstage will fool the bejeezus out of unsuspecting gig-goers and we understand why. On stage, her personality is taken over by a rock goddess as she co-leads the band alongside Clement Yang, from legendary band Ugly In The Morning. 

She and her guitar are one - I’ve seen her restringing it while on stage as the band was playing, showing how comfortable she is as a stage performer. Highly versatile, Clement has also performed with renowned Mandopopartists like David Tao, Jaycee Chan and Kit Chan; and is actively involved in guiding young talents through the NMM programme.


Smells Like Last Friday is versatile, allowing them to transcend typical rock anthems to cover pop artists like Bruno Mars and Maroon 5.

Catch them at:
Friday | Hood Bar and Cafe

Look out for: 
Shane Hon’s periodic shreds on the guitar. Your eyes won't be able to keep track of his lightning quick fingers.


7. Randolf Arriola



Unlike many bands in this list, Randolf Arriola is a one-man show. He plays the drums, the bass, the guitar and vocals at the same time - all with the help of a looper. A looper basically helps any musician auto-loop a melody so that he can add more layers of melody or rhythms. 


Randolf’s creativity and artistry create wondrous landscapes of sound that is missing in live bands. This is especially seen in his cover of U2's With Or Without You.

Catch him at:
Thursday | HIVE by Wala Wala
Friday | Wala Wala | 7.00PM

Look out for: 
When Randolf uses his vocal effects as a trumpet.


8. Jack and Rai



Naturally hilarious on stage, Jack and Rai never fail to spice up any evening with their antics - whether calling their drummer, Joe, names to his face, or poking fun at the audience. It’s almost a requisite for entertaining restaurant audiences for years! Their stripped down, adapted renditions of the top 40s like Imagine Dragon’s ‘It’s Time’ or Kings Of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’ are the staples that keep their fans coming back. 


Having performed at Wala Wala since 2002, the duo is synonymous to the bar’s brand. Unsurprisingly, they’ve carved themselves an extensive career in the music scene, with Jack doubling up as a NMM mentor.

Catch them at:
Monday | HIVE by Wala Wala | 9.30 PM
Sunday | Wala Wala | 9.30 PM

Look out for: 
How Jack and Rai take turns to lead a song - as a result, take note of how their style changes!


9. Koji



A budding band for Esplanade’s yearly alternative music festival, Baybeats, as well as being a NMM alumni, Koji have shown that with humility and hard work, local bands can reap rewards. You should see the standing ovations they receive for their sets. 


Koji’s debut self-titled EP gets live attendees dancing with their infectious grooves, and listeners weeping from their honest lyrical depictions - especially in their single, ‘Closure’. The denim-clad band prides themselves as a groove rock band that will keep you dancing or head banging.

Catch them at: 
Timbre @ The Substation 
Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 7.30 PM

Look out for: 
Drummer Naz’s cowbell. 


10. HubbaBubbas



HubbaBubbas is a post-acoustic trio consisting of vocalist Stephanie Lim, beatboxer Mervyn Ye and acoustic guitarist Ryan Chan. With their malleable and unique take on percussions and the ability to adapt into different styles, the band plays a plethora of genres, ranging from jazz to hip hop. 


Starting out as buskers, the band has recently proved their standing in the local music scene with the release of their EP, Amy(gdala), at a sold out show in Aliwal Arts Centre! The band's music video of their single, ‘Address’, depicts an aesthetically pleasing game show in full pastel palette. A music video that's fitting for a cute trio!

Catch them at: 
Noise Singapore 2016 Festival Concert
27th August 2016, Saturday, 7.00 PM
Esplanade Upper Concourse

Look out for:
Their sunshine personalities and banter led by Stephanie, who’s funny and witty.


Find SG's best live musicians at the Noise Singapore 2016 Festival Concert



From 26th to 28th August 2016, one of Singapore’s biggest music showcases, the yearly Noise Festival Concert, will be held at the Esplanade. Featuring musicians like Intriguant who’s played alongside Charlie Lim, and HubbaBubbas - who’ve recently released their debut EP - in the line-up, you could be watching the next The Sam Willows, live! 

Even Inch Chua and ShiGGa Shay were once part of the festival line-up. So you know it’s a music event that nurtures the future talent.

It's not only Singapore bands that will be performing at the Noise Singapore 2016 Festival Concert - Australian music acts Tali Mahoney, Alice Ivy, and Frida will be there too, adding an international dimension to complement our home-grown music scene. Fans of indie and electronica music will enjoy watching them!

Noise Singapore 2016 Festival Concert
Where: Esplanade Concourse and Outdoor Theatre
When:26th - 28th August 2016
Tickets: Free admission

Follow Noise Singapore’s Facebook and Instagram for updates! Full concert line up available here.

This post was brought to you by the National Arts Council. 

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