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The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions’ “Amazing, Bold, Charming” debut in Singapore


The ‘ABC’ in The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions could easily stand for Amazing, Bold and Charming. By that, we mean: amazing time, bold line-up and charming venue.

Making its debut in Singapore on 7 December 2019, the whole-day long festival was held at Pasir Panjang Power Station and featured an array of fun activities and a strong female-fronted line-up. Let’s take a look at what went down at The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions!

Pasir Panjang Power Station

How it looked like when the day was just getting started and
how it looked like when the festival ended around midnight.
Address: 27 Pasir Panjang Rd, Singapore 117537

Who would’ve thought that a power station (albeit a decommissioned one) would make the perfect festival venue? The red-brick building looked unassuming from the outside but step through the strip-curtained entrance and immediately festivalgoers were transported into a contemporary, urban setting with industrial features that lent the place a trendy, Instagrammable look. 

Though this unique place has housed several events before, this was the first time that Pasir Panjang Power Station hosted a large-scale music event.

Club B was the smallest stage as it was basically a huge multi-screened
DJ deck smack in the middle of the venue.
The sprawling open space allows for various kiosks and stages to be installed inside the building without feeling cramped. At the far end of the building were the two main stages, The Nest and “A” Stage, where performances were held alternately.

A view of “A” Stage in the evening.
A row of kiosks selling food (burgers, hotdogs, etc.) and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) lined the left side of the building, whereas the opposite side was the relaxation area with plenty of seating options, be it couches, floor cushions or swings. 

Among the yummy food sold – there’s no meat in this burger!
A group of friends enjoying their time at the relaxation area.
Along the walls and in the middle, save for the open areas in front of the stages for festivalgoers to stand and enjoy the shows, were several activity kiosks.

Fun Activities

(L) A gent getting his beard all glittered up, (R) Canon promoters
holding up the pics they printed with the portable printer.
What activities? You might ask. Well, for starters, there was the Hairloom by +Lim, where the ladies could have fun getting their hair curled or braided with fun-coloured yarns. Located at the same Pamper station, Glitter Gaze by Team Red gave not only the ladies, but also the gents, some fun glittery touches to their hair and (for the facial hair-rocking gents) beard and moustache. Meanwhile, Two Lips gave festivalgoers some lessons on vulva care while also serving them with a refreshing cocktail or two. 

These lovely ladies were having fun taking photos with the murals.
Taking a photo with The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions backdrop.
Then there were the Canon promoters who snapped photos of festivalgoers and printed the pics out for free using their portable printer. Those who fancied a tattoo but were not ready for a permanent one could get Jagua Ink Tattoo done by Henndrawn. After all this glow up, festivalgoers could take their selfies at any of the mural-adorned walls. (Or get the friendly Canon staff to snap and print their pics).

Of course, the highlight of the event was the slew of amazing performances – continue reading below!

Female-fronted line-up

Singapore’s very own Vandetta was one of the performers at the music festival.
While The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions is Singapore’s best kept secret, what’s no secret is the powerful female-fronted line-up that headlined the event. After watching all the performances, it was apparent why these local and international acts were chosen as each delivered strong messages through their songs with deep, meaningful lyrics paired with either upbeat, melancholic, soulful or bass-thumping beats.

Kicking off the party at The Nest stage at around noon was Northern Irish singer-songwriter SOAK, performing nine songs which were mostly from her latest album, “Grim Town”. Up next, also with nine songs, was Dream Wife over at the “A” Stage. The London-based rock band, known for their female empowerment lyrics, sang mostly songs off their self-titled debut album that was released last year. 

Back to The Nest, this time the act came much closer to home as Singaporean singer Vandetta took the stage, casually chatting with the crowd as she did her mic test. She continued talking in between songs as she started performing her nine-track setlist, which included “Walls”, “Onz”, “It All Starts with This” and “Love Me Crazy”.

Switching over to the “A” Stage again, South London’s post-punk quartet Goat Girl rocked the crowd with 14 songs in total. Known for their witty lyrics that often address socio-political concerns, there’s no surprise that their songs come with titles like “Burn the Stake”, “Throw Me A Bone”, “Scum” and “Mighty Despair”.

When Stella Donnelly wasn’t playing the guitar, she was
having fun showing off her quirky dance moves.
Stella Donnelly took over The Nest next. Despite the petite Welsh-Australian’s cutesy look, people’s perception of her really shouldn’t be anything but strong and empowering. Her 12-track setlist included songs like “Die” and “Lunch” (her titles are often contradictory to her songs’ messages), but she received the loudest applause when she started playing “Boys Will Be Boys”, a song she wrote following a friend’s sexual assault.

After her performance, the singer went from performer to fan as she followed the crowd to the next stage, where fellow Welsh musician Cate Le Bon was set to perform. Even though Cate sings in both English and Welsh, for the Singaporean crowd she picked 10 of her best English songs, which included “Love Is Not Love”, “You Don’t Love Me” and “Sad Nudes”. She’d alternate between only singing and singing while playing the guitar. 

Aside from singing, Charly Bliss’ Eva also played the keyboard and the guitar.
Coming all the way from Brooklyn, Charly Bliss wowed the crowd next with 11 tracks, opening with “Blown to Bits” before moving to songs like “Young Enough” and “Black Hole” and wrapping up with “Chatroom”. 

There was a little break for the two main stages when the party moved to Club B, essentially a DJ deck set up in the middle of the venue, where house/disco/techno DJ A/K/A Sounds raised the roof with her banging beats. This was when all the dancers in the house got to bust out their slick moves. Some of them could be seen dancing in the crowd during the earlier shows but now was their time to really shine as the dance floor was all theirs. 

LÉON singing just fine despite feeling under the weather.
After all the dancing, it was time to chill again for a bit with LÉON over at the “A” Stage. Though she claimed that she wasn’t feeling well, the Swedish singer had no problem belting out songs after songs perfectly. Among the nine songs she sang were “Baby Don’t Talk”, “Tired of Talking” and the mash-up of “Body” with Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.

Norwegian singer-songwriter Anna of the North performed next. Among her 10 tracks were newer releases like “Dream Girl” and “My Love”. There was a moment of technical issue in the middle of her performance and she had to repeat one of the songs but the singer carried on like a champ. 

Then Kero Kero Bonito was up at the “A” Stage. Unlike most of the other performers, this indie pop band fronted by Sarah Bonito has visited Singapore before. They kicked off their 11-track setlist with a cover of U2’s “Vertigo”, before moving on to their own songs like “Lipslap”, “Sick Beat” and “When the Fire Comes”.

It was time to bust some dance moves again as everyone relocated to Club B for Singapore’s Ginette Chittick as she played an endless mix of indie and old school tracks. The crowd called for encore and even started singing when her set ended.

Alma, performing with her sister Anna (the DJ behind), got the crowd to
put their hands up in the air throughout her show.
But dance time was not over yet, because Alma was up next at The Nest with her hard-hitting tracks. The Finnish singer, with her twin sister Anna accompanying her on the DJ set, was making the crowd dance hard with songs like “Karma”, “Loser” and “Chasing Highs”. She even took the time to wish her Finnish fans Happy Independence Day and promised her Singaporean fans that she would return for a full concert.

Last but not least, it was time to wrap things up with an explosive collabo between Nancy Whang and Rayna Russom, collectively known as Ladies of LCD Soundsystem. The crowd started dwindling as the day-long festival was coming to an end. However, there were still those that stayed through till the DJ duo dropped the last beat, officially closing the inaugural The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions.

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