Out of This World: Rockout 2017

By Soh Ying Qi (18A01C) and Ianni Tan (18S03C)
Photos by Raffles Photographic Society

The first thing you would notice when you walked into the *SCAPE Ground Theatre was the atmosphere, which seemed to crackle with a kind of palpable energy felt by every audience member. Held on the night of 26 May, Raffles Rock’s annual concert, Rockout, was certainly an electrifying way to close the hectic term, leaving attendees exhilarated with a brilliant showcase of the members’ musical talent.

Handcrafted planets and space rocks made up the set, which also utilised a smoke machine placed at the back of the stage to evoke a degree of grandeur. The cardboard planets used a plethora of materials, including broken CDs and feathers. The strings of fairy lights draped over the planetary structures and strobe lights in red, blue and green made the theatre a sight to behold. Loud rock music blasting through speakers had the crowd nodding their heads and waiting in eager anticipation.

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The spectacular set of Rockout: Space Odyssey

The concert opened with a bang, as J1 band Hothead took the stage with Europe’s The Final Countdown. Vocalist Timothy Chin (18S03B) went back and forth between both ends of the stage, waving a large red flag and bringing to mind the image of Les Miserables’ Enjolras. The opening number also showed off impressive work by skilled guitarists Shane Tan (18S03T) and Kevin Nathaniel (18S03D).

“We’re a really big band, and we have a really big sound,” Timothy said by way of introduction. The band launched into their next song, The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls, which brought back memories of Orientation for many J1s in the audience while the other vocalist, Sarah Leong (18A03A), held her own with an impressive performance that left the crowd eager for more.

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Timothy and Sarah working in tandem

This was followed by a-ha’s Take On Me, which featured a stunning keyboard performance by Clement Chan (18S03B) and Seraphine Loh (18A13A). The band’s chemistry was evident from the knowing glances exchanged between members throughout the song. Their penultimate song, Starboy by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk, began with a strong bass beat by drummer Dawn Wee (18S03G) and bassist Charlene Ng (18A01D). With the use of a drum machine performed by Julene Ngew (18S02A), the song was a departure from a typical rock-music sound, featuring an acoustic twist on the original heavily electronically-produced pop song.

The band’s finale started off slow and atmospheric, before the drums kicked in for a stunning rendition of All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers. Audience participation was fulfilled when Timothy invited the crowd to sing one line together with the band: “I got a soul but I’m not a soldier.” With that, the band closed their set to thunderous applause.

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Hothead members in action

The theatre went silent as the screen began playing a series of video clips set in space, as a prelude to the entrance of the first J2 band, Daybreak. Soon enough, the band took their places on stage and launched into their first song, Hysteria by Muse, to enthusiastic cheers from the audience, which intensified as vocalist Su Ying (17A01B) jumped out of the wings and onto the stage to join her bandmates. Opening the song with Muse’s own “Munich jam”, bassist Yun Ning’s (17A01E) work was a crucial part of the bass-heavy performance.

Following their opening number was a deafening cover of Oh Yeah by Chickenfoot, featuring Sophia Kim’s (17S03P) phenomenal drumming, before segueing into a rendition of That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars that was prefaced with a shoutout to a friend of a band member in the audience: “This song is for you.” The rhythmic quality of the song, enhanced by keyboardist Deanna See’s (17S03C) performance and Su Ying’s well-executed runs of high notes, was certainly a treat for the audience.

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J2 band Daybreak during their set

“Now we’re going to tone it down a notch,” Su Ying informed the audience, before strapping on an acoustic guitar for a crowd favourite, The Only Exception by Paramore. It was a welcome change from the previous high-energy songs. The moment when Su Ying backed away from the microphone, stopped strumming the guitar and sang a cappella effectively brought out the soft emotion in the song.

You’re a Lie by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators was a return to a more spirited style, beginning with a loud clash of the cymbals by drummer Sophia Kim. “We’re taking you back to 2008” was the cue for the band’s last song, My Chemical Romance’s Famous Last Words. The song started off with an impressive guitar performance by Ho Chih Ying (17S06C) and Adam Teo (17S07B) that instantly had the crowd moshing wildly – with their dramatic, energetic finale, Daybreak truly went out with a bang.

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Daybreak vocalist Su Ying closing the set

The next band set to play was Osaka Sun, comprising the other half of the J2 batch. They swiftly began their set with Knights of Cydonia by Muse, kick-started with a clear, powerful harmonica solo by vocalist Sophia Goh (17S03H), solid guitar riffs and Ethan Cheong’s (17S03H) skillful drumming. The mix of instruments  and Sophia’s strong vocalisation entranced the crowd. The band’s stellar rendition of this piece ignited the audience, who leapt into yet another moshing session.

Arcade Fire’s Wake Up was a song with sentimental value – Sophia explained that “it’s one of the first songs we played together as a band last year”. The steady drum beats made for an impactful introduction. Surprisingly, the performance took a sudden twist, transitioning into a more light-hearted rendition – certainly a job well done.

This was followed by local band Take Two’s In Your Arms. Sophia’s vocal mastery was evident as she navigated the high notes easily, supplemented by Enlyn’s (17A01D) and Joelle Ocampo’s (17S03A) performance on the keys and bass respectively. While their next number, Human by The Killers, was considerably more mellow, it remained popular with the audience.

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J2 band Osaka Sun onstage

The band threw light sticks into the crowd before starting on Lost Stars by Adam Levine. Jesse Tan (17S06N) and Mu Zi Peng’s (17S06H) gentle strumming on acoustic guitars set the tone of the song, putting the audience at ease, and Sophia’s high falsetto was nothing short of amazing.

Next up was the band’s last song, Coldplay’s Fix You. Sophia poured waves of emotion into her singing, bringing out the gravity of the sombre lyrics and the raw emotions of the song. The sentimental, comforting melody, coupled with the crowd waving their phone lights, made for an incredibly beautiful scene. The slick guitar solo was definitely not to be forgotten either.

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Osaka Sun’s Sophia Goh giving it her all

However, the show was not over just yet. The J2 batch then regrouped for 3 more songs, beginning with Starlight by Muse, which featured striking drum beats. This was followed by Here’s to Us by Halestorm. The soothing guitar intro, paired with rhythmic drum beats and thrilling high notes made for a spectacular rendition of this song. The other members of the band rushed on stage, arms linked and bodies swaying to the beat.

For their encore, the J2s chose The Killer’s Mr Brightside – a high-energy, energetic song to end off the night. It was certainly a grand, exuberant exit, with the J2s spontaneously forming a conga line onstage.

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The J2s letting loose for their last song

The J2s then proceeded to thank the AVU personnel, teacher ICs Mrs Teo and Ms Ng, as well as their CCA instructor Mr Ian Toh. Just as Su Ying was about to end off the thank-you speech, the band thanked her for being the “best chair ever”, before thanking the audience and taking one final bow.

Rockout 2017: Space Odyssey was a magnificent show that was certainly true to its theme – out of this world.

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The J2s take their final bow


Setlist

  • Hothead
    • The Final Countdown by Europe
    • The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls
    • Take On Me by a-ha
    • Starboy by The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk
    • All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers
  • Daybreak
    • Hysteria by Muse
    • Oh Yeah by Chickenfoot
    • That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars
    • The Only Exception by Paramore
    • You’re a Lie by Slash ft. Myles Kennedy, The Conspirators
    • Famous Last Words by My Chemical Romance
  • Osaka Sun
    • Knights of Cydonia by Muse
    • Wake Up by Arcade Fire
    • In Your Arms by Take Two
    • Human by The Killers
    • Lost Stars by Adam Levine
    • Fix You by Coldplay
  • J2s (regrouped)
    • Starlight by Muse
    • Here’s to Us by Halestorm
    • Encore: Mr Brightside by The Killers

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