By Chloe Wong (19S07C) and Ina Song (19S07C)
Photographs courtesy of S Rahul (19S06A) and Dylan Siew (19S06E)
It was sensational. Held on 26th May at *SCAPE Ground Theatre, Raffles Rockout: Press Play was a remarkable closure to the Arts Season of 2018. Raffles Rock released their set list on Spotify 2 weeks before the concert in preparation for the anticipated rave. With consistent publicity and an enthralling promotional video, the expectations for that very night were extremely high, but the aspiring rock-stars definitely surpassed those expectations after months of hard work.
Rock’s sets were on a whole new level. As a long line of people were slowly ushered into the venue, a gigantic gameboy stage prop displayed a loading screen. Lighting up the stage with a tinge of nostalgia stood cardboard versions of Pac-man, a mushroom (from Mario), Inky (the blue Pac-man ghost) and a purple Space Invader. Throughout the concert, various video game speed-run recordings (including that of Mario Kart, Street Fighter and Pokémon) were played on a the gameboy screen as the performers sang their hearts out. Our performers certainly spent a lot of time off-stage designing these props to perfection.
When the concert was finally about to begin, the loading bar on the screen started to fill up. Exhilarated screams emerged from the crowd. The air was buzzing with anticipation. The J1 band, afterhours, emerged, and members of the audience cheered for their friends on stage. They opened the concert with “Jump” by Van Halen, an energetic piece which got the audience jumping in tune with the music. Vocalists Manish (19S03T) and Sneha Bobba (19S06K) did a great job bringing out the liveliness of the song, as well as engaging the audience by turning the mike over to the crowd every time the word “jump!” came along. It was a great beginning to what was going to be an amazing night.
The next piece, “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, featured Sneha’s beautiful vocals and a short guitar solo by none other than guitarist Joash Ho (19S03J), who seemed to love the attention of the crowd. Amidst the enthusiastic performance, the audience quietly buzzed about the amusing display of passionate head-banging — also seen in Rock In 2018. The crowd also got excited when drummer Janika Oh (19S05B) ended the first half of the song with a bang – literally.
A childhood favourite of many, the Pokémon Theme was welcomed by all. This piece perfectly tied in with the video game theme. When Jonathan Soepadmo (19S06J) on the keyboard started playing the iconic starting melody, the crowd went wild. The audience sang along to the song, increasing their volume whenever it came to the lyrics “Pokémon! Gotta catch ‘em all”, keeping the energy level high.
Following that was a mashup of “Guile’s Theme (Street Fighter II)” by Daniel Tidwell and “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor – another two classics. This definitely was a trip down memory lane for those who played Street Fighter as a child! The guitarists and drummer did a great job in combining beats from the two different songs and their skills really shined through in this song, which posed a familiar tune and carried some meaningful verses.
Next came “Welcome to the Ironists” by local artist Caracal. This punk-rock song was one of the louder ones of the night. Joash performed a very animated head-banging and strumming before Manish’s vocals took the spotlight, earning screams from the audience members.
Starting off possibly the most hyped song performed by afterhours that night – “In the End” by Linkin Park – was Kathryn (19S03T) on the keyboard. Manish then delivered powerful vocals filled with emotions that pumped up the crowd further. The audience didn’t hold back and sang along with the rock band throughout the song. Before ending the first half of the concert with “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters, Manish introduced the afterhours members one by one while drummer Nurin Hasha Jubir (19A13B) kept the beat going with the drums and cymbals. Ending on a high, the J1 band left the stage coolly as the screen loaded again, this time for the “next level”.
The audience welcomed the J2 band for their last performance in the limelight. Interestingly, some members wore outfits from various video games and others wore glowing jackets that lit up the dark auditorium. Hothead, comprising of 9 members, began their half of Rockout jamming to more well-known songs like “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars. This song having won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, it is no surprise that many audience members knew the lyrics to these hits and sang along.
Following that was a mashup of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, and “Le Freak” by CHIC, a disco turned rock piece that brought back tunes from the good ol’ days. Getting the crowd to shout “Freak out!” was an easy feat knowing how the audience connected with the performers.
Then came a Skrillex mashup of “Cinema” as well as “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites”. Guitarists Shane Tan (18S03T) and Kevin Nathaniel (18S03D) really stood out during this performance due to the limited lyrics and focus on instrumental accompaniment.
A rather melodious piece, “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap, was followed by a few more popular songs. First up, the classic song you would hear on the radio every now and then, “Hey Ya! – Radio Mix / Club Mix” by OutKast. What made this piece stand out and completed this masterpiece was the impressive flute solo performance coming from keyboardist Clement Chan (18S03B), who received loud cheers from the audience.
From Coldplay’s famous “A Head Full of Dreams” album were “Everglow” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”. “Everglow” got some audience members waving their glow sticks, which were sold at the front of house, in the air. Others were waving their lit phone screens or self-made fan signs to the beat of the moving song. “Adventure of a Lifetime” pushed forth a catchy melody, with the audience echoing the “Woo hoo”s.
A song from the late King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson’s “Beat It – Single Version” was next. Hothead was joined by vocalist Su Ying (a Raffles Rock alumna), and together, they certainly did justice to the late pop star’s legacy. The band was able to exude his iconic music style while incorporating their own traits. The audience, euphoric, bounced to the beat, shouting“beat it” whenever the chorus came. Then came “Bones” by The Killers, for which lead vocalist Timothy Chin (18S03B) delivered an amazing performance which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.
To wrap up the night, the band performed “Learn to Fly”, an emotional piece, aptly chosen for the J2s last performance as members of Raffles Rock. On stage, the vocalists hugged their friends, a bittersweet picture. The crowd waved their hands and flashlights in the air during the song and the performers continued to sing and play wholeheartedly.
Throughout the night, the crowd had repeatedly requested for Starboy to be performed but was constantly rejected – the band had performed the song too many times in their time together, and it had become a running joke by then. The song was again requested for the encore, but “Everlong” by Foo Fighters was the song Hothead performed instead, and this ended the night with a bang.
Before the night truly came to a close, the J2s thanked their CCA instructor, Mr Ian Toh, teacher ICs Mrs Teo and Ms Ng, handing them gifts, and also thanked the AVU personnel.
Rock faced many obstacles in bringing us this performance: Guitarist Kevin Nathaniel (18S03D) was on crutches just about a week before Rockout, and vocalist Sarah Leong (18A03A) was still having a sore throat on the day itself. Despite this, the two persisted and managed to wow the audience with their guitar and vocal skills respectively. The two of them truly demonstrate the dedication of Raffles Rock to their art, bringing joy from the stage to the audience.
Thanks to the tremendous efforts by Raffles Rock and an amazing audience who made this concert possible, Rockout 2018 was an unforgettable night. We are looking forward to the next performance afterhours brings to us!
- Jump by Van Halen
- Tom Sawyer by Rush
- Pokémon Theme
- Mashup of Guile’s Theme from Street Fighter II and Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
- Welcome the Ironists by Caracal
- In The End by Linkin Park
- The Pretender by Foo Fighters
- 24K Magic by Bruno Mars
- “Get Freaky” mashup – of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, and “Le Freak” by CHIC
- Skrillex mashup – of “Cinema” and “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites”
- Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap
- Hey Ya! – Radio Mix / Club Mix by OutKast
- Everglow by Coldplay
- Adventure Of A Lifetime by Coldplay
- Beat It – Single Version by Michael Jackson
- Bones by The Killers
- Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters
Encore Performance: Everlong by Foo Fighters
Janika Oh, 19S05B
Sneha Bobba, 19S06K
Xavier Lim, 19A13B
Joash Ho, 19S03J
Nurin Hasha Jubir, 19A13B
Jonathan Soepadmo, 19S06J
Shane Tan, 18S03T
Kevin Nathaniel, 18S03D
Charlene Ng, 18A01D
Timothy Chin, 18S03B
Sarah Leong, 18A03A
Julene Ngew, 18S02A
Seraphine Loh, 18A13A
Clement Chan, 18S03B
Dawn Wee, 18S03G
Suying, Raffles Rock J3 alumna