Sold-out concerts, exorbitant ticket prices, and fan girls staking out at hotels and airports.

Sounds familiar?

A common occurrence in reaction to internationally-renowned acts coming to Singapore, and something thoroughly unfamiliar to local artistes (at least not while they’re here).

Those unfamiliar with the local music scene must be wondering why we’re talking about this; is following local music worth it?

Our answer? An unwavering yes (or “duh!” in Denise’s case). We give you five perks of local music.

1. Affordable everything
Music aficionados rejoice! Local music shows are often easy on the pockets with tickets being priced at – on average – $10, you could easily go to 10 of these shows in a month for the price of one (or in some cases half) a big name concert. Some are even free. After all, if they’re not your cup of tea, you can always live with the reassurance that you didn’t metaphorically sell your liver for it.

As if that isn’t a perk for those not particularly adventurous, these musicians have affordable music too. Albums and EPS sold at these shows are easy on the pockets as well, just like how most would buy concert t-shirts on impulse, we buy these albums just to check them out.

2. (Relatively) approachable musicians
From paying a few hundred of your hard-earned bucks or queuing a many hours for a precious few seconds with your artistes at meet-and-greets, to forking out $1000 to meet G-dragon, meeting a big name international artiste is a hard wish to grant. Even if the artistes wanted it, the sheer number of fans to meet would make that task nigh impossible.

However, in our experience, local musicians are a ball of a time to hang out with. You’d see them hanging around after their shows to talk to both their friends and fans. So why not go up them and say hi? They don’t bite, and are usually more than happy to hold a conversation with you, or to accommodate a selfie. Of course, don’t be disheartened if they don’t give you the time of day, like international artistes, these musicians could be having a bad day, or just in a rush to get to their next event up in their schedules, or you know, just really tired from playing an awesome gig.

3. Accessibility to shows
“Here only for one night!” That’s something you see on promotional posters for international acts, and it’s usually a make-it-or-break-it situation if you’re interested. And if you happen to not be free that night or worse, are in a different country, you’ll miss that one show (possibly but hopefully not) of a lifetime.

Local music shows happen almost every weekend, if you know where to look. Just drop by Esplanade on Friday nights and you’d definitely be treated with a local musician that may just be the one that you’re looking for. Timbre and Blujazz has their own share of local musicians. More often than not, there is no extra charge for these shows. If you haunt these places often enough like we do, you’d find a few familiar faces and a few that you prefer over the others. If you love them, just go to their next show, which of course, wouldn’t take another a year or two. They’ll probably be in the following week, maybe even at the same place and time slot.

4.Growing together with a band
This is when you can say “I’ve been with them since the beginning” and truly mean it. With point 2 and 3, you’d definitely at least be a casual acquaintance of theirs if you go to shows often enough. Musicians we’ve met are usually very good with faces and they do notice familiar ones in the crowd. While most are still burgeoning artistes, they most certainly have the potential to be a lot bigger than they are now.

Now imagine being acquaintances or even friends with someone famous, who is also extremely nice. We’d definitely brag about them (hi Sam Willows!).

5. Meeting fellow music lovers
This is arguably the best part about local music. Our own share of local music had us realising that you’d definitely spot someone you’ve met at another show, and if you’ve had some form of connection with them before, they’d definitely come up and talk to you if you’re friendly enough.

These people are our brethren and usually share similar music tastes. You’d even find them at international gigs of a similar genre of the show you’re at. Of course, that’s when you start forming solid friendships with like-minded souls; these are the people that will most likely be with you for life.

P/S: Dude in the panther hat, we see you!)

In all honesty though, the two kinds of shows aren’t mutually exclusive. We all have big name acts we wish would come back to Singapore. But for the times in between when you want good tunes and a lot of local flavour, we advocate watching a local musician any day.

Text by Denise Kang and Joshua Tan

MOSHIN' Magazine
MOSHIN' is a Singaporean music magazine started in Apr 2011 by two friends. We figured that for too long, talented Singaporean artistes have performed in the shadow of big international acts, and we believed that that should change.