Mercury Prize 2016

Like me, you might have missed this year’s Mercury Prize, which took place on 15th September at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. Last year’s was much later in the year, and so I hadn’t quite expected it to happen yet, but it has, and here we are.

The Nominees

For those who aren’t familiar with the Mercury Prize, it’s just one award, and there is a shortlist of twelve nominees each year. This year:

  • Anohni – Hopelessness
  • Bat for Lashes – The Bride
  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • The Comet is Coming – Channel the Spirits
  • Kano – Made in the Manor
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love and Hate
  • Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room
  • The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Savages – Adore Life
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa
  • Jamie Woon – Making Time

According to the BBC’s analysis, David Bowie received the highest critical rating, and was also one of several of the acts whose album topped the UK charts, as well as Michael Kiwanuka, Radiohead, and The 1975. Kano‘s album received the lowest critical rating, and The Comet is Coming, whose album was self-released, were the only act who didn’t make the charts.

As always, this was a real mixture of styles and approaches. Anohni, also known as Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, and now working on her own solo material, switches chamber pop for electronics, while other releases include “a baroque concept album about a woman whose fiancé is killed on the way to their wedding”, R&B, grime, pop-rock, and cosmic jazz.

The Shortlist

Just to add a bit more excitement, there was a public vote, which chose The 1975, and carried it through to the shortlist on the night, along with the five chosen by the judging panel, giving a shortlist of six. That list looked like this:

  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love and Hate
  • Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room
  • The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa

This process made The Comet is Coming rather upset, but never mind

The Winner

Ultimately, in Jarvis Cocker‘s words, David Bowie would have chosen Skepta as the winner, and so he wins the Mercury Prize for 2016. Congratulations to him, and remember to look up his mum dancing at the podium.

The Coverage

You can read the BBC’s coverage of the nominations here, and some additional detail here. NME looked at the winner here, and the fallout here. This is the official Mercury Prize website.

The BRIT Awards 2010

The 2010 BRIT Awards were hosted by Peter Kay at Earls Court, in London, on Tuesday 16th February. Complicatedly, this was the thirtieth ceremony, although not the thirtieth anniversary, but this was celebrated by the special Brits Hits 30 award.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2009 ceremony here, and the 2011 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Tom Ford. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You
  • Dizzee Rascal – Tongue ‘n’ Cheek
  • Florence + The Machine – Lungs
  • Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • Paolo Nutini – Sunny Side Up

Winner: Florence + The Machine

British Single

Voted for by listeners of UK commercial radio and readers of The Sun, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen – The Fear
  • Alexandra Burke feat. Flo Rida – Bad Boys
  • Cheryl Cole – Fight for This Love
  • Taio Cruz – Break Your Heart
  • Alesha Dixon – Breathe Slow
  • JLS – Beat Again
  • La Roux – In for the Kill
  • Pixie Lott – Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)
  • Joe McElderry – The Climb
  • Tinchy Stryder feat. N-Dubz – Number 1

Winner: JLS

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Andy Serkis. Nominees:

  • Dizzee Rascal
  • Calvin Harris
  • Mika
  • Paolo Nutini
  • Robbie Williams

Winner: Dizzee Rascal

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Shirley Bassey. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen
  • Bat for Lashes
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Leona Lewis
  • Pixie Lott

Winner: Lily Allen

British Group

Presented by Idris Elba. Nominees:

  • Doves
  • Friendly Fires
  • JLS
  • Kasabian
  • Muse

Winner: Kasabian

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Geri Halliwell. Nominees:

  • Florence + The Machine
  • Friendly Fires
  • JLS
  • La Roux
  • Pixie Lott

Winner: JLS

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Melanie Brown. Nominees:

  • Michael Bublé
  • Eminem
  • Jay Z
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Seasick Steve

Winner: Jay Z

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Jonathan Ross. Nominees:

  • Lady Gaga
  • Ladyhawke
  • Norah Jones
  • Rihanna
  • Shakira

Winner: Lady Gaga

International Breakthrough Act

Presented by Cat Deeley. Nominees:

  • Animal Collective
  • Empire of the Sun
  • Lady Gaga
  • Daniel Merriweather
  • Taylor Swift

Winner: Lady Gaga

International Album

Presented by Mika. Nominees:

  • Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • The Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D.
  • Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream
  • Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3
  • Lady Gaga – The Fame

Winner: Lady Gaga

Critics Choice

Presented by Courtney Love. Nominees:

  • Delphic
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Marina and the Diamonds

Winner: Ellie Goulding

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Winner: Robbie Williams

BRITs Hits 30 – Best Live Performance at the BRIT Awards

Voted for by viewers of GMTV, and presented by Samantha Fox. The year of each original performance is shown below. Nominees:

  • Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive / How Deep Is Your Love (1997)
  • Bros – I Owe You Nothing (1989)
  • Coldplay – Clocks (2003)
  • Eurythmics and Stevie Wonder – There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart) (1999)
  • Girls Aloud – The Promise (2009)
  • Michael Jackson – Earth Song (1996)
  • Paul McCartney and Wings – Live and Let Die (2008)
  • Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2002)
  • Pet Shop Boys – Go West (1994)
  • Scissor Sisters – Take Your Mama (2005)
  • Spice Girls – Wannabe / Who Do You Think You Are (1997)
  • Take That – The Beatles Medley (1994)
  • Kanye West – Gold Digger (2006)
  • The Who – Who Are You (1977)
  • Robbie Williams and Tom Jones – The Full Monty Medley (1998)

Winner: Spice Girls

BRITs Album of 30 Years

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 2, and presented by Noddy Holder from Slade. Nominees:

  • Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
  • Dido – No Angel
  • Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  • Duffy – Rockferry
  • Keane – Hopes and Fears
  • Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
  • Sade – Diamond Life
  • Travis – The Man Who
  • The Verve – Urban Hymns

Winner: Oasis

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

The BRIT Awards 2008

February 9th 2008 saw The Osbournes in their entirety presenting the BRIT Awards at Earls Court in London.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2007 ceremony here, and the 2009 ceremony here.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Vic Reeves. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
  • Leona Lewis – Spirit
  • Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion
  • Mark Ronson – Version
  • Take That – Beautiful World

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

British Single

Voted for by listeners of hit40uk, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • James Blunt – 1973
  • Mutya Buena – Real Girl
  • The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray
  • Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
  • Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
  • Mika – Grace Kelly
  • Kate Nash – Foundations
  • Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Valerie
  • Sugababes – About You Now
  • Take That – Shine

Wikipedia lists Mutya Buena as having been eliminated on 15th February, James Blunt on the 16th, Kate Nash on the 17th, and Kaiser Chiefs and Sugababes on the 18th, leaving the following nominees on the night:

  • The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray
  • Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
  • Mika – Grace Kelly
  • Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Valerie
  • Take That – Shine

Winner: Take That

British Male

Presented by Beth Ditto. Nominees:

  • Newton Faulkner
  • Richard Hawley
  • Mika
  • Mark Ronson
  • Jamie T

Winner: Mark Ronson

British Female

Presented by James Nesbitt. Nominees:

  • Bat for Lashes
  • PJ Harvey
  • Leona Lewis
  • Kate Nash
  • KT Tunstall

Winner: Kate Nash

British Group

Presented by Sir Ian McKellen. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Editors
  • Girls Aloud
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Take That

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

British Breakthrough Act

Chosen by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Jonathan Rhys Myers. Nominees:

  • Bat for Lashes
  • Klaxons
  • Leona Lewis
  • Mika
  • Kate Nash

Winner: Mika

British Live Act

Chosen by listeners of BBC Radio 2, and presented by Chris Moyles. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Klaxons
  • Muse
  • Take That

Winner: Take That

International Male

Presented by Kelly Rowland. Nominees:

  • Michael Bublé
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Timbaland
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Kanye West

Winner: Kanye West

International Female

Presented by David Tennant. Nominees:

  • Björk
  • Feist
  • Alicia Keys
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Rihanna

Winner: Kylie Minogue

International Group

Presented by Denise Van Outen and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire
  • Eagles
  • Foo Fighters
  • Kings of Leon
  • The White Stripes

Winner: Foo Fighters

International Album

Presented by Michelle Ryan. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
  • Eagles – Long Road Out of Eden
  • Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
  • Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
  • Kylie Minogue – X

Winner: Foo Fighters

Critics Choice

A new award, chosen by a panel of music experts, and presented by Will Young. Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Duffy
  • Foals

Winner: Adele

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Presented by Kylie Minogue.

Winner: Sir Paul McCartney

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Mercury Music Prize 2007-2009

By 2007 the Mercury Prize seemed to have largely forgotten about anything except rock, although it was still a compelling prize. The awards got another sponsor and another new name in 2009.

Nationwide Mercury Prize 2007

The 2007 award was given on September 4th.

Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
  • Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford – Basquiat Strings
  • Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold
  • Dizzee Rascal – Maths + English
  • Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future
  • Maps – We Can Create
  • New Young Pony Club – Fantastic Playroom
  • Fionn Regan – The End of History
  • Jamie T – Panic Prevention
  • The View – Hats Off to the Buskers
  • Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  • The Young Knives – Voices of Animals and Men

Winner: Klaxons

Nationwide Mercury Prize 2008

Took place on 9th September 2008.

Nominees:

  • Adele – 19
  • British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
  • Burial – Untrue
  • Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Estelle – Shine
  • The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement
  • Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim
  • Neon Neon – Stainless Style
  • Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
  • Portico Quartet – Knee Deep in the North Sea
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows
  • Rachel Unthank and the Winterset – The Bairns

Winner: Elbow

Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2009

The 2009 award took place on 8th September, at Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Nominees:

  • Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
  • Speech Debelle – Speech Therapy
  • Florence + The Machine – Lungs
  • Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires
  • Glasvegas – Glasvegas
  • Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew
  • The Horrors – Primary Colours
  • The Invisible – The Invisible
  • Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • La Roux – La Roux
  • Led Bib – Sensible Shoes
  • Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men

Winner: Speech Debelle

Further information

Ivor Novello Awards 2013

I’m sorry for the slight delay here – I’ve been meaning to sum up the 2013 Ivor Novello Awards for a few weeks, but have been unavoidably tied up in the real world.

It’s not a widely known ceremony, despite having run for nearly sixty years (since 1955). Part of the reason for this is that the awards are for actual songwriting, rather than things like performing, or wearing dresses made out of meat, like the more commercial award ceremonies. Perhaps one day we should dedicate a post to the history of these awards, but that day is not yet upon us.

This year, the ceremony took place at Grosvenor House in London way back on May 16th, and the nominees and winners were as follows:

Best Song Musically and Lyrically

The nominees:

  • Bat for Lashes – Laura (Natasha Khan / Justin Parker)
  • Emeli Sandé – Next to Me (Hugo Chegwin / Harry Craze / Emeli Sandé)
  • Jake Bugg – Two Fingers (Iain Archer / Jake Bugg)

Winner: Emeli Sandé

Best Contemporary Song

The nominees:

  • Alt-J – Fitzpleasure (Thomas Green / Joe Newman / Gwilym Sainsbury / Augustus Unger-Hamilton)
  • Plan B – Ill Manors (Pierre Baigorry / David Conen / Benjamin Drew / Vincent Graf-Schlippenbach / Al Shux)
  • The Maccabees – Pelican (Sam Doyle / Rupert Jarvis / Orlando Weeks / Felix White / Hugo White)

Winner: The Maccabees

PRS for Music Most Performed Work

The nominees:

  • Olly Murs – Dance with Me Tonight (Claude Kelly / Oliver Murs / Steve Robson)
  • Emeli Sandé – Next to Me
  • Coldplay – Paradise (Guy Berryman / Jonny Buckland / Will Champion / Chris Martin / Brian Eno)

Winner: Emeli Sandé

Album Award

The nominees:

  • Alt-J – An Awesome Wave (Thomas Green / Joe Newman / Gwilym Sainsbury / Augustus Unger-Hamilton)
  • Ben Howard – Every Kingdom (Ben Howard)
  • Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough? (Lianne Barnes / Matthew Hales)

Winner: Alt-J

Best Original Film Score

The nominees:

  • Dario Marianelli – Anna Karenina
  • John Powell – Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
  • Plan B – Ill Manors (Benjamin Drew / Al Shux)

Winner: Anna Karenina

Best Television Soundtrack

The nominees:

  • John Harle – Lucian Freud: Painted Life
  • John Lunn – The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  • Carl Davis – Upstairs Downstairs Series 2

Winner: Lucian Freud: Painted Life

Inspiration Award

Winner: Marc Almond

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Ray Davies. Winner: Noel Gallagher

The Ivors Classical Music Award

Winner: Errolyn Wallen MBE

PRS for Music Award for Outstanding Achievement

Winner: Justin Hayward

International Achievement

Winner: Gavin Rossdale out of little-known Bush

Songwriter of the Year

Presented by Pete Tong. We continue. Winner: Calvin Harris

PRS for Music Special International Award

Winner: Randy Newman

 

And that’s it for 2013. Somewhere in among the numerous almost-identically-named awards are some quite interesting winners. No “outstanding” anything for Liam Gallagher, for example.

More coverage at DigitalSpy, The Guardian, and The Independent.

The BRIT Awards 2013

We looked at the nominations in detail a few weeks ago, and now the winners are in!

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Ed Sheeran. Nominees:

  • Ben Howard
  • Calvin Harris
  • Olly Murs
  • Richard Hawley
  • Plan B

Winner: Ben Howard. Whoever he is.

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Nick Grimshaw.

  • Alt-J
  • Ben Howard
  • Jake Bugg
  • Jessie Ware
  • Rita Ora

Winner: Ben Howard. Whoever he is.

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Taylor Swift. Nominees:

  • Amy Winehouse
  • Bat for Lashes
  • Emeli Sandé
  • Jessie Ware
  • Paloma Faith

Winner: Emeli Sandé

British Group

Presented by Simon Pegg and someone called Bérénice Mariohe. Nominees:

  • Alt-J
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Muse
  • One Direction
  • The XX

Winner: Mumford and Sons

British Live Act

It’s back! Presented by Louis Smith and Jack Whitehall. Nominees:

  • Coldplay
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Rolling Stones
  • The Vaccines
  • Muse

Winner: Coldplay

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Dermot O’Leary and Sharon Osbourne. Nominees:

  • Alicia Keys
  • Cat Power
  • Lana del Rey
  • Rihanna
  • Taylor Swift

Winner: Lana del Rey

International Group

Presented by Dave Grohl. Nominees:

  • Alabama Shakes
  • The Black Keys
  • Fun.
  • The Killers
  • The Script

Winner: The Black Keys

British Producer of the Year

A secret award, because producers shouldn’t be allowed out in front of the general public. Nominees:

  • Damon Albarn
  • Paul Epworth
  • Jake Gosling

Winner: Paul Epworth

BRITs Global Success

Presented by Robbie Williams. Nominees:

  • Mumford and Sons
  • Adele
  • One Direction

Winner: One Direction

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by Bryan Ferry. Nominees:

  • Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
  • Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events
  • Mumford and Sons – Babel
  • Paloma Faith – Fall from Grace
  • Plan B – Ill Manors

Winner: Emeli Sandé

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Jourdan Dunn and Rafe Spall. Nominees:

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Gotye
  • Jack White
  • Frank Ocean
  • Michael Bublé

Winner: Frank Ocean

British Single of the Year

Presented by Tom Daley and Jonathan Ross. Nominees:

  • Adele – Skyfall
  • Alex Clare – Too Close
  • Coldplay and Rihanna – Princess of China
  • Rita Ora / DJ Fresh – Hot Right Now
  • Emeli Sandé – Next to Me
  • Florence + The Machine – Spectrum
  • Jessie J – Domino
  • Labirinth feat. Emeli Sandé – Beneath Your Beautiful
  • Olly Murs – Troublemaker
  • Rita Ora – RIP
  • Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do the Hump
  • Robbie Williams – Candy
  • Rudimental – Feel the Love
  • Stooshe – Black Heart
  • James Arthur – Impossible

Winner: Adele

Critics’ Choice

Nominees:

  • Tom Odell
  • AlunaGeorge
  • Laura Mvula

Winner: Tom Odell

Special Recognition Award

Winner: War Child

Performers

  • Muse – “Supremacy”
  • Robbie Williams – Candy
  • Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
  • One Direction – One Way of Another (Teenage Kicks)
  • Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
  • Ben Howard – Only Love
  • Emeli Sandé – Clown / Next to Me
  • Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait

Being out of the country I haven’t had a chance to actually watch it yet, but I hope you enjoyed it!

Laneway Festival 2013, Singapore

A nice surprise just a couple of weeks after arriving in South-East Asia was the arrival of the Laneway Festival last weekend in Singapore. Since practically everybody I asked seemed to be going along, and since the lineup was pretty strong, it seemed rude not to join them. The audience was largely non-Singaporean and largely the kind of people who are a bit too cool for pop, but it made for a great day out in the heat of the almost equatorial January sun.

Frustratingly the slightly shambolic queue for ticket collection left me unable to catch most of the wonderful Kings of Convenience, although the strength of their closer I’d Rather Dance with You was still notable compared to some of the bands who would follow. Another definite highlight was seeing Erlend Øye turn up at the end of the night dancing like a maniac to Gotye, but I’d really have liked to be able to say more about how good their performance was.

Minnesota’s Polica followed with an excellent set of tracks which I’m only unable to recommend since I’d never heard any of them before. Their debut album is out already and definitely seemed worth checking out, with shades of Portishead or Goldfrapp.

The slightly strange order and selection of the lineup reared its ugly head very early on as Cloud Nothings turned up and were absolutely and inconceivably dreadful. The punk / metal band screamed their way through an awful 45 minutes or so, although it’s difficult to know whether they could actually tell, given how poor their drummer seems to be at keeping time.

This seemed a good time to go and investigate what else the festival had to offer, but sadly the merchandise stall was a pretty paltry offering, and the drinks were pricey. Most disappointing was the decision to only stock Fiji water at S$5 for a tiny bottle, complete with a rather insulting message on the label about how sustainable the water was. Because of course shipping tiny bottles of water seven hours across the ocean and selling them at exorbitant prices is much better for the environment than providing, say for argument, a tap.

Fortunately Divine Fits turned up to prevent the mid-afternoon heat from making things any worse. Pleasant enough, the three-piece indie supergroup (apparently, anyway – nobody I asked seemed to have heard of any of them) worked their way through the set before passing the baton over to the much better Of Monsters and Men. Typically Icelandic (I.e. slightly bonkers) and oddly named, they were a wonderful antidote to the sun and some of the dross and dullness which had preceded them.

Japandroids, on the other hand, were a bit of a disappointment. Someone asked me beforehand whether I thought they might sing in Japanese, but sadly they turned out to be neither Japanese nor as electro as their name appeared to suggest. So another set of dull “alternative rock” followed.

The day was growing late and it had already struck most people that the set order was odd in the extreme. Removing Cloud Nothings would have been a good start, but even the bands who were there should really have been reshuffled into a more sensible order. Kings of Convenience may have seemed a nice chilled out opener, but as the most accomplished act on the bill, they really should have had higher billing, and the headline act was, as we shall see, perhaps not the best choice.

The act who followed was a pleasant surprise. Nicholas Jaar turns out to be an excellent chillout dance act with some excellent moments in his set, although sadly by this stage the sunburn and the hours spent out in the sun were starting to get to me, so I ended up sleeping through a good chunk of Kimbra‘s set. What I did see was unfortunately pretty dull. Having turned up as Cinderella, she proceeded to play tracks that largely sounded like Gwen Stefani but rockier, and sadly that’s about all there was to say.

As the sun went down behind Marina Bay Sands, Real Estate turned up with a set that was generally strong but fairly forgettable. British media favourites Alt-J followed, good and consistently interesting, but also a little underwhelming. Having walked off after a couple of minutes due to sound problems, they finally returned to finish their set, but I wonder if perhaps the audience needed something a little stronger at this point.

Fortunately, we got it. The big surprise for me was Yeasayer, whom I think I’d managed not to come across previously, and who were truly exceptional. Catchy experimental hit followed hit, and you’ll be either pleased or disappointed to hear that I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them from the safety of this blog in the future.

Bat for Lashes was up next, and followed in style with another excellent set, although much of the audience showed their colour by remaining seated for her and then crowding en masse to the stage for the subsequent act Tame Impala.

As an act who had clearly listened to rather more Status Quo in their time than is really healthy, they were, for the most part, fairly dull, but they clearly knew what they were doing for all of that. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards was a particular highlight.

Whether because of the late night shutdown of the city’s Metro system or because people thought they were a bit too cool for the decidedly mainstream headliner who followed, it was really disappointing to see large parts of the crowd exiting at this point, leaving Gotye with slightly post-apocalyptic fields of litter for much of his audience. Perhaps choosing a headliner who had more than one hit to his name outside of Belgium and Australia might have helped.

But Gotye was, of course, excellent. Rippling with humour, great videos, a plethora of different instruments, and a huge array of great songs, it was never going to be anything else. And having long since learnt the lesson of getting his tracks in the right order, Somebody That I Used to Know was among the last. All told, his set was definitely the best of the lot, and he was entirely justified as the headliner – it’s just a shame that the crowd didn’t agree.

To my amusement, what followed was an excellent piece of organised chaos, as the crowds surged out of the site to find that all the public transport had shut down. The entire shopping centre at the Marina was suddenly filled with slightly lost music fans entering from all directions, and none of them entirely sure where they were going. Alongside them, we pushed out into the streets of Singapore and gradually dispersed into the night.

All told, Laneway was an excellent little one-day festival. It was a long day, and a hot one, with generally a good variety of bands, even if they were in an odd order. The decision to charge such high prices for drinks in such a dangerously sunny environment was a shame, but so was the rather unnecessary confiscation of umbrellas at the entrance. But those are quibbles which can easily be fixed. The music was the main thing, and I’m happy to say I discovered some great bands there, even if I was characteristically late to the party with a couple of them…

After Singapore St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival was already in Auckland on Monday, and continues around Australia over the next couple of weeks, visiting Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne this weekend, and then Adelaide and Perth the following week.