it will be john peel’s 5th death anniversary in a couple of weeks’ time, but there’s no reason why we can’t commemorate it earlier, like we’ve done here in singapore with the annual keeping it peel. held last night at the cosy prince of wales pub, three local acts put up their darndest best shows that would’ve made peel proud. opening band midnight marvel could have sounded tighter, but that was really secondary to the snarling riot grrrl vibes it projected reminiscent of sleater-kinney. next up was clearly a crowd favorite, the surf/garage rock & roll outfit we gang. i love how unpretentious this band was, who aptly describe their sound as “very catchy pop music played by working adults”. frontman adrian was in his element, and in the course of the night i’ve heard his onstage theatrics compared to the likes of brett anderson and jarvis cocker. what i loved best was how fun the whole set was, and the unmissable chemistry between adrian and his second vocalist shefali.
the closing band was perhaps the most anticipated – the debut gig by newly formed local superheroes shelves, comprising members of 90’s local indie greats suchness and livonia, as well as our very own brian, who also plays for leeson (as pub owner malcolm sportingly points out). the band’s sound was straightforward enough, almost as if the last decade didn’t even happen, but oh how wonderful they sounded and how many memories it brought me of the 90’s local scene i grew up loving so much. great music doesn’t have to embrace the most fashionable trends – it happens when you’re truest to who you are. and no john peel day would have been complete without a rendition of “teenage kicks”, which shelves duly obliges in delivering and closing the night with, reminding all of us of that simple truth: teenage dreams, so hard to beat. – dan.