Saturday 6 September ’14 saw the first among the six showcases of the Guinness Amplify Live Tour. The event, scheduled to begin at 8.30pm, had already started to fill up with people half an hour earlier — they had presumably got the note on the “first come, first serve” basis of entry. While waiting around the increasingly cramped space, you could see All Is Amazing charging around the room to photograph grinning attendees wielding a cup of Guinness. Soon, the MC for the evening appeared on stage and made the necessary introductory statements before welcoming the opener; up and comers Paperplane Pursuit.
In quick succession, Paperplane Pursuit got the crowd riled up with their extremely danceable pop rock tunes. If anyone were in a static state, it would have been difficult to resist busting a move when watching the ball of charisma that is the lead, John O. They cranked out a few tracks, including ‘Feel Good’ and ‘What If’, managing also to wedge in a birthday shout out to an audience member before bursting into a throwback cover of, unsurprisingly, Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’. Closing their energetic groove fest, they seamlessly segued into their breakout hit, where people swayed, shook, and bopped to the ‘Beat of Your Love’. After an interval of questions in which members of the audience were asked a series of questions to win passes to the ever mysterious grand finale show, Kyoto Protocol was up. Their set was decidedly more acoustic but no less entertaining. They thrilled the crowd with a series of hard strumming on the guitar and powerful vocal performance on songs such as ‘Still Alive’. With their acoustic rendition of ‘Gimme Nothing’, they exuded a bluegrass pop sensibility as they invited everyone for a collective “Woohoo!” during the chorus. Conjuring a nostalgic moment from their past when they played in bars for next to nothing, they performed Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’ — Fuad’s vocal ability was uncannily similar to Eddie Vedder’s in strength and vigour.
Before the night’s international act, Howie Day, there was yet again a lengthy break that consisted of a mini “Show Off Your Best Rocking Out Pose” (yeah, don’t ask) contest to win those prestigious finale tickets. As the MC, mercifully, welcomed Howie Day to the stage, the packed floor was brimming with uncontainable excitement. The singer graced the stage with a guitar in tow and proceeded with his performance. His singular presence, along with his collection of songs about love (what else do you expect from a solo act with acoustic guitar in hand?), made the experience quite intimate. However, it was clear that the audience was growing impatient as they were unfortunately not paying attention to him as he was earnestly belting out on stage. But that did not deter them from giving him a round of applause and cheer every time he finished a song. When the familiar opening of ‘Collide’ started, there was an automatic reaction from the audience as extended arms started to record that eagerly awaited performance. The crowd, matching the vulnerability of the ballad, sang gently to the words with Howie, as he guided them to the very end.
The first episode of the Guinness Amplify campaign went down on the Saturday 6 September ’14.
More photos here.