Attending a virtual concert wasn’t as bad as I thought
It was a weekend of laughter and musical joy with Majulah Live and its diverse lineup of local acts.
With the global pandemic halting almost all activities in the entertainment industry, it comes without saying that I have yet to attend any live events this year at all.
When the opportunity to attend a virtual event – Majulah Live, Singapore’s first high quality digital entertainment experience featuring an extensive lineup of local performers and artists – came around over the weekend, I was amped up and ready to see what my first digital would bring.
The event spanned across two days, with Majulah Comedy Live on Nov 21 and Majulah Music Live on Nov 22.
Held at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay, the event was initiated by Zendyll and Collective Minds, supported by the National Youth Council.
Majulah Comedy Live
I have never been to a comedy stand up show ever. My humour is what the Internet labels as the quirky Gen Z social media humour – memes, cats and self-deprecating jokes. I wasn’t sure if stand up shows were too corny to resonate with me.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing along with the jokes during the livestream.
The comedians took it in their stride and made friendly jabs at the lack of audience to liven the mood, given that the show was held at the Sands Theatre, a place meant to hold thousands.
The laugh came easy as the comedians shared jokes about themselves, their relationships to lamenting about the woes of cancel culture and not forgetting, COVID-19.
Despite the seemingly heavy topics, the jokes were light and relatable which made it more enjoyable as they weaved them seamlessly into their stage.
I personally enjoyed Sharul Channa’s stand-up, where she delivered an unabashedly loud and honest yet funny take about living with her husband, comedian Rishi Budhrani, during the Circuit Breaker and what she missed (and not missed) about clubbing.
My first experience viewing a stand-up comedy has been an eye opening experience and I was surprised to find that it was a brand of humour that I had enjoyed.
However, I can’t help but feel that it was missing an essential element – a reciprocative audience – but I guess this is something that we would have to accustom ourselves to in a new normal of virtual events.
Majulah Music Live
A concert experience is not complete without company and my first virtual concert experience felt a little lonely from my bedroom as I bopped to the music alone.
One thing’s for sure, the loneliness is easily forgotten with the extensive lineup of artists at Majulah Music Live.
Comprising a dynamic range of local musicians, the lineup was one that was not to be missed and the concert delivered good vibes all around despite the rainy Sunday evening.
Ranging from the crowd-jumping rap from Bgourd to the enchanting, melancholic R&B blend from Fauxe and Shye, the lineup showcased the different textures of music during the one and a half-hour event.
Aside from tracks off their own discography, the artists also performed tracks from Majulah Weekender, a five-part series that pairs both producer and artist to create music over the weekend.
One of the songs from the series includes Refund 2020 – an introspective track based on their experiences during the circuit breaker – that features the chilled electronic beats from DSML and the comforting vocals of Jean Seizure.
“2020 we hope that you heard us, because we need a refund!” said Jean, as they prepared the next song, 58 BPM, a track written spontaneously during Majulah Weekender.
Singer-songwriter Hairi Eyes took to the stage with his performance of Reign and How Do You Mean, featuring a simple yet enthralling stage with his suave vocals.
Pop, R&B singer-songwriter Elsa Micayla brought a peppy atmosphere right after with her tracks Call Me and Keep Me Guessing – a stage that got me dancing along in my seat.
The set was bathed in a colourful light spectacle as Estelle Fly presented a song and dance performance featuring several of her catchy electro-pop tunes. The addictive tunes of Next To You and Love Like This just feels like summertime bliss.
The upbeat and energetic atmosphere of the event was brought to life with the spotless camera work that captured the artists at all the right angles.
With front row seats, crystal clear audio and the absence of mobile phones in the air or screaming fans, it is easy to focus solely on the music and details of each performance.
The link to the event was opened for all ticket holders for 48 hours after the festival, so you can rewatch your favourite artists as many times as you want – a perk that can’t be replaced with live events.
Although my solitary concert experience in front of my laptop was not as immersive or fun as one might expect, everything is flexible from home. With good WiFi connection, a bigger screen and some company, you’re good to go in customising your own concert experience.
Aside from 30-second video introductions between each set and a live chat box that I did not pay much attention to, the event felt like it was lacking the raw energy and euphoria of having the music thumping through your veins during a live gig.
But Majulah Music Live has served up good music all around which made the experience worth watching.
Having been mostly accustomed to K-pop and western artists so far, my knowledge about our local music scene is fairly limited. The event served as a great platform to shine a spotlight on local musicians that we may not hear often in the mainstream media.
The variety of genres present meant that there is surely something for everyone and I even found myself searching for the artist’s music after.
Overall, Majulah Live is a virtual event worth experiencing. Despite the vastly different experience being hosted online, it still provided viewers with a weekend of laughter and musical joy during these trying times. It is safe to say that I am a fan.