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Concert Review

Concert Review (184)

Were you looking beautiful in white?

Shane Filan hosted an intimate showcase while in Singapore to promote his third (and latest) solo album Love Always. Best known as one-fifth of Westlife, Filan decided to go solo in 2013 after the band split in 2012.

The hour-long showcase consisted of a short Q&A session, a couple of performances, meet and greet for some lucky fans as well as an album-autograph session to end things off. Before going into the Q&A, Filan was hosted by KISS92’s Carol Smith. With Lunar New Year just next week, they chatted about the holiday and we learnt that Filan received a huge pineapple tart earlier that day. Filan also received his first ever Ang Bao (red packet) courtesy of Singapore. Check out the video below to see what really happened.

 

 

The Irish singer also spoke about his favourite memory of Singapore – playing a football match in Singapore with the other members of Westlife. Favourite Singaporean food – chicken rice and the satay he had earlier. His happiest moment(s) – his wedding day, birth of his three lovely children and the first time Westlife played at Croke Park.

Following that, Filan treated the crowd to four songs, a mix of solo material and tracks from his Westlife days. He kicked things off with his latest single, Unbreakable, before transitioning into a Westlife favourite, My Love. The next track is arguably one of the most used wedding songs today, Beautiful In White. In fact, Filan explained that he recorded the demo five years ago and only last year he decided to officially release it as part of Love Always. To end things off, Filan got the crowd on their feet for Uptown Girl.

If you are already missing him or missed out this time round, Filan will be back next month for a full concert at The Coliseum!


Picture credit: Spin or Bin Music, Shane Filan on Twitter.

It’s easy to judge a band by a single that wildly took off in 2010. But if there’s anything that reinforces Foster The People’s undeniable talent, it’s beyond that song’s existence. Yes, I’m talking about the indie-turned-mainstream hit Pumped Up Kicks.

The evening started with much apprehension for most who were not drawn to Zepp@BIGBOX’s ability to host bands of the genre. I, myself, wasn’t one of them. After all, a deafening sound system can be easily ignored with last night’s trippy visuals that could potentially transcend one’s soul to another dimension. I’m not even kidding.

The band opened with Pay The Man that welcomed the crowd to a kaleidoscopic stage set up and frontman Mark Foster’s dad dance moves (one of the highlights of the show, to be honest).

The set then took on a steady throttle of energy with Helena Beat, sending a surge of adrenaline to audience members who were just warming up. But there was this particular lady standing right beside me who did not move a single inch since the show started. Not even a head bob of approval. Was she just completely stunned by the fact that the band was playing music live right in front of her to express any emotions? Who knows? She did remain that way the entire show. To each his own, I guess. 

Though the lack of movement beside me was a bit of a concern, Foster The People delivered a variety of songs like Waste, Doing It For The Money, and Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls) that set just the right mood for an internal frenzy. Couple that with, again, the blend of multiple colored hues on stage and you’ve got yourself a cinematic moment.

The flawless transition from Lotus Eater to a cover of Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop also proved that the band is more than just their breakthrough hit.

Foster The People has always been criticized for their unclassified genre, almost being forced by critics to find a certain identifying sound. But that would be unfounded for a band that has the talented multi-instrumentalist Isom Innis who calls himself “Jack of all trades” and Mark Foster whose vocals captivatingly reverberated off the room – even making an audience member shout, “WHO BROKE YOUR HEART, BRO?” after belting out the ballad Ruby.

With incarnations like Torches and Sacred Hearts Club, Foster The People continuously reclaim their position as a band that can’t be defined by a single genre. We’ve got moments of raving and aggressive headbanging for “avant-garde” songs like Pseugologia Fantastica and several slow dancing bits with Sit Next To Me.

One would quickly expect the band’s infectious energy to last until after the encore, but the set didn’t exactly end with a bang despite the sing-along that was during Pumped Up Kicks. Is it perhaps time to retire the song as part of the encore? Maybe.

While the show undoubtedly lifted the crowd’s spirits, it’s inevitable not to gain mad respect for the quartet who took the time to meet everyone behind the barrier after the show. This is in addition to Mark Foster’s inspirational speech prior to the encore, leaving everyone with the words, “Love should be our mantra.”

 

 

Setlist

Pay the Man
Helena Beat
Life On The Nickel
Doing It for the Money
Waste
Are You What You Want to Be?
Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)
Lotus Eater
Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones cover)
Pseudologia Fantastica
Houdini
Call It What You Want
Coming of Age
Ruby
Sit Next To Me
Miss You

Encore:

Loyal Like Sid & Nancy
Pumped Up Kicks

 

Photo credit: Alvin Ho and Aloysius Lim for LAMC Productions

Ask and you shall receive, eh?

Just a year after introducing New Hope Club as a rising boyband to watch out for, we’ve already got to experience an exclusive fan session with the pop rock trio!

Comprising of George Smith, Blake Richardson, and Reese Bibby, the band treated 60 lucky fans to an intimate showcase in Singapore.

Prior to the show, the British lads delved into a light-hearted conversation about not being a fan of durian and their respective Hogwarts houses (they’re all Gryffindors except for George who’s a Slytherin).

Aside from their comedic antics, the band also opened up about having Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, and Harry Styles as their dream collaborations. This, of course, triggered an instant scream fest from the audience that didn’t die down until the end of their set.

The trio gave an authentic performance of songs like Perfume, Good Day, and Fixed. While there might have been a few stumbles here and there, NHC proved that they’re more than just their apparent charm with their swoon-worthy harmonies.

Watch some of the highlights from New Hope Club’s exclusive fan session below:

 

Setlist

Medicine
Perfume
Good Day
Water
Two Ghosts (Harry Styles cover)
Fixed

 

Photo credit: Last.fm, Spin or Bin Music

Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons graced Singapore with a thunderous 105 minutes set at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night as part of their Evolve World Tour. This would mark the group’s third visit to Singapore – after 2015’s Smoke + Mirrors Tour at the same venue and 2016’s Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix gig.

The spectacle of strobe lights, multi-coloured lasers and LED screen panels at the main stage illuminated frontman Dan Reynolds’s powerful voice so well. No doubt, the spotlight was cast primarily on him but his backing band didn’t seem to mind. However, Reynolds did take some time to appreciate his backing band amidst acoustic songs played at Stage B.

The sold-out strong crowd went through a rollercoaster of emotions, with feel-good tracks like On Top Of The World, empowering tracks like It’s Time and Demons and also sombre tracks like Bleeding Out.  

Here are our 5 standout moments of the night!

 

1.     Dan Reynolds’s Empowering Speeches

In between tracks, Reynolds took the time to shine a light on topics that have in recent years come up for discussion. For a start, he emphasised the importance of equality, spreading peace and love. Before going into Yesterday, he urged everyone to just live in the moment and that’s the most important. Just before Demons, Reynolds shared with the audience his personal experience with depression and empowered the crowd to not be afraid of judgement.

 

 

2.     Yesterday

This track brought the audience closer to the guys of Imagine Dragons. Sometimes, we get caught up with everything that’s happening or we worry too much about our future that we forget to live in the moment. The crowd roared after each line and it was almost like we’re all putting our past behind and only looking straight ahead.

 

3.     Demons

This track was magical for two reasons – what the song stood for and how the crowd lit up the entire arena. In light of recent tragic incidents, raising awareness about depression has become a hot topic. Demons does exactly that, it empowered everyone to not be afraid of judgement and to always speak out. Amidst the performance, the sold-out strong crowd lit up the entire arena with their phones. That was a sight to remember!

 

 

4.     The acoustic set at Stage B

A little bit of a shift from lasers and thumping tunes, the Las Vegas rock band toned things down for a couple of acoustic songs. First of all, they set everyone’s heart racing when they went through the standing pen to get to and fro Stage B. This gave concertgoers at the back a good glimpse of the band as they belted out tunes like Bleeding Out and Amsterdam.

 

5.     Radioactive

Close to eight minutes of a percussion masterpiece. The track begins with the band along with Reynolds playing on various percussion instruments, before the vocals actually start. Of course, the classic deep breath after “breathing in the chemicals” happens and the crowd erupts. Towards the end of the track, the band goes in for another percussion interlude and that marked the end of their third show in Singapore.

 

 

Picture Credits: Live Nation SG, Yasminedennis on Instagram and Ashok Kumar.

It’s not everyday that you get to experience flashbacks of your childhood together with 20,000 people in a stadium, all screaming in unison for the best-selling boy band in history.

But the 21st of October proved to be an evening filled with nostalgia as the Backstreet Boys (BSB) played a one-night show in Singapore.

Camouflaging amongst a crowd of fangirls in their 30s and 40s, I found myself unconsciously joining their piercing squeals as AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell opened with the banging hit, Larger Than Life.

“Somebody should’ve warned the Backstreet Boys that it was this hot here in Singapore. We are sweating up here!” Carter exclaimed succeeding the first few numbers, which were already filled with their much-anticipated synchronized dance choreography that boy bands nowadays are devoid of.

The youngest member of the band then showed his expertise in triggering immediate screams from the audience, “But you guys like to see the Backstreet Boys sweat, don’t you?”

It was an evening not deprived of audience interaction, but also pseudo-karaoke sessions with performances of songs like Drowning, Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), and As Long As You Love Me – all reminiscent of everyone’s innocent days.

Jam-packed with astounding visuals comprising of blinding laser lights and pyrotechnics, BSB delighted us with their flawless harmonies accompanied by matching sequined suits that undoubtedly made every performance more “swoon-worthy.” These are all in addition to their signature boy band pose that concluded every song.

Being the only stop in Asia, you would expect the rest of the Singapore crowd to at least reverberate the same energy as fans in the floor section. But to my disappointment, it seemed like the band’s energy only reached the first half of the stadium, leaving barely a handful of people on their feet at the grandstand.

Perhaps it was the distance from the stage that explains the lack of enthusiasm or the tiny screens that the rest of us were left with. But the sight of a minuscule Kevin Richardson aggressively headbanging during Get Down was enough for me.

Finally unable to contain themselves, the rest of the crowd got up for the fan-favorite I Want It That Way and the encore Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) that manifested the band’s undying fervor.

Swooning over cheesy love songs was cathartic in itself, but being serenaded by one of the world’s most popular boy bands made the moment even more special.

It might have been almost 25 years since BSB formed, but the quintet’s nostalgic hits are definitely going to be repeatedly played by generations of fangirls for a long time.

 

Setlist

Larger Than Life
The One
Get Down (You’re The One For Me)
Drowning
Incomplete
Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely
I’ll Never Break Your Heart
Anywhere For You + Darlin + Undone
As Long As You Love Me
The Call
We’ve Got It Goin On
Get Another Boyfriend
More Than That
Shape Of My Heart
I Want It That Way
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)

 

Photo Credit: Unusual Entertainment

There is no doubt that it’s quite a challenge to top last year’s stellar line-up, but 2017 Singapore Grand Prix still continues to attract music fans for its 10th anniversary.

Warming up the eager audience on Night 1 was pop rock band OneRepublic that had fans who waited for 7 hours just to catch them up-close.

The band opened with the heart-wrenching Stop and Stare followed by the anthem of a song that is Secrets, inviting the crowd to sing along with the talented Ryan Tedder. Though as emotional and exciting as it was, the first number did not exactly hype up the vacant-eyed audience as much as the second one, this wasn’t much of a shock as Brent Kutzle breathtakingly brought the latter song to life with his famous cello intro.

Despite the slightly slow start, OneRepublic began to trigger everyone’s sentimentality in moments when Tedder would briefly explain inspirations of songs he wrote for other artists and later belted out live with the band. “If you know this song, sing it. If you don’t, don’t sing it,” Tedder instructed the stunned audience after revealing that he’d co-written Halo by Beyoncé, Happier by Ed Sheeran, and Rumour Has It by Adele.

However, the most memorable part of the evening was when a male fan caught Tedder’s attention midset. It turned out that the fan was at a OneRepublic show in Vancouver three weeks ago and was told by Tedder that he would buy him a beer if he flies to Singapore for their F1 gig. Keeping his word, Tedder immediately handed the fan a beer directly from stage. Talk about dedication!

As expected, F1 shows tend to be generous on the visual front. The alluring lights and impeccable stage set-up made songs like Good Life, Apologize, and Counting Stars more cinematic. Though all good things must come to an end as OneRepublic concluded with the much-awaited Love Runs Out, leaving a group of wide-eyed fans hoping for more.

Finally making their Singapore debut were Ariana Grande and The Chainsmokers on Night 2 at the Padang Stage.

Arianators could be easily spotted in the crowded pit with their black bunny ears, suggesting that they were indeed at the event solely for Grande. This was, of course, just an addition to their passionate singing.

Grande was in full pop star mode with quick costume changes and a variety of props onstage. Her Side to Side performance was delivered exactly like in the music video – a workout themed set up with Grande and backup dancers on exercise bicycles.

Known for her velvety vocals, the 24-year-old effortlessly showed off her prowess in the soulful pop ballad I Don’t Care, which was made even more “eargasmic” by chilling electric guitar solos.

Serving us some words of female empowerment were video interludes that took about 5-10 minutes of the show, which could’ve been at least just dedicated to performing more songs like Problem that we did not hear in its entirety given the limited 60-minute set.

Though Grande’s mere presence already brought excitement to the crowd, a little audience interaction would have been more satisfactory. We’d like to think that she was just saving her energy for a solo tour in Singapore in the near future. But for now, we can only hope.

One might quickly question how pop singer Ariana Grande ended up opening for The Chainsmokers. But the evening itself proved the critics wrong, at least temporarily, as the EDM-pop duo surpassed (almost) everyone’s expectations.

Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart have been severely criticized for their music's lack of variety. Although their tracks couldn't necessarily be labeled as "legendary," the duo was able to transform The Padang into a huge dance floor filled with an energetic mob through tracks like Roses, Closer, and Don’t Let Me Down - all of which enticed the crowd to sing along.

It is indeed undeniable that music that’s fun, catchy, and devoid of meaning could be aggressively electrifying. This, of course, wouldn’t be possible without those captivating pyrotechnics and animated emojis.

With unparalleled energy released in the first two evenings of the F1 concerts, we were unfortunately met with gloomy weather on the Night 3. But the skies quickly cleared up prior to Duran Duran’s set, giving us a breezy atmosphere for their '80s new wave music.

The award-winning synthpop band attracted a large group of fans comprising mostly of an older audience who eagerly responded with screams on par with Arianators’ the evening before.

Lead singer Simon Le Bon’s efforts in being culturally inclusive were evident in wittily crafted song introductions, getting audience members to shout out where they’re from preceding the band’s performance of Last Night In The City - a song about bringing people together, according to Le Bon.

“Did you catch your Laksa and Nasi Goreng? Is anybody hungry?” he further asked the crowd before delving into their hit song, Hungry Like A Wolf.

If that wasn’t endearing enough, the entire band manifested an exceptional stage presence that radiated from Dom Brown’s edgy guitar licks to John Taylor’s signature basslines. It’s no wonder that they’re able to attract a huge following of supporters even from the other side of the world.

Working the crowd brilliantly into songs like Save A Prayer and ending their set with Rio, Duran Duran certainly still carries the same fervor from their emergence in the '80s, almost four decades ago. While the crowd, unfortunately, did not get to hear The Reflex live despite their enthusiastic chanting, that devotion in itself demonstrates the band’s undying legacy as new wave icons.

Following the EDM themed dance party this year’s concerts were going for, record producer and DJ Calvin Harris closed the weekend with his jam-packed mixes - some of which constantly struck familiarity amongst the majority of the crowd that probably left the venue as EDM converts.

Radio hits like This Is What You Came For, How Deep Is Your Love, and Outside induced a rare euphoria that everyone would usually be devoid of on a Sunday evening. But before you know it, Rihanna’s vocals slowly enveloped the enormous mosh pit with We Found Love and after which ensued a whirlwind of frenzy.

Did I mention a toddler being carried by his dad in front of me during Calvin Harris’ set? Yes, that happened, and I guess that little boy can proudly tell his friends in the future that he had first “clubbing” experience with Calvin Harris as the DJ.

With this, one might confuse Singapore Grand Prix 2017 as Ultra Singapore given its EDM headliners. However, this risky move unexpectedly revives the definition of an after-party, reminding everyone that this year’s line-up is definitely what a celebration is all about, despite everyone’s doubts.

 

Photo Credit: Singapore GP and Joyce Pang for The Straits Times

Concert Review: Mew "LIVE" in Singapore!

By Tuesday, 05 September 2017 15:00

Just one day after fellow countrymen Michael Learns To Rock performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Danish alternative rock band, Mew, took the stage at the School of the Arts (SOTA) Concert Hall on 3 September.

The SOTA Concert Hall, although considerably smaller than the Indoor Stadium, provided an intimate setting that was perfect for a band such as Mew. However, while tickets in the circles were sold out, the unoccupied seats littered across the stalls area made it fairly obvious in a space with a mere capacity of 600.

By a quarter past 8, the band was up on stage playing In A Better Place. Special, which followed after, was crowd and the intro of the track had a few popped up from their seats to dance along to the upbeat tempo. As earlier promised in a video greeting to fans in Singapore, the band played a good mix of music from their latest album, Visuals, such as Twist Quest and Nothingness And No Regrets, alongside their older tracks Am I Wry? No and Satellites.

Much to the contrary of his seemingly quiet demeanour, Frontman Jonas Bjerre's falsetto was on point the entire night and especially shone in the likes of Snow Brigade and Waterslides. As each song went by, more and more members of the audience started to get on their feet. By the time the band played Carry Me To Safety, every single person in the concert hall had moved on from crossing their arms and slightly nodding to full-on head banging. It's also worth noting how instead of the band prompting audience members to get up and dance, it was the fans themselves who got those around them to stand by shouting: "Eh, stand leh!"

In the atmosphere that dabbled between the extreme polars of intense and chill, the kaleidoscopic visuals and psychedelic stage lightings were also impeccable that night.

Following in the footsteps of Radiohead, the band performed a second encore with Comforting Sounds, their arguably most defining and awaited track on the setlist. After a mesmerizing extended outro, Jonas took the time to thank and shake the hands of those who were standing in front. His genuine and humble disposition ended the short yet sweet, 1 hour 15 minute concert on a sweet and heartwarming note for both concertgoers and the band who would be embarking on the rest of their Asian and Australian tour.

Photo credits: Jazrel Rezed, @Mewofficial @Rueventan.photo on Instagram

Suspense filled the Singapore Indoor Stadium as the house lights went dimmed. All eyes were glued to the stage for the next 5 minutes, waiting for the stars of the night, Michael Learns To Rock. Yet, all that could be seen were the alphabets "MLTR" flashing on the screens on the left and right.

The last time the Danish pop-rock band played in Singapore was 2 years ago at The Star Performing Arts Centre. Moving back into the Singapore Indoor Stadium is a testament of how well-loved MLTR still is even today. As highlighted by frontman Jascha Ritcher, the last time they played in the same venue was in 1995, which was also their first concert in Asia.

Alas, donned in matching colours of black and red, the band finally came up on stage and catapulted into their timeless classics, Complicated Heart and Sleeping Child

The first half of the concert went like a breeze. Despite a slight misshap with the sound system during Final Destination, the band transitioned from song to song quickly, barely making banter with the crowd. 

It wasn't until the band introductions when things started to get a little exciting. As frontman Jascha introduced his bandmates, it turned out that they had already left the stage. "It's quite scary to be alone on stage like this," he quipped. "I quit, I go home." Fans who were seated along the isles were in for a treat as Jascha walked through the crowd to get to the second stage, located in the middle of the stadium. The rest of the band later joined Jascha and prompted the audience to take out their cellphones. The stadium was transformed into a beautiful spectacle as thousands waved their lighted cellphones.

With screenings of their old music videos playing behind them, the now-middle-aged MLTR still looked just as suave, if not even more so. As if looking into our souls, Jascha winked and made cheeky glances and into the cameras, all while making teasing remarks.

While Jascha remained behind the keyboard most of the time, it was guitarist Mikkel Lentz who walked around the stage to work up the crowd. His gelled-up salt and pepper hair had ladies swooning all around.

In the last quarter of the concert, the band played another set of favourites such as 25 Minutes and Paint My Love. The night ended with an encore performance of That's Why (You Go Away) with a confetti surprise. 

The magic about MLTR is in their music that is able to invoke the nostalgia in the hearts of the old and young alike; those who witnessed the band at its prime in the 90's and those who grew up listening to their music played on their parents' car radio. The band put on a world-class performance that night that will remain in many of our hearts.

 

Photo credits: @iamalextan @mrderektan @aliciacyt90 on Instagram

When you are one of the world's biggest surviving rock band and your return to a country has taken more than 20 years, there is going to be a certain level of expectation set on you.

So when Foo Fighters finally made their highly-anticipated return to our shores at the National Stadium, meeting the expectations of a 20,000-strong crowd was not going to be an easy feat.

It was 8:05pm when the lights dimmed and the sound of electric guitars echoed across the stadium. As if fans were expecting the band to be late, it wasn't until frontman Dave Grohl appeared on the big screen when unprepared fans quickly got onto their feet and erupted in applause to welcome the rock legends on stage.

The night began with I'll Stick Around before diving into the band's greatest hits such as All My Life, Learn To Fly and The Pretender. A friend who was standing in Pen A described her experience in the first few rows as a "gas chamber" and was subjected to "involuntary vertical bodysurfing and moshing", which should've been expected, in my opinion.

It was evident that Singapore's humidity was getting to Dave Grohl when he doused an entire bottle of water on himself, before leading the stadium with My Hero. What a surreal and goosebump-inducing experience it was to listen as the entire stadium sang back its chorus in unison to their heroes on stage.

The entertaining and extended band introductions that came halfway through the set included snippets of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes, Stayin' Alive by Bee Gees and Another One Bites The Dust by Queen, all of which came to abrupt endings. "Wrong band," Dave reminded.

Drummer Taylor Hawkins then took over vocals in Cold Day in the Sun, bringing our attention to the photo of a young Chris Cornell that was on his drum set - the band's tribute to the late Soundgarden frontman.

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One of the highlights of the night was the trio from their 2011 Wasting Light album, which included Walk, These Days and Rope. Throughout the two-hour set, the veteran performers were able to kept spirits high and show how a real concert should really be. All around the stadium, fans could be seen dancing, jumping and even running around.

However, as energetic and engaging as it was, Foo Fighters' concert was far from perfect. One of the most obvious drawbacks was the setlist that was shorter than many other stops in their Concrete and Gold tour. Compared to their shows in Europe or the one in Bangkok that took place just two days prior, their show here was cut by at least three songs, including Wheels and Skin and Bones which just so happened to be two of the songs that I was personally eager to watch.

All in all, the band put on a solid show that was in their best ability. Many would guess that there was a strict time limit imposed on the show, so it comes with a sigh of relief that audience interaction was not compromised that night. Despite the shorter setlist, Dave's friendly banter and flying kisses were a good trade-off. "Next time, it won't take 20 years, because I'll be 68 then," he said of the band's next return. We'll hold him to his word.

 

(Photo credits: UnUsUal Entertainment, @gavinlsh, @dodytsepotakuc and @eddyyjh on Instagram)

A teaser for what is to come!

Niall Horan hit the sunny shores of Singapore for a very intimate showcase with just 25 lucky fans, members of the media and invited guests. The surprise gig was only announced earlier this week and fans got the chance to win exclusive invites.

The showcase, of which the location was kept a secret till show day, happened at the Esplanade Annexe Studio. Niall started off the gig with his debut solo single This Town and then continued with an unreleased track (which he mentioned that the release date is still unknown) On The Loose. Just before closing off the show with his latest single Slow Hands, the Irish crooner treated us to a cover of Dancing In The Moonlight by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy.

The set was followed by a short Q&A session that was opened to both fans and the media. Niall told the crowd a little story from the making of his forthcoming album, where he created a song so emotional that it pretty much made a room full of grown men cry. He even promised to revisit this when his album is out later this year!

At the end, Niall also shared that he would love to return to Singapore to perform “a set with 12 more songs” and even take the time to explore the city. We’re excited for the release of his forthcoming solo debut album and hope to see you again!

Check out the highlights below!

 

 


Picture Credits: Spin or Bin Music

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