Gigs: The National at Hostess Club Weekender Singapore 2014

One of the hardest parts about leaving Milwaukee was knowing I’d be leaving a vibrant music scene. Milwaukee boasts beautiful historic concert venues, namely the Pabst Theater, The Riverside Theater and Turner Hall Ballroom, a vast array of craft local beers with great prices (~US$5.50 per pint) to enjoy your show with, and of course, choice selection of bands passing through. So, before leaving I was excited to find out that my favourites, The National, would be stopping by Singapore for the Hostess Club Weekender. I saw them three times in Milwaukee, three times in Chicago, and this was my first in Singapore (#fangirl4evaaa). Still have regrets over not seeing them in Madison, but I was in the thick of thesis writing. They never get old.

The Hostess Club Weekender, originating in Japan, recently washed up on Southeast Asian shores, including Singapore. I’m not sure why it’s called Hostess Club Weekender, and still haven’t been able to find out why. Escort service first comes to mind when hearing the name. Anyway, the lineup on February 22nd included The National, Mogwai, King Krule, Asegir and Buke & Gase. Tickets were S$118 for the day (+ S$3 processing fee) and Singapore was the last stop of their Asia-Pacific tour. The promoters touted all bands played full sets, which is really nice for a festival setting. The event was held at Fort Canning Park, against the backdrop of a glimmering Singapore skyline.

We only made it in time for Mogwai and The National, because my sister and I were too busy drinking all the wine before the show. This is our first reunion show since catching The National in 2010; the last time she saw them (without me, sniff) in Singapore, she ended up meeting them at a bar.

She flew in from Jakarta to see them.

Mogwai had a pretty chilled out set. The frontman was very polite, thanking the crowd after the applause following each song.

Mogwai at the Hostess Club Weekender Singapore

Inching closer to the front; the promoters gave out fans (1/4 shown here) that said “I’m a Fan Of The National” bahah

The National played 8 songs from their Grammy nominated album Trouble Will Find Me (which should have won, as good as Vampire Weekend are). Unfortunately, their setlist was shorter (19) than usual (25), so a lot of classics were axed, including Apartment Story and All the Wine, amongst others. Nevertheless, there was never a dull moment with what they did play, keeping the crowd energized. Scott Devendorf was missed (he just had a baby), but the bassist did well. The night ended with fan favourites including About Today, Fake Empire, Mr. November, Terrible Love (in which Matt flubbed up some of the lyrics, hee hee), an unplugged version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks and Matt’s walkabout in the crowd. The thing about The National is, they make beautiful music and are incredible to see perform. There’s a few things I get excited about and they are definitely one of them.

And if you want/To seriously/To see me cry/Don't swallow the cap

And if you want/To seriously/To see me cry/Don’t swallow the cap

What a fun night! Thanks to the roadie who gave me the setlist; I had to keep it close and battle snatchy hands. Also, on a side note to the organizers: please have a better selection of adult beverages! Only canned Bud was available for S$10, which is not the worst price considering Singapore’s ridiculous alcohol prices. But BUD. Some wine would be nice too. Looking forward to next year!


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If you haven’t had a chance to see them live yet, check out their full performance recording at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year. And they were on SNL the other night too.