Amplifright 2023

amplifright website banner
amplifright website banner

Share this post:

On the drizzly Saturday evening that was October 28, deep within Kent Ridge in UTown Auditorium 3, there was a buzz of energy in the air despite the collective exhaustion after ten weeks of classes. Packed with people, most of whom were like me and had turned up to support their friends and family, the auditorium was filled with lively chatter. Yellow and blue strobe lights flashed as covers of famous pop hits blared through the speakers. As I settled into my seat, I felt myself being swept up by the palpable undercurrent of anticipation in the room; the mood was positively electric, waiting to be lit by a fuse. 

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long. Within a few minutes, two emcees had taken to the stage, heartily welcoming the audience to Amplifright 2023, NUS’ annual Semester 1 flagship showcase event. Notably, Amplifright was the debut stage for the newest bands to NUS Amplified, which—for anyone not in the know—is a CCA in NUS specialising in live music, ranging from a variety of genres including rock, pop, funk, R&B, punk, and more. In line with the Halloween spirit, which was only a few days away, “Amplifright” promised a frighteningly fun time for everyone.

A few minutes was all it took to get the audience raring to go, and with that, the emcees made way for the first band: It’s raining, man. Clad sleekly in all black and with the two vocalists twirling black umbrellas, the band took the stage to loud cheers and applause. Performing wonderful renditions of some of our pop favourites, such as Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” and Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”—during which the audience stood up and shouted the iconic bridge together—It’s raining, man set a great tone for what was sure to be an exciting night. 

The second band, Work / Time (read as “work overtime”, because they worked overtime to bring us their best performance) took the stage to dimmed lights. Riding the wave of high energy set by the previous act, their repertoire included more iconic hits, such as “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 and “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin. With sick guitar riffs and bright voices, Work / Time got the audience singing along at every phrase.

Honda Racing Club, the third band, made a grand and roaring entrance: their vocalists began their set by screaming into their microphones to hype up the eager audience. The sudden rise in volume was a bit of a shocker, but it only served to fan the flames of excitement; at the vocalists’ invitation, people began rushing to the front of the auditorium to begin moshing while Honda Racing Club performed several Japanese songs, including “Kyouran Hey Kids!!” by The Oral Cigarettes (otherwise known as that iconic opening song from the anime Noragami). With several people headbanging and screaming at the top of their lungs, I’d almost forgotten that we were currently rocking out in a campus auditorium and not the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Voices raspy and spirits high, the audience returned to their seats to greet the fourth act, Lava Lamp. They started their performance off calmer and slower, giving everyone a nice respite from all the previous screaming with their sweet voices. But the audience’s raging enthusiasm could not be quelled for long: by Lava Lamp’s third song, “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” by Fall Out Boy, many had jumped out of their seats to resume moshing at the front of the auditorium—and there they would stay, moshing for the rest of the night.

The fifth band, sidecar, rode their way onto the stage in a little cardboard car and impeccable fashion to boot. One of their vocalists donned a grey construction vest (“a legit one,” he claimed, “I worked on a construction site for two months”) while the other was decked out in a skeleton onesie with fluorescent white bones that shone when the lights were dimmed. Not only that, they wowed the audience with their music, witty humour, and other chaotic shenanigans: to this day I’m still unsure about why they started building a mini-golf course on stage.

And finally, after more than an hour of partying, it was time for the sixth and final act to close the show. snailcat began the finale with an unexpected twist: rock versions of cutesy K-pop hits. Have you ever headbanged aggressively to Fifty Fifty’s “Cupid” and NewJeans’ “Super Shy”? Neither did I—until Amplifright. With those songs over, snailcat’s vocalist shrugged on a black “deez nuts” shirt over her white and pink outfit (because things were getting serious now), and led the audience through songs from Paramore and The Cab, the latter of which included splitting the audience into three sections to harmonise the backing vocals for “Angel With a Shotgun”. And what could be a more fitting conclusion to the night than “Careless Whisper” by George Michael? Only a rock version of it, of course. While there was no iconic saxophone, the screaming more than made up for it.

And with that, it was curtain call for Amplifright 2023. The night ended on an epic high: cheers and applause rang throughout the auditorium for the six bands and their fantastic performances. Band and audience members alike milled around for photo-taking and to hand out congratulatory bouquets, the thrill of the night far from over. Finally, after collating audience votes, Honda Racing Club won Best Performance, Sidecar won Best Dressed, and Lava Lamp won Best Poster.

It was definitely a night to remember for both the audience and the bands. “The best part about Amplifright for me was just finally being able to make music with people who liked the same music I did,” commented Luke Chia, vocalist for Honda Racing Club. “And I wouldn’t have traded them for anyone else.” Indeed, as someone who hasn’t attended many live music events, Amplifright 2023 was one of the highlights of my semester, practically wiping away the fatigue of Week 10. From phenomenal performances to my first ever time moshing, Amplifright certainly delivered good on its promise of a scarily good time. Music lovers, be sure to keep an eye out for future performances from NUS Amplified!