Monthly Archives: May 2014

Lot 36: Dotters’ Division Times Two

10th May 2014: Lot 36: Dotters’ Division, at The Bee, Publika!

This time, with Kevin Ong on guitar, filling in for the saxophone leads that Audrey would usually play, as well as some solo work!

Linet Goh, band leader and backup vocalist.

Rebecca, terrorizer of drums.

Jie Er, always hiding.

Melissa, on expressions.

Now one, without.

Since it was Mother’s Day they did a sweet loungey cover of Boyz II Men – A Song For Mama.

It was also interesting to hear their take on Linkin Park – In The End, besides traversing pop music’s catalog all the way back to the 60s.

Once in a while…

…she’d outsource the job of singing…

…to the crowd.

Oops I dropped my vocal cords.

He’s got his.

Occasionally conducting, too!

The Bee’s staff sings along.

Crinkle Cut, another band Melissa is in.

Crinkle Cut fries respond well to sauce. So do Crinkle Cut cucumbers. I’ll never know what exactly was Crinkle Cut.

Okay now crazy lady with sauce bottle has left.

Soundman Mokhtar gets in on it.

You’ll never make me sing! Poor bear all passed out.

Not sure where the mike went for this one.

Strangely, I don’t remember the table near the door looking like this! I remember it being a sofa you can’t get out of.

I thought this table was square.

Sometimes I estimate the position wrongly and end up on the other side of the table.

Last table.


Two weeks later, 24th May 2014: Dotters’ Division featuring Sachie Amira & Kevin Ong!

Here’s Sachie looking all badass.

That role is usually Jie Er’s.

Rebecca discovers I’ve sneaked in.

Linet attracts a lot of lame jokes. This is what happens when you tell her one.

First time I’d see Audrey and Kevin on stage at the same time!

One thing that really sets this band apart from others, even though they only do covers so far, is the instruments used – Audrey’s lead saxophone gives many songs a different warmth, while avoiding that elevator music feeling.


Oh yes, and the keyboard sound.

Throw in a crazy, bubbly vocalist, too!

Then guess who showed up after skipping work to go shopping? (Evidence is under her elbow.) As it turns out, she’d just attended a wedding.

The usual crazy bubbly vocalist!

Melissa called for an encore…

…so she was asked to sing it.


24th May 2014: SOUNDSTRUCK: LIVE! at Phat Barrels, Publika!

This would be the first time I’d see a 7-band gig at this place.

The opening act was Joanne & Julia. They are twins. Fortunately, Julia wears glasses to help our eyes from getting all cross trying to figure out who is who.

Joanne moves over to the other side to play guitar.

They did mostly covers – Paramore, for example.

Daniel Wong, of Wanted Symphony, emcee and organizer.

Next: Devon C. on guitar, ukulele and keyboard, not all at the same time. I like his ukulele strap!

Daniel Yoong on bass!

The drummer through my main gig lens – the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA, the choice for low-light telephotography.

As for the wide shot of this crowd, the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM covers it. I didn’t use flash at all.

Josh Lim (far right) helped organize this. Should be interesting to see how this goes.

Next band: Amoura.

I could’ve put him in the collage, but the look he gave me warrants his own picture.

Why should I make a collage? It’s generally much more effort to capture the band in a synchronous moment – some members may be more off to one side, and that bothers me compositionally. Meanwhile, the drummer is sometimes hidden… so here he gets his own picture, too.

Then came ICOM star, Daniel Yoong.

On guest vocals, Talitha Tan!

You can also spot Andrew Tan in the background, being the sound engineer, and Barack Obama raising a glass of Guinness.

So as I was saying earlier, group pictures don’t work so well if I want to show the entire band – in this case, only the guitarist is in focus. I could use a darker aperture and get everyone in focus, but they would have motion blur due to a slower shutter speed.

Meanwhile, Talitha is just blur.

Blur, that when presented with the selfie-friendly swivelling screen of my Sony Alpha 99 to take a selfie, she looked at the screen and I had to remind her to look at the lens. Derp extraordinaire!

I regretfully missed the other acts, having run off to another gig in Publika… but that shall be posted soon.

Friday Nightshift

23rd May 2014: Nightshift, at The Bee, Publika!

Andy Chong on hot guitar.

Jack on keys.

Emmanuel on hugs. Singing and hugs.

Steven Ramanado on the sound engineer booth.

Coked up bear up with a Coke.

Ian on bass.

Jared on drums.

It was a loungier sounding set, with the keyboard sound featuring prominently. I also think this is a very cool way to arrange keyboards.

Perks of a 135mm F1.8 prime lens – shallow depth of field and F1.8 to get a faster shutter speed in low light, not that this light was particularly low.

I also brought the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM, for some mid-range compositioning.

That is one shiny bass.

In came a song request… for a birthday song!

And so, everybody sang along.


Emmanuel reached out…

…and got his shades.

Well no, not really, he put them on during the second set.

Then, another birthday…

…and a third birthday girl!

The last birthday song ended up in a little salsa.

I’m not in the habit of noting which songs bands cover since I don’t know most music of this decade, but I remember noting the medley that included Peaches & Herb – Reunited and Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven (and then continued to other songs, but I stopped recording by then.)

Steven told me to note Mokhtar’s snazzy sound console.

Mokhtar, sound guy. Sadly, I have no pictures of him drumming with Seven Collar T-Shirt – the earliest I have is from 2005 when he wasn’t the drummer anymore!

Dotters’ Division At Phat Barrels!

This here is a compilation of three gigs, all at Phat Barrels, Publika.

This is from the 26th of April 2014.

Melissa, lead vocals and guitar.

Linet Goh, band leader on keyboard and backup vocals. I loved their version of Radiohead – Creep, going all synthesizer-sounding like Pink Floyd.

Rebecca, drummer.

Jie Er, bassist.

Audrey Then, saxophonist.

I don’t usually bring out a wide-angle to gigs these days. This, with the Sony Distagon Carl Zeiss T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM, was for variety.

Grace Hong, ardent bootlegger.

Melissa then hopped off the stage…

…to show us this nifty wireless mike!

(Argh, out of focus.)

Everybody was to sing along to Kool & The Gang – Celebration.

Ming’s voice was particularly funny!

I think he thought it was a breathalyser.

Another wide-angle shot.

I made Grace do this. This was the week that Barack Obama was in town!

The week after, 3rd May 2014.

Besides playing bass, Jie Er is also a full-time fly collector.

What does her cap say? Ka-pow!

Melissa’s eyes are surprisingly big when she takes her glasses off.

Audrey dun sad!

The crowd is really getting into the groove.

They gotta be, when the band plays a wide-spanning mix of covers from as early as The Beatles to today…

…all evenly traversing pop music’s catalog.

This, however, is of course Celebration.


Surprise mike!

The setlist was switched up a bit…

…with some 90s hits I’d never heard them cover before…

…like Cranberries – Zombie and The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You.

Of course, these pictures are all of the same singalong. I’m just spacing out my narration between pictures.

Melissa turns around and taps the intro riff to Guns & Roses – Sweet Child Of Mine. As always, Dotters’ Division has a different take on these songs, with the solo played on saxophone and a country-style bassline! It worked awesomely.

Fast-forward to 2 weeks later: 17th May 2014.

This time I brought the widest rectilinear lens I had, the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG, for a different view. Anything on the side gets stretched ridiculously, like Kevin Ong on the right (filling in for Audrey) – both his head and guitar are stretched outwards.

Linet’s shirt is super cool, in that the guitars are anatomically correct – the fret inlays and number of frets were all correct for each guitar type, a rare case when looking at illustrated guitars! None of them had 24 frets though (indicated by the 2 dots per fret, like on the 12th fret – Jie Er’s bass has 24 frets) so my favorite Humbucker/Single-coil/Humbucker 24-fret Superstrat shape is not represented.

Looks like somebody now has the budget to dye more of her hair red. 😀



This would be the first time I’d see this pop/jazz/soul diva perform as herself (as opposed to standing in for Dotters’ Division when their vocalist is not free, or being a Shakey Shakey with Irma.)

Y’all got that right, we at The Bee, Publika!

Herman Ramanado on bass…

…and Anthony Muthurajah on drums!

Christine on backup vocals, on the left, not merely harmonizing but getting some powerhouse lines of her own.

Joelle on keys.

Dean Sim amidst the chaos, who rips out beautiful roaring guitar solos. Love his guitar tone and feel! (Also, them PRS quilted-maple tops are always pretty.)

She is quite the infectious, bubbly personality on stage. Very fun to watch! (And if that’s not enough, go get sucked into that Internet trap that is Vine, whether her videos or those she has revined.)

Also, it was her birthday!

Somebody keeps moving the bear above the side entrance. I noticed.

Nightshift Is The Right Shift

16th May 2014: Nightshift, at Phat Barrels, Publika.

Yes, the band is named after The Commodores’ song, Nightshift, and it could be expected that their songs would follow a similar vein.

Andy Chong on guitar, with searing licks and guitar solos.

What bassist Ian is doing with a drumstick I’ll never know.

Drummer Jared Cheow. To this day I cannot get used to seeing him being skinny.

Emmanuel on vocals.

Jack on keys.

I wonder if there are keyboards that are able to have different tones when played with different hands – where one hand would wear a glove that would insulate from electricity, and the keyboardist would conduct a low-powered circuit when touching the keys with bare hands. Kind of like how touching a theremin’s volume antenna would mute it. Thus you could program the keyboard so that the gloved hand could play a organ-like patch, while the bare, grounded hand could play a hot lead solo patch. That way keyboardists might get away with one keyboard and two simultaneous sounds.


One of many covers was that of Jamiroquai – Love Fool. Been a while since I’ve heard anyone cover that!

Feedback Open Mic @ The Bee Jaya One ft. Cassandra Mary & Jumero / May 2014 Edition

13th May 2014: Feedback Open Mic @ The Bee Jaya One ft. Cassandra Mary & Jumero / May 2014 Edition. Here’s Hameer Zawawi with always original riffage. (I missed the first performer, Melinya, also the sound engineer, by an inch.)

Interestingly, despite the crowd, there were less signups, so it was declared that the earlier acts would play 3 songs instead of 2.

Reza Salleh, organizer.

Nicky & Cheryl.

A capo made of a wooden ruler, a door handle and screws! How awesome! (Her reason being that normal capos don’t fit her wide-necked classical guitar well.)

Ashley Chan, with a different backing band this time.

First featured act, Cassandra Mary.

She’s too damn cool.

I even sat with her ex-colleagues who described how cool she was as she walked coolly into the office, doing cool things like whatever it is she does coolly at work.

This was the first time I realized that The Bee had a big logo above the sliding doors! It all made sense now why the sliding doors were where they were.

Second featured act, Jumero.

Joined by Ashley Chan!

Syamee Shamsul.

Adam. I missed Jeremy just before this.

ASDF, named after Anthony, Sharon, David and Faz. Interestingly, if you omit Anthony, the rest of the band are members of Quirky Qwerty – and QWERTY is from the top row of letters on a QWERTY keyboard, while ASDF is from the second row of letters, just below QWERTY. Sharon, David and Faz also play in Tabloid… but that’s not as noteworthy in this keyboard layout discussion.




Guest appearance by Herman Ramanado.

Added to the mix: Yvonne Chong, Sharon’s sister, and Sachie Amira, behind her.

Calico performed after, with just Yvonne and Faz.

Syamee won the competition for the night, to sing songs with a Mother’s Day theme.

The Acoustic Crinkle Cut

12th May 2014: Crinkle Cut at Table 23!

This was an acoustic take on Crinkle Cut…

…with Ashley who usually plots bleeps on her iPad, just being on cajon.

Grace Foo, cheeky clown.

Melissa Wong, also known as the guitarist/vocalist of Dotters’ Division, on guitar and backing vocals here.

Frances Tsen, from East Malaysia, has been described to me as having a voice that is African American – taking their take on Al Green – Let’s Stay Together all the more awesome.

They have this loungey jazzy soul sound.

I got excited when I heard what I thought were the intro chords to Sly And The Family Stone – If You Want Me To Stay (the live piano version, not the funky album version) but it was Musiq Soulchild – Just Friends (Sunny); still awesome! Apparently, I was not alone in thinking that there was a similarity – there’s a band out there who merged the two.

Please pardon the videobumbers – my camera was on the table, tilting slightly up, so it wasn’t obvious to the videobumbers that I was recording a video.

So if the band is reading this, consider this my little request in a small square paper. 🙂

Three’s harmony!

One reason why I don’t habitually take pictures of a band with all the members in the same picture, is because of how it’s hard to compose so that no member is too far off one side. I got lucky with this one.

Second set, with rearrangement.

Having seen Melissa with Crinkle Cut without glasses, and with Dotters’ Division with glasses, I became convinced that she was pulling a Clark Kent on us. This theory was disproven when she performed with glasses in Crinkle Cut.

No Black Tie Presents… Electronica With Dash / Stalk + Sudar

11th May 2014: No Black Tie Presents… Electronica With Dash / Stalk + Sudar.

This is Sudar.

Stalk, on saxophone with a wah pedal! He also made bleeps.

Stalk + Sudar, for a whole lot of noise with matching ponytails and flowy beards.

Darren Ashley watches from above.

Ming practices.

Spot the return of Miss Eh-pearl! Ironic how she has done one full circle.

Then came the main act, Dash! Jeremy introduced the band.

Darren Ashley. D-Ash. So yeah, Dash.

Electronica showdown.

Dance to the music!

Darren’s arch-nemesis, John Oommen, appears on stage. He is the vocalist and guitarist for Paperplane Pursuit, and sings with Darren Ashley for an irresistably catchy song called Beat Of Your Love.

Ming on guitar.

Darren on two Kaoss pads.

This is the view from upstairs.

How matching, these arch-enemies – one is the red team, the other, the blue team, like Capture The Flag.

Isaac on guitar.

Eugene, who uses a synthesizer to play the bass lines.

Darren then whips out a guitar for one of his classic acoustic jazz-soul-funk-ballad songs, pre-electronica.

Yup, here it is!

Ryan on drums is joined by Ming.

The whole band joins in for a drum circle finish!

I picked up the CD, and autographs from the band (minus Eugene, who probably was out celebrating his birthday.) It only has 2 songs but I’m waiting for a double album that has one CD full of his electro-pop goodness and one CD full of his acoustic goodness.

Busky Saturday

10th May 2014: Busk Stop: A Kakiseni Busking Project ft. Calico @ Pavilion / Apr 2014!

Hello Calico!

As per the poster, Yvonne is now full-on triangle due to too much exposure to hipsters.

Ridiculously photogenic couple in the crowd.

This would be my second time seeing Calico, with some original songs!

They also covered Destiny’s Child’s cover of Emotion – Cheryl Lau Sang/Samantha Sang sang the original, written by Barry Gibb (who’d later sing it in his band, the Bee Gees.)

Yvonne can do the breathy histrionics required by anybody who’d dare to cover Beyonce.

Crowd and bokeh.

What’s shaking?

Reza Salleh of Moonshine Productions, taking a 15 second Instavideo.

Meanwhile, over at #BuskStop (just another event page), my pictures were used again (spot me twice!)

Brendan James de Cruz.

His voice is like of one of the greats of rock and roll…

…deep, rough, and projected really well, without the high-pitched histrionics that come with Axl Rose (coincidentally, he did a cover of Guns N Roses – Sweet Child Of Mine).

Meanwhile, Hameer Zawawi, emcee and organizer for this Busk Stop, takes a selfie.