Rock & Roots music festival off to blazing start

Ewen Boey
Singapore Showbiz
31 March 2012

The Specials got the crowd dancing at the Timbre Rock & Roots festival (Yahoo! photo/Alvin Ho)
The Specials got the crowd dancing at the Timbre Rock & Roots festival (Yahoo! photo/Alvin Ho)

At one point, Hall of Famer and legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy climbed off the stage and with guitar in hand, took a five-minute walk around the grounds to mingle with the crowd, gamely posing for photos and singing all at the same time.

So it was that Timbre Rock & Roots @ Marina Promenade got off to a blazing start on Friday evening with a series of incredible, high-energy sets that promises a whole lot more to come.

[See slideshow for Day One of the Timbre Rock & Roots Festival]

With three of the four acts on the night being blues musicians, the mood was set right from the start with Filipino blues band, Bleu Rascals, kicking things off at 645pm.

Despite their tender age, the young Pinoy outfit -- whose three members are all below 18 -- impressed the gathering crowd with lead vocalist and guitarist, Paul Leobrera, transitioning between silky blues solos and soaring leads with ease.

Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore, the band was thankful for the opportunity to share the stage with some of the blues' biggest names. This after they won an online voting poll on Yahoo! Philippines OMG to win the right to represent the Philippines at the festival.

"It really means a lot to be playing at this festival. It is really surreal to be sharing the same stage with blues legends Buddy Guy and Keb Mo. We want to thank Yahoo! for this awesome experience," said Leobrera.

Next up was Grammy-award winning Keb Mo who took centrestage with his smooth brand of blues tunes but as it turned out, he was merely setting the stage for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Buddy Guy.

Buddy Guy wows the crowd with an electrifying performance. (Yahoo! photo/Alvin Ho)
Buddy Guy wows the crowd with an electrifying performance. (Yahoo! photo/Alvin Ho)

The 75-year-old, who is ranked 30th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", stole the show with a truly electrifying set punctuated with searing solos, wailing vocals and the kind of delightful showmanship that only decades of experience can summon.

Despite the hot and humid night, the six-time Grammy award winner looked none the worse for wear. And you knew the blues cool-cat was in his element when he abandoned the stage midway through his 75-minute set to take an impromptu walk around the grounds, sparking a mad fan frenzy.

As the crowd -- a good mix of locals and expats young and old -- converged on him and followed his every step not unlike the story of the Pied Piper, he continued singing and kept his guitar wailing even in the face of flashing cameras and whirring smartphones.

Buddy Guy singing in the midst of the crowd. (Yahoo! photo)
Buddy Guy singing in the midst of the crowd. (Yahoo! photo)

By the time the final act of the night, ska-revivalists The Specials, took to the stage at around 11pm, the crowd at the grounds had swelled to about 4,000.

And even as the 80s band's army of young, trendy fans continued streaming in, The Specials launched into a 90-minute set that got the whole crowd moving.

Dishing out hits like "A Message To You Rudy", "Too Much Too Young" and "Ghost Town", complete with moshing and body surfing, the British band gave the first day of the festival a rousing finish.

With the first day of the festival over, it's now the turn of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, back by popular demand after last year's performance here, and the hugely successful Earth, Wind & Fire to get the fans going on the second and final night on Saturday.

So in the words of Trombone Shorty, "bring along your dancing shoes because we're going to have a rockin' good time!"

Here's the schedule for the festival:

Visit our Rock & Roots site for more information.

Tickets are available from SISTIC.

Related articles:

Indo, Pinoy bands to tear it up at Rock & Roots music fest

How Earth, Wind & Fire keep their fire burning

Bring along your dancing shoes: Trombone Shorty

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