UK’s The xx brought their minimalistic brand of alternative pop for a sold-out show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – a rare occurrence for an indie act – cementing their status as a touring force in the process. We recap 8 highlights from their electrifying show.
#1 An A+ Opening Act
Credit: Marcus Lin / Secret Sounds Asia
The xx’s opening act, rising Brit artist Sampha, performed one of the longest opening sets we’ve ever sat through. But his soulful jams calmed the fervent crowd and made waiting over an hour for the main act more than bearable. We even spotted several audience members Shazam-ing his tunes and getting lost in his music.
Touring in support of their latest album I See You, ardent fans were delighted to lap up new hits such as ‘Lips’ and ‘I Dare You’. It was amazing to witness a stadium-full of people singing along perfectly!
New music might’ve been the main draw, but the band’s nearly decade-long discography was not overlooked – classic anthems like ‘Islands’, ‘VCR’ and ‘Fiction’ drew excited gasps and cheers from the audience the instant their recognisable opening guitar rifts wafted through the speakers.
#4 Jamie XX’s solo
Credit: Dominic Phua / Secret Sounds Asia
The man behind the deck, Jamie XX took center stage mid-way through the set with a surprise performance of his solo track ‘Loud Places’, turning the buzz up a notch and the stadium into a rave party.
The xx might be renowned for their heart-aching love songs, but lead singer Oliver Sim made sure the intimacy was not lost among singletons, with a dedicated shout out and a reminder that he “could see each and every one of them”.
#7 Romy’s ‘Performance’
Credit: Marcus Lin / Secret Sounds Asia
While Oliver led most of the fan interaction, fellow lead vocalist Romy mesmerised throughout with her unwavering deliveries, perhaps displayed no better than on the near-a cappella high of ‘Performance’. A fitting song title for an immaculate moment of the night.
#8 The Fans, Who Turned Up The Show
Credit: Dominic Phua / Secret Sounds Asia
Credit: Marcus Lin / Secret Sounds Asia
If the band’s ability to draw a larger crowd over recent mainstream pop acts is not enough a testament to their faithful following, it’s their admirers’ proud displays of passion that really proved their cultural impact. Fans that flocked the stadium – aged anywhere between teenagers and married couples – donned t-shirts and tote bags adorned with the unmistakable “X” logo of the band, and mouthed every lyric religiously. And while there were no backup dancers, extravagant stage productions or even a video backdrop, The xx showed that all you needed was relatable music and heartfelt conversations to have an unforgettable gig.
Featured image: Marcus Lin / Secret Sounds Asia
What The xx tune do you rock out to? Share your favourites in the comment section!
You might’ve heard of Wanna One – y’know, the group known as the male version of I.O.I that’s been making headlines, crashing ticketing servers and smashing album sales these days? The craziest thing is, these boys have yet to even make their debut! Before they officially take over K-pop land come 7 August, we bring you up to speed with the world’s newest boy band obsession with some serious Produce 101 trivia.
Here we go!
1. With his charismatic aura and slick moves, should we even be surprised that Daniel acted as Cube chick Seonho’s “sexy appeal teacher” during their ‘Open Up’ days?
2. Spot Daniel looking all dashing as a backup dancer for FIESTAR’s Cao Lu in this smoldering performance of ‘Invitation’ in 2015. Looks like sexiness is in his blood all along!
3. And of course, God Daniel was the one who choreographed the smokin’ hot dance for ‘Hands On Me’.
4. Daniel: A self-proclaimed feline lover who loves cats so much that he even joined a cat forum.
5. Also Daniel: Didn’t know the gender of his own cats and names them “Rooney” and “Peter” when they are actually female… #YouTried
6. The Wanna One centre has a crazy shoulder width of 60cm. We repeat, 60cm.
7. Daniel may look tough as nails and all, but this shoulder gangster’s actually scared of bugs.
8. Kang Daniel was actually born Kang Euigeon – he decided to change his name as people found it hard to pronounce. Even his father couldn’t get it right!
9. During the behind-the-scenes of Wanna One Go’s teaser filming, you can see that Daniel’s close with Seongwoo (OngNiel shippers, where y’all at?), but kinda awkward with Minhyun. Here’s hoping HwangNiel will grow closer with time!
10. Busan lads Daniel and Woojin took part in the same dance competition as BTS’ Jimin back in 2011 (check ’em out in their full fetus glory here).
11. If you ever had an bad day, remember that Woojin ain’t called ‘The Nation’s Dark Past’ for nothing. This video of him singing his heart out to BoA’s ‘Only One’ is merely the tip of the iceberg. Daepyonim must be proud!
12. 11 years old Woojin auditioned for Superstar Kand gained attention for his uncanny resemblance to BIGBANG’s T.O.P.
13. And if it isn’t obvious enough, Woojin is also a huge BIGBANG fan.
14. Known for his reversal charms, Woojin can be all puppy gazes and snaggletoothed smiles but once he gets on stage, watch him transform into a total ladykiller. That legendary ‘Sexy baby oh my lady’ liner gets us every time.
15. While practising for the ‘Never’ stage on P101, Woojin was down with shingles and had to be rushed to the emergency room after completing the performance. Nevertheless, kudos to the chap for soldiering on!
16. This talented redhead also got a nod of approval from his I.O.I sunbaenims, with Somi and Sohye choosing Woojin as their pick on P101.
17. One of Woojin’s top five favourite tracks is the Pokémon theme song. No, seriously.
18. Woojin and Daehwi, along with labelmates Youngmin and Donghyun, have signed exclusive contracts with Brand New Music – and it’s confirmed that the four of them will be debuting in a group after Woojin and Daehwi’s Wanna One stint. Fans of the BNM Boys have much to look forward to in 2019!
19. Pre-debut Daehwi and Woojin appeared in the music video for MC Gree’s debut single ‘Dangerous’ in 2016.
20. Daehwi and ex I.O.I member Somi are longtime BFFs, having trained together under JYP Entertainment before the former moved to Brand New Music. Also, can we please take a moment to weep over the hug these cuties shared at the 1:55 mark?
21. Remember the epic performance of ‘Hollywood’ by the Brand New Music foursome during the audition phase in P101? It was produced by Daehwi and choreographed by Woojin. A talented bunch indeed!
22. Daehwi studied in the United States for six years and his English name is David. Well, hello there David Lee!
23. Meet the new hyung collector: Daehwi practically has his fingers wrapped around all his P101hyungs. Dongho, Jinyoung and now Taehyun, who’s next?
24. Only a handful of P101 trainees did the studio recording of ‘Nayana (Pick Me)’, and Daehwi was one of them. As expected from our ‘Nayana’ centre!
25. Daehwi did so well for the recording of ‘Super Hot’ that producer Ryan Jhun said he wanted to write a song for him. Make it happen, producer-nim!
26. Daehwi wrote the song ‘Good Day’ which was included in MXM’s (Youngmin and Donghyun) debut album as a pre-release track.
27. While Minhyun is in Wanna One, his fellow NU’EST members will be promoting under the NU’EST W(aiting for Minhyun) unit till the former returns to the group.
28. Minhyun earned the title of CEO Hwang due to his professional eye for picking the best trainees for the ‘Sorry Sorry’ team in PD101. That was how Justice League was born!
29. Despite always pushing away Seonho’s never-ending displays of affection, Minhyun is a skinship maniac himself and Minki is his favourite victim.
30. Wonder what is Minhyun’s ideal type? In a hilarious attempt to please fans who have long hair, he has since changed his 2013 ideal type from someone with short hair to “anyone who has a head”. (Hey Seonho, here’s your chance!)
31. Minhyun’s posters were the first to sell out during K-beauty brand, innisfree’s bromide event, proving Hwang Emperor’s immense popularity among K-Wannables.
32. Minhyun has a serious saline allergy, so much so that even his own sweat causes him to break out in rashes. We sure hope he’s fine after filming at the beach with Wanna One…
33. While Minhyun may look all Master Chef-worthy in his individual teaser, the poor lad can’t cook to save his life.
34. There are tons of Internet jokes about Minhyun being a victim of capitalism, as he unabashedly endorses Hite beer despite having zero tolerance to alcohol. Props to the dude though!
52. From a shy boy who always had his head down due to the lack of confidence, to the well-deserved centre of ‘Hands On Me’, Jinyoung has certainly come far.
53. Jinyoung was chosen by vocal trainer Shin Yumi as the trainee who improved the most on an episode of Taxi.
54. Jinyoung is the only 2000-liner among all 101 trainees.
55. Pretty boy Jinyoung was voted as the #2 ‘visual centre’ by the P101 trainees, with Jihoon coming in first.
56. Winkdeep (Jinyoung x Jihoon) may be a popular ship, but Jinhwi (Jinyoung x Daehwi) has been starting to sail. The clingy pair was even spotted rocking couple tees during the filming of Wanna One Go!
60. Jinyoung was revealed to be a Pinky fanboy during season one of PD101. A PRSTIN x Wanna One collaboration, anybody?
61. Who knew someone chewing a bubblegum would be such a treat to the eyes? Gaining a new nickname as the bubblegum guy, Sungwoon caught the eyes of even non-fans with his chic appearance in the MV teaser of ‘Energetic’!
62. Despite being in Wanna One, it’s said that Sungwoon monitors HOTSHOT during his free time and also showed his support for their latest comeback ‘Jelly’.
63. Sungwoon auditioned for JYP Entertainment back in high school along with former I.B.I member Sohee, but failed to make the cut.
64. Everyone’s friends with Sungwoon – SHINee’s Taemin, EXO’s Kai, BTS’ Jimin and VIXX’s Ravi, just to name a few. Now, where can we sign up to be part of this squad?
65. Any Shawols here remember Taemin’s karaoke echo talent? Turns out the original founder was in fact Sungwoon, who imparted the skill to his SHINee bestie.
66. In order to show the best image of himself, Sungwoon dyed his hair to match the ‘Never’ concept and dyed it again when he was transferred to the ‘Showtime’ team. Dedication right there!
67. Sungwoon featured in the music video of Chad Future’s ‘Famous’.
68. Jisung and Sungwoon are paired up (feat Woojin the thirdwheeling son) in Wanna One Go for a reason – after all, they’re the “mother” and “aunt” of the group.
69. Leave it to Jisung omma to wake his kids up every morning. Ah, what will Wanna One do without their leader?
70. Did you know that our meme king Jisung used to be an ulzzang? *Jisung clap*
71. After HIM Entertainment’s Park Seung Woo was eliminated, 26-year-old Jisung became the oldest trainee in P101.
72. Among the MMO trainees, Jisung is the only one who doesn’t like to work out.
73. He may the oldest, but Jisung’s a big crybaby. Just look at how he walks like a duckling while bawling his way up on stage upon hearing his placing. Too cute!
74. Jisung is the #1 fixed pick of P101 trainees, which includes Youngmin, Seonho and Daniel.
75. Dreams do come true! In the first episode of P101, the MMO trainee jokingly said that he wanted to get a kiss from one of the NU’EST members – fast forward to now, Jisung got his wish!
77. Seongwoo’s expectation: Singer, dancer, actor, visual… what else can this flawless man not do?
78. Seongwoo’s reality: Slate Ong™, Baegopa™, Jeongmal Jeongmal Jinja Daebak Real Heol Wanjeon™… basically a living meme.
79. Prior to becoming a trainee, Seongwoo worked part-time as a model for wedding shoots and shopping malls ads.
80. Seongwoo entered Fantagio as an actor trainee and was originally set to debut as part of 5URPRISE U, but he’s always dreamt of being a singer. Look where he’s at now!
81. Seongwoo made a special cameo on 5URPRISE U’s debut web drama Idol Fever along with Fantagio sunbae Seo Kang Joon.
82. Seongwoo’s specialty is the drums. Watch him kill it in this short clip for Art Company Hada.
83. Seongwoo was also one of the few who participated in the studio recording of ‘Nayana’. He went in a team with Hwiseung, Woodam and Dongha.
84. SG Wannable’s Lee Seok Hoon, who took on the role of P101’s vocal trainer, revealed that his wife is a fan of Seongwoo. We’re not surprised, who wouldn’t like such a charmer?
85. Guanlin has a sister and she’s a fan of the ‘Jisung clap’!
86. Nobody in Wanna One is more “rich in pre-debut pictures” than Guanlin. We shall let the infamous collage below do the talking.
87. Guanlin was the captain of the basketball team, and was also the class president back in school.
88. Despite having a good academic record, Guanlin decided to give up on his studies in Taiwan and flew to Korea to pursue his dreams.
89. Guanlin found himself a penpal in order to learn English.
90. Ever since joining Cube Entertainment, Guanlin has been looking up to PENTAGON’s Wooseok as his role model. Swaggy rappers unite!
91. Guanlin and byeongari labelmate Seonho had a period where they became awkward as Cube instructed them to use formal language with each other, but all’s good now and the two chicks are closer than ever.
92. To Seonho, Guanlin is a “superstar” – and he couldn’t be more right.
A ragtag team thrown together to battle each other onscreen, clad in skin tight spandex with their faces painted in the best of over the top ‘80s makeup while at it – welcome to Netflix’s latest female-forward Original, the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling (GLOW).
G.L.O.W begins with struggling actress, Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) at an audition. She launches into an impassioned speech about saving her business, fighting for justice, and how she “won’t be bullied into submission”. Finishing her lines, Ruth sniffles and thanks Mallory, the casting director for offering her an opportunity to audition because “there aren’t roles like this for women on television right now”. The camera pans to a visibly unimpressed Mallory, who says drily, “You were reading the man’s part.” Turns out, Ruth was supposed to be auditioning for a secretary role and her actual lines were: “Sorry to interrupt. Your wife is on line 2.” Crestfallen but desperate for the part, Ruth summons what’s left of her pride and repeats it winningly.
This scene was the first of many jolting realisations that this was how it was like back in 1980s television. Ruth’s secretary would most likely be a one-dimensional role with little to no lines. If she got to speak, it’ll be to inform her male boss that “his wife is on line 2”. And even though the ‘80s saw an increase of realistic female characters onscreen – think The Golden Girls or Roseanne –, it would still be a struggle to find diverse female roles that didn’t lean towards the archaic, sexist and stereotypical.
As millennials who enjoy binge-watching shows with strong, female characters like Orange is the New Black (OITNB), The Handmaid’s Tale, Jessica Jones and Girls, this reality is hard to fathom. OITNB especially, diverted from the tropes that followed female-centric shows, and was a huge catalyst in paving the way for shows depicting flawed women and the complexities of female friendships. Even better, its popularity revealed a demand and market for shows that flaunted authentic portrayals of women. That’s where Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling comes in.
For the uninitiated, GLOW is based off a popular 1980s all-women wrestling show of the same name. As like its predecessor, 2017’s version embraces every outrageous aspect that follows professional wrestling and its fledgling stars. At its helm are playwrights-turned-TV-writers Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, longtime friends who worked on female-led shows like OITNB and Nurse Jackie. “We wanted to write something together, and we wanted it to be very female-focused,” shares Liv in an interview. Stumbling across a documentary on the women of GLOW, they were instantly hooked. “The challenging thing was just how many characters we wanted to include and making sure we gave them a real voice.”
Image credit: Netflix
Ruth would soon find herself at the life-changing audition for fledgling wrestling promotion Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, after receiving a voicemail from Mallory who informed her that “They’re looking for unconventional women, whatever the h*ll that means.” Stepping into the room, she sees other ‘unconventional’ aspiring actresses of different ethnicities, shapes and sizes, who were too seeking their own spotlight: a tough-as-nails former stuntwoman, fun loving hairstylists, a punk rock teenager and more.
“A place that we started with, was how the idea of wrestling actually made us very uncomfortable.” Carly shares, “We had moments where it felt empowering, and a lot where we questioned the level of exploitation, which was really interesting to us. Honouring the ‘80s [version] while remembering it wasn’t women who were producing/directing the original. But, there is a lot more empowerment there than there is that inherent struggle. It’s important to keep exploring.” She continues, “Part of it was embracing the restrictions of that era and making them part of the story. We are two women who have had it pretty good in television – and looking back and thinking about the limitations on those women in the ‘80s – from our point of view was a challenge but definitely something we wanted to tackle.”
To put it bluntly, those who showed up to the casting call were women who didn’t fit into the ‘1980s television cookie cutter mould. And even in the years leading up to revolutionary shows like OITNB, these everyday, relatable female figures wouldn’t have had a chance to grace our screens either. Fortunately, the television landscape has since evolved into an ever-inclusive one, where women not only ruled on TV, but also behind it – we wouldn’t be able to watch the women of GLOW kick ass onscreen otherwise.
“The first time we saw Alison and Betty in the ring, in costume during the fantasy sequence we were shooting for the pilot, was thrilling. We really hadn’t done any wrestling shots up until that point.” Liz remembers, “Then all of a sudden, we had two leads in the middle of the ring surrounded by 400 extras in period costume… There was smoke, there were lights, it was like we were filming a rock concert! And they came to life in a totally new way; I remember people began to cluster around the monitors and we got to feel for the first time, that we were making something that was bigger than all of us!”
With that being said, the movement to show diverse female-led representation both onscreen and off is gaining momentum in spectacular fashion. But when would it become truly mainstream – where it doesn’t take a woman to understand and champion the power of being female? “We don’t have a crystal ball, but there are positive signs all around us. Including the fact that shows and movies [like Wonder Woman, OITNB and Pitch Perfect] have men writing on them.” Liz concludes, “We can only hope it changes faster rather than slower.”
On an otherwise dull Thursday mid-week, our day was perked up thanks to pop music’s resident party animal Charli XCX’s new thirst-trap of a music video. Boasting over 60 famous male celebrities – spanning vloggers, boyband members and K-stars – Charli’s unabashed take on the “female gaze” is front and center over a laidback, man-hungry electropop jam. Here’s some of the many cameos to spot in GIF form – don’t blink!
Diplo (And Puppies!)
Sage The Gemini
Tristan and James (The Vamps)
Khalid (And More Puppies!)
Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) and Mark Ronson
Taka (ONE OK ROCK)
See how many more famous faces you can spot in the video!:
Which is your favourite cameo in Charli XCX’s video for ‘Boys’? Let us know in the comments below!
We’re gearing up for yet another K-pop showdown with some of our favourite boy bands going head-to-head on the charts. From Produce 101 debuts to unit comebacks to solo stages, the upcoming July/August lineup is shaping up to be an intense one. Who will come out on top?
BATTLE OF THE BOY BANDS:
NU’EST W (25 Jul) vs Wanna One (7 Aug): 2017 is a major turning point for the final 11 of Produce 101 (PD101) Season 2, who are all set to debut as Wanna One aka the male version of I.O.I. Proving themselves as a rising force to be reckoned with, these monster rookies have been bagging endorsement deals, crashing ticketing servers and breaking album pre-sale records – an impressive feat for a group that hasn’t even made their debut!
Meanwhile, Pledis ‘trainees’ Jonghyun, Dongho and Minki have returned to NU’EST and will be making a comeback with Aron under the 4-member subgroup NU’EST W without Wanna One member Minhyun – in which the ‘W’ stands for ‘Waiting for Minhyun’ (we’re not crying). However, both groups may not be able to bump into each other in music shows for now as NU’EST W is only releasing a special single album before their full comeback in the later part of the year, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a teary reunion on stage when that happens!
UPDATE: Stream NU’EST W’s new single ‘If You’ here!
Winner (4 Aug) vs B.A.P (Mid Aug): Winner and B.A.P are two groups who have been consistently putting out good music, and one thing’s for sure: your playlist’s about to get lit this coming month! Winner was recently spotted shooting a new music video abroad, while B.A.P is reportedly still in its preparation stages. The latter will be making their way here for their2017 World Tour Party Baby Singapore Boom on 18 August though, so perhaps we can expect the six-piece to drop a sneak preview of their upcoming single?
BATTLE OF THE DUOS:
Youngmin & Donghyun (27 Jul) vs Yongguk & Sihyun (31 Jul): PD101 may be over, but things are just starting to heat up for two very special pairs. Fans of the show have much to cheer for this week, as Brand New Music’s Youngmin and Donghyun (MXM) and Choon’s Yongguk and Sihyun will be making their unit debuts alongside each other. Is it just us or are we already sensing some quality ‘broduce’ moments waiting to happen behind the scenes?
JJ Project (31 Jul) vs VIXX LR (Late Aug): When it comes to iconic duos of K-pop, who’d ever forget the pre-debut days of GOT7’s JB and Jinyoung in all their JJ Project glory? Interestingly enough, JJ Project debuted in the same month as VIXX (they even appeared on MTV Diary together!) – and the twosome will most likely be rubbing shoulders with VIXX LR’s Ravi and Leo again come August. It’s no secret that the two groups are known to be really close with one another, so we can’t wait to see ’em up to their usual shenanigans!
BATTLE OF THE ONE-MAN POWERHOUSES:
Kim Samuel (2 Aug): Anyone who’s an avid devotee of PD101 would find it hard to dispute the fact that Kim Samuel is one heck of a talented lad, so to say that we’re still salty about his elimination from the top 11 lineup would be an understatement. Turns out that it’s a blessing in disguise as our golden boy is given the chance to debut after all – his upcoming mini album Sixteen already looks set for success, backed up with a string of collaborations including Changmo, Maboos and former I.O.I member Chungha. Let’s walk on the flower path, Muel!
Taeyang (Mid Aug) vs Kikwang (Late Aug) vs Taemin (Late Aug): It seems like BIGBANG, Highlight and SHINee have a lot in common – apart from being the resident dance machines in their respective groups, these veteran charmers will also be pitting against each other on the solo front. With their uncanny knack for serving bops after bops, it’s safe to say you’re in for one epic chain of performances!
Whose comeback are you looking forward to the most? Comment your faves down below!