After 9 months of planning, the 3rd Sundown Festival finally came to fruition on Nov 26, featuring Asian acts hailing from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. While last year’s festival was undeniably Japanese-centric, revolving around bands like SuG and LM.C, this year was all about Taiwanese superstars, as some of the country’s biggest artistes were set to take the stage at the F1 Pit Area of Marina Promenade. Although marred by torrential downpours during the late afternoon, not a trace of rain was in sight by the time the show got started. And true to its name, the party didn’t start until the sun went down.
“Are you ready?” screamed ViViD’s frontman, Shin, as the visual kei J-rock band stormed onto the stage. What looked like a bunch of surly men transformed into intense rock stars in a matter of seconds, and the quintet slayed through ‘Yume ~Mugen no Kanata~’, ‘Crisis’, and ‘Risk’. As Shin led the audience into impassioned cries of “Rock! Rock! Rock!”, saying that ViViD came alive on stage would be an enormous understatement.
Whether he was strutting back and forth or squeezing his eyes shut as he belted out the lyrics, Shin in his element was like a man completely possessed by music. The rest of the band also oozed cool confidence as they unfailingly put on an electrifying show. ViViD’s set ended with an encore performance of their latest single, ‘Fake’, which Shin described as inspired by the mature relationship between a man and a woman.
Fun fact! It takes 90 minutes to style just 1 ViViD member’s hair!
Sporting a considerably more feminine side-swept hairdo, Zhang Yun Jing explained that she’d wanted to change things up after having the same spiky cropped hair for so long. She delivered an honest 4-song set, which included ‘Let Me Take Care of You’ and ‘The Opposite Me’. The androgynous singer also made it a point to interact with her fans between each song.
Candidly, she told the audience, “Raise your hands if you don’t know me.” She was met with cheers but also many raised hands. “Okay,” she said with determination. “I’ll let you know me.”
While she was no powerhouse, her heartfelt vocals definitely struck a chord with the audience. The Super Idol champ had everyone waving and singing along to ‘Spring Soil’, a cover of singer-songwriter Harlem Yu’s hit.
Fun fact! Ah Jing wants to blend some classical elements into the music for her future album and hopes to work with an orchestra.
With an average age of only 17 years old, the members of South Korean group Teen Top impressed with their slick choreography and warm stage presence. After emerging, the 6 boys immediately launched into their 2nd single, ‘Supa Luv’, much to the delight of Angels (their official name for fans). The electro song had the boys punching the air in unison during its catchy chorus, and they followed up with ‘No More Perfume on You’, an up-tempo track taken from their latest mini-album, “ROMAN”.
Proving that their singing’s just as good singers as their dancing, the heartthrobs slowed things down with the ballads ‘Angel’ and ‘The Back of My Hand Brushes Against’, which perfectly showcased lead vocalists’ Niel and Chunji’s soulful voices. It’s no wonder Teen Top’s nicknamed “CD Live” as their impeccable live vocals sound like they’re taken straight off the record.
The boys definitely charmed their way into the audience’s hearts with their sweet smiles. Having lived in the States for a few years, rapper L.Joe took the lead and conversed freely in English with excited fans. “Guess what our next song is?” he teased. “‘Clap’? Okay, everyone, let’s clap.” Their set ended after an energetic performance of this song, which had first launched the boys into stardom 1-and-a-half years ago.
Fun fact! At the press conference the day before, L.Joe was asked to pick between members Chunji and Ricky. His answer? “I can’t choose – it’s like choosing between mum or dad.”
With roughly 10 years of experience in the music industry, S.H.E member Hebe Tien was a picture of cool and composure as she belted out hits from her 2 solo albums “To Hebe” and “My Love”. Clad in a simple white dress, the Taiwanese songstress serenaded the crowd with her clear angelic voice, proving that sometimes, less is more.
“This is my first time taking part in a music festival like this [as a solo artiste],” she told the crowd. The talented singer was all smiles as she shared more about each song before she began. She stressed the importance of loving oneself – and even dedicated the title track, ‘To Hebe’, to herself.
But it wasn’t until she sang her breakout hit ‘Lonely, Lonely is Fine’ that the fans went wild. Giant balloons that spelled out her name in big gold letters were even spotted amidst the crowd! But her 5-song set ended far too soon, and the rousing chants of “encore” fell on deaf ears as the emcees, Lee Teng and Y.E.S. 93.3FM deejay Peifen, ushered in the next act.
Fun fact! Hebe’s the 1st of the 3 S.H.E members to release a solo album!
The fan fervour reached new heights when Show Luo made his dazzling entrance, all decked out in leather and a pair of stylish sunglasses. The entertainer started out with the energetic ‘Dance Gate’ before launching into ‘Head Over Heels’, the hit song taken from Hi My Sweetheart, a 2009-2010 comedy drama series in which he played the leading man.
Known as the ‘Dancing King of Asia’, Show effortlessly pulled off the moves while performing with his backup dancers, and even leveraged on his hosting skills to make the crowd laugh at his silly jokes. Between singing, dancing, acting, and hosting, there was no denying that the 32-year-old was as multi-talented as they come. He ended his set on high note with ‘Only You’, the 2nd single from his latest studio album Only for You, and even teased the audience by pretending to take off his vest.
Fun fact! Midway through his set, Show praised our local movie industry and revealed that he’d shed buckets while watching Jack Neo’s Money No Enough 2.
2 hours flew by and the night’s 5 acts graced the stage for what was hopefully not the last time. Smiling and blowing kisses to the crowd, it looked like the artistes enjoyed themselves as much as we did. The night finally came to a close after Lee Teng and Peifen left fans with a final promise: “See you next year!”
Fun fact! The night didn’t end there for some of the acts though. We heard there was an after party at The Butter Factory!
Photos courtesy of Samuel Ow (Klix Photography)