Live Review from The Underground’s 17th Year Anniversary Party
1. Mr Bug
4. The Iris Song/ Original Song
When Bebe’s Wish took the stage, the first thing that struck me was how many keyboards the group had in their arsenal – three to be exact, including a keytar strapped to the body of keyboardist Lito as well as one set up in front of frontwoman and lead vocalist, Bebe. Usually a trio, the outfit were joined by the mysterious Iris for the Underground’s 17th Anniversary bash. Iris is something of a Russell Brand meets Slash persona, with his long hair and low-slung Firebird guitar giving fair indication that he would be delivering some classic rock oomph to the night’s proceedings.
And deliver he did. Mr Bug started off their set on a high note, introducing the room to Bebe & co’s brand of feel good rock music. High energy and charged with some Guns n’ Roses flair, you would’ve thought Iris a permanent fixture in the band with how well their group dynamics worked.
Bebe’s stage presence was magnetic and warm, strong pop vocals suiting the funkier palate of slower tempo track Highway. As the song blended into Alien, weaving between soft and more classical rock sensibilities, each band member’s unique talents were made clear. Lito’s keyboard solos were a standout favourite of mine, his deft fingers moving quicker than you’d think possible as he switched fluidly between his keyboard and keytar respectively. Really, the guy could probably make music of any genre look like a breeze and a joy to play through, and that joy was palpable from the audience’s perspective too.
Naturally, Iris truly shone in his very own Original Song. Something for all the 80s rock lovers in the house, Iris took over the lead vocals from Bebe for this song and hit the ground running with crunchy guitars, catchy audience singalongs, and a long melodic outto which the whole band could jam to and have fun with. This song, “unfinished” as it may be according to Iris himself, was so much fun to watch and listen to especially because of the sheer unity shown between the band members. Iris’s song was as playful as it was an impressive performance from all.
Finally, haunting goth rock tune Solitude made for an unexpected – though very much welcome – gear shift to end the set. Oozing with theatrical gloom, the song combines the 90s fuzz of The Cranberries, operatic rock circa Nightwish and Evanescence, and the camp glory of those 80s power ballads (think “Alone” by Heart). Bebe’s voice was stunning alongside the harmonies provided by her bandmates, making for a satisfyingly atmospheric finale to their set which left me excited to Google the song later.
Though three people at its core, Bebe’s Wish welcomed Iris with the synchronicity of a band who have been playing together many years. Their talent gets you in the room, but it is their energy and passion which keeps you interested. What better way to celebrate Underground, right?
– Jasmine GW