These house bands may be cover acts, but they are burning up stages and getting crowds whooping along.

As more people dig live music, more clubs and pubs are welcoming bands under their wings. These acts in turn, try to deliver a jolly good time and get audiences grooving to their music. Here, in no particular order, are outstanding bands that have just gained club or bar residencies and those that are still rocking our socks off after all these years.


Seven-piece act Addiction is made up of bassist Red, keyboardist Rommel, drummer Tox, guitarist Andy, vocalist Ryan and frontliners Ron and Dia. This act made DXO (#01-13F Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Ave., 6582-4896) its home last August. If you are into more commercial R&B, alternative, retro and a bit of jazz, Addiction is it for you.

Addiction is a youthful act that caters to a younger crowd. Dia quips, “The band’s members’ ages range from early to late ’20s. The street chic fashion sense that they possess contributes to the youthful and vibrant image of the band.” She adds: “We draw the teen crowd, and also the young-at-heart.”

So what has the response been like for Addiction’s sets at DXO? Dia says, “So far so good. The people are now beginning to like us and starting to dance to our music, unlike the first few days at DXO, when the crowd were just watching and giving us warm applause at the end of each song.”

Noize Gate

If you are up for a riotous show, then catch Noize Gate in action and down some beer. This act just checked into Vintage (#03-17/18 Cuppage Plaza, 5 Koek Rd., 9760-0885) about a month ago, and is made up of bassist Amree, guitarist Norman and drummer Hairul. Noize Gate changes its vocalist every once in a while, and its current singer is Acep.

The band members insist they are entertainers rather than just musicians. Norman says, “I would say we’re a ‘sight-and-sound’ band. We don’t just play music. We do all sorts of funny tricks on stage. We entertain. We like to crack jokes!”

Catch Noize Gate if you are up for grunge, rock and metal. But be prepared for a boisterous show. The band often invites someone from the audience to come up on stage to sing or play an instrument with them; expect crude jokes in between covers of Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Iron Maiden.


Energy is a familiar name in the local live band circle. Formed in 1987, the act has undergone lineup changes, and was the house band for Bar None, Hard Rock Café, 1NiteStand Bar and Comedy Club, the now defunct Sparks and more. Energy is now ending their stint at Club Momo and heading back to Bar None
(B1, Singapore Marriott Hotel, 320 Orchard Rd., 6831-4657) from October 3.

Energy plays primarily contemporary rock, and is made up of keyboardist Gavin, guitarist Mus, bassist Is, drummer Johan and lead vocalist Zoul. When asked about why they have been asked to go back to Bar None, Gavin explains, “The owner of Bar None, Jason Choo, wants to get the rock feel back in the place. Now they have Jive Talkin’, which is a good R&B and pop band. But he wants to change the music in the bar.”

Look forward to Energy dishing out lesser-heard songs. Gavin quips, “We try to educate the crowd. People often request the same songs from a particular artiste. For example, when you talk about Eric Clapton, everyone wants ‘Wonderful Tonight.’ But he has a few thousand songs. Instead of playing only the popular songs, we try to play other good songs by the same artiste.”

Douglas O and Satellite

Most of you know by now that five-piece band Satellite which is fronted by former frontman of Energy Douglas O, has gained residence in Le Baroque (B1-07 CHIJMES, 30 Victoria St., 6339-6696) two months ago (if you don’t, you’re slow). Members include Sultan on keyboards, Misran on drums, Fred on bass and Azmi on guitars.

Satellite plays mostly contemporary rock covers, and is working towards a no frill kind of sound to set themselves apart from other acts. Douglas O claims, “We’re trying to go back to the basics. We’re not a band with lots of strings and brass, or complicated arrangements—our sound is more minimal. It’s simple and easy.”

When talking about the chemistry between Satellite and the crowd, he adds, “We try to get everyone involved. We’ll chit chat with the crowd on stage and people will respond. Musicians have to play and move at the same time. I’ve seen bands where only the frontman is moving, and the other members are like statues!”

Drop by Le Baroque for a good dose of rock ‘n’ roll. With 36 years of experience under his belt, rest assured Douglas O has still got what it takes to woo the crowd.

John Molina and Krueger

John Molina and his band Krueger have been whipping the crowd into frenzy at Rouge (Peranakan Place Complex, 180 Orchard Rd., 6732-6966) for some time now. The act is loved for its covers of modern rock and alternative numbers and has garnered a loyal following.

A house band they might be, but the act does not pander to every whim of the crowd. Molina says, “We may be a cover band, but we certainly have a style we work by. We’re not your typical pop or Top 40s band. We refuse to play boy band shit!”

If you just wanna let loose to familiar numbers instead of decking yourself up and gyrating at the dance floor, John Molina and Krueger will satisfy. “The crowd we draw is mostly laidback people like us. Real people with no sticks up their arses like most clubbers have,” asserts Molina. OK, so this act may not be new, but they are always a safe bet to catch if you want a hot and electrifying show.

The Blues Machine

Rocking Crazy Elephant (#01-03/04 Clarke Quay, 3E River Valley Rd., 6337-7859) for about ten years now is The Blues Machine. This band is made up of guitarist John, drummer Ray and bassist Kamal, and often rotates its lead vocalist. If you dig rock and blues and croon to tunes such as “16 Tons” and “Whipping Post,” drop by and get wild.

Anticipate infectious guitar riffs or innovative drum work created on the spur of the moment when you catch The Blues Machine. John says, “We like to play music spontaneously. We’ve actually not heard a lot of the songs that our singer calls out for. We just play them spontaneously and with our own interpretations. These songs will evolve and that is the sound of The Blues Machine!”

The UnXpected

The UnXpected debuted four years ago, with the feisty Shirlyn Tan as the frontliner of the band. Catch this house band at Wala Wala Café Bar (31 Lorong Mambong, 6462-4288) on Thursdays and Saturdays and Muddy Murphy’s Irish Pub (#B1-01/01-06 Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade, 442 Orchard Rd., 6735-0400) on Fridays and some Sundays.

Rock numbers are the forte of The UnXpected, and its sound has already won the affection of many. Tan claims, “The crowd has definitely grown in size since we started. We’re a lot louder now compared to our easy listening beginning.” She adds, “You can expect to see people really letting go when we play the rock numbers. The energy is infectious.” If you love songs such as “Paint It Black,” “The Immigrant Song” and “Under Pressure,” don’t miss out on this band.

So there you have it—electrifying bands that are adding more than just some sizzle into the local live act scene. Although they play covers, they often improvise songs and try to cultivate a sound they can call their own. Hit these clubs and pubs for a good time, and judge how they fare yourself.


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