Swedish black metal band Watain angry & fans disappointed S’pore cancelled show

What a let down.

Andrew Koay |Sulaiman Daud | March 7, 09:58 pm


“Only I found out two hours before.”

Those were the words — laced with disappointment — of a Watain fan who found himself waiting outside the concert venue at 6:30pm on a Thursday evening, unsure of what to do next.

Watain, a Swedish black metal band, had been scheduled to play a show at the EBX Live Space — a small live music venue with a capacity of around 200 people, located in the industrial Tai Seng area.

However, the authorities announced that the show had been cancelled, mere hours before it was supposed to begin.

Fans still turned up

Despite the last-minute cancellation of Watain’s show in Singapore, droves of loyal fans still turned up at the venue.

Some were there hoping to catch a glimpse of the band, while others consoled themselves by buying Watain merchandise. Many were using the place to meet friends.

A paying fan told Mothership that he’d been looking forward to the show ever since it had been announced, forking out S$70 for early bird tickets.

Another fan had made the journey down to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, taking a few days off.

Photo by Sulaiman Daud.

Organisers’ expense

Speaking to Mothership, Khaal from Ravage records, the organisers of Watain’s show in Singapore, expressed sadness at the last-minute cancellation.

“Actually [the show] is more for the fans, they come from different walks of life. It’s for the hardcore fans,” he said.

Recounting the series of events that led up to the cancellation, Khaal said that he’d initially received a call at 12pm, informing him that there was a chance that the concert would be cancelled.

About an hour later, news started to filter through that Watain would not be allowed to play their show in Singapore.

According to Khaal, putting the show together had cost Ravage Records between S$15,000 and S$20,000. They are still holding talks with the Info-Communications Media Development Authority over who will foot the bill.

Photo by Sulaiman Daud.

Band mixed with the fans

At around 7:25pm, two members of Watain appeared outside the venue, taking photos and talking with fans.

When asked how long the band was going to stick around for, vocalist and bass guitarist Erik Danielsson replied, “as long as it takes to meet everyone”.

Photo by Sulaiman Daud.

A proper meet-and-greet with the band was then organised inside the venue, and fans duly queued up.

Organisers started handing out Watain posters to those waiting outside the venue. When asked if they needed to pay for the posters, an organiser replied with a smile, “just take it”.

It was a defiant yet kindhearted action that’s common among the small and tight-knit community of Singapore’s black metal fans.

Inside, the band did their best to cheer up downtrodden fans, posing for photographs and autographing posters.

When asked by one fan if he was angry, Danielsson simply replied: “Always”.

A fan apologised for the way things turned out, to which he said: “Don’t be sorry. Never be sorry.”

A day earlier, a petition raised on the Change.org website called for Watain, along with another Swedish metal band Soilwork, to be banned from performing in Singapore.

As of Thursday night, the petition had gathered about 17,000 signatures.

Soilwork will perform in Singapore on Oct. 29.

Danielsson said the band were aware of the petition since entering Singapore.

“(We) treated it the same way we usually treat opposition… with scorn and humiliation,” he said, in email responses to media queries by Yahoo Singapore.

Some commenters on the petition denounced the band’s “Satanic and suicide themes”.

The concern expressed was that a concert by the band in Singapore would “corrupt” young minds here.

The comments were “horribly wrong” in many ways, Danielsson said in response: “(Do) we feel that they are accurate in their accusations? Yes, some of them are. But how to approach such things, we believe, is for each and every grown man and woman to decide for themselves.”

Related story:

Swedish black metal band Watain S’pore concert cancelled by IMDA on the day itself

Minister Shanmugam: Watain’s black metal concert against public order interests

Petition calling for ban on 2 metal bands coming to S’pore gets over 15,000 signatures

Top photo courtesy of a Mothership reader

About Andrew Koay

Andrew listens to Fall Out Boy's timeless hit song Sugar, We're Goin Down every single day of his life.

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