Live music events
Best live music venues
You know a place is serious about its music when its tiny stage is dominated by a grand piano. Yeah, a legit Yamaha C2 is the backbone upon which this red-slathered bar in Boat Quay is founded – and it has even roped in Bon Goût Music, founded by the fearless jazz pianist Aya Sekine, to run the music programme. There isn’t a house band here, so you’ll have to keep tabs on Club L’Opera’s Facebook page to find out when its twice-monthly gigs (from 7.30 to 10.30pm) are held. Given Sekine’s eclectic style – she used to play at Blu Jaz Cafe alongside DJs, beatboxers and other jazz musicians – the music at Club L’Opera ranges from bebop and swing to free improv and vocal jazz. The gigs are all ticketed ($15-$30), and you’ll also need to order at least one drink.
Switch by Timbre
Mandopop/rock doesn’t get its due credit among the Pitchfork faithful here, but there’s no denying the genre is the most commercially successful Singaporean music. Enter this bar and restaurant by the Timbre group that sets its sights on fledgling musos who can rock their Beyond and Wu Bai. Three resident bands and musicians – The Switch Gang, Tay Kexin and Too Much Drama – rotate every day of the week, sans Sunday, with tunes ranging from Jay Chou tearjerkers to harder numbers. Tuesdays are gentler acoustic nights, so if you’re in the mood for love, head over to Switch then.
Barber Shop by Timbre
The baby of the Timbre family swung open in 2014 with one mission in mind: to put live music front and centre. True to the group’s calling card, it’s mostly blues, classic rock, funk and other barn-storming genres that ring out at this den in The Arts House. Wednesdays see house band Raw Earth stamp the stage with their blood-and-guts blues, Thursday’s an open mic session (from 8 to 11.30pm), Friday is reserved for the Barber Shop Quartet’s swing and roots rock, and Saturday is a double-bill: a special artist showcase from 7pm, followed by a classic rock jam by Good Question.
Follow the beat of the drum to a hidden nook along Armenian street. Timbre@The Substation is one of Singapore's live music stalwarts that have stood the test of time. There's live music by local bands every Monday to Saturday where you can send your requests in via SMS – just be kind and make sure you only stick to one Justin Bieber song per session.
As though being a café and art gallery rolled into one isn’t enough, Artistry also plays host to a weekly roster of genre-blending gigs by both local and international acts, including its house jazz band, Bluemonks, who take the (really, really) small stage area every last Tuesday of the month. Free jazz, acoustic, electronic music, hip hop… this long and narrow space doesn’t discriminate – we’ve even dutty wine-d to a Jamaican sound system here. The best part: most of the gigs here are free.