Where are the best places to hear live music in Singapore?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

The Esplanade, otherwise known as “The Durian,” is the biggest and most all-encompassing live music venue in Singapore. Apart from free gigs by local and visiting artists every week, this performing arts center organizes more than 14 festivals and 20 ongoing series in a year. Among the offerings, the 10-day Mosaic Music Festival and series is most tuneful. International jazz, funk, hip-hop and world music artists like Wynton Marsalis and Joanna Newsom have dropped in to perform at this jamboree.

Most local artists get their starts and residencies at Timbre. A stint at one of this live music bar and restaurant’s three locations is a rite of passage for up-and-comers who wish to cast their notes in the industry. It’s the guitar-strumming cover bands that usually stay — the Goodfellas’ adaptation of rock, pop and Motown have struck a lasting chord, while Michaela Therese has graduated to self-penned jazz tunes. In April, this nurturing band circuit puts together the Timbre: Rock and Roots festival. Past fests brought in big names like the legendary Bob Dylan, the ethereal Imogen Heap and soulful John Legend.

Timbre’s predecessor, Wala Wala, is now one of the smaller, standalone venues, alongside CMPB in Dempsey and the Hard Rock Café. The set list encompasses mostly covers of pop songs for the first two venues, and rock for the latter.

Jazz fiends should head to the smart-casual Ink Bar at level one of the Fairmont Singapore hotel, where Jeremy Monteiro and his band have been tinkering the keys for several years. The grittier, more laid-back BluJaz at the back of Haji Lane also touts jazz nights. It has a larger, more improvisation-friendly atmosphere with 10-piece band Omniform on the first Monday of every month, a quartet on alternate Fridays and scat-singing Alemay Fernandez every now and then.

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