#ThrowbackThursday: What I learned from watching Michael Learns To Rock live

#ThrowbackThursday: What I learned from watching Michael Learns To Rock live

Guilty pleasures 101

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Warner Music

After watching them live, we learned that it takes a very secure person to openly indulge in listening to the Danish band

1. You don't have to try too hard.

"What's that?" asked a security guard to the woman ahead of me in the queue, clutching a plastic bag. "Oh, it's a Tupperware lah," she shrugs. That should give you an indication of the crowd that was in attendance of this sold out show. Not everyone was a proud Tupperware spokeswoman, though — among them were 40-year old couples, office ladies and their corporate besties as well as late 20 to early 30-something women with their reluctant boyfriends in tow. Not so reluctant, I observed — a couple of them were mouthing the lyrics during the show, although they wouldn't admit to it even with a gun to the head. 

No Doc Marts or psychedelic-printed kimonos were in sight, nor were there crop tops or cut-offs — even if they were, this Spotify generation was just tagging along with their fangirling mothers.

2. Find other ways to appeal to your local audience, without just proclaiming your love to the country.

If you're a gig regular, you'll know the drill by now: the act comes on stage, sings a few songs before proclaiming how much they love Singapore. Little anecdotes of the weather ensue, as well as an attempt to say a greeting in Mandarin or Malay (why hasn't anyone attempted Tamil?). The crowd then laughs and nods in agreement. How adorable — but so very predictable. 

MLTR, however, takes it up a notch. Not only did they sing an English version of a Mandarin song, the accompanying visuals spelled out "love" in our official languages — and yes, there was one in Tamil. Lead singer Jascha Richter  even changed into a shirt with a mandarin collar halfway through the show. A recent buy from Chinatown, perhaps? A for effort.

3. Never underestimate the wide appeal of karaoke.

You know it — karaoke is (almost) every Asian's kryptonite. A karaoke session isn't complete without one of MLTR's hit songs, and the band sure knows this. From the first song Silent Times to the more popular hits Sleeping Child and The Actor, the audience was treated to trippy, Microsoft PowerPoint-engineered visuals, silent film takes and visuals of blooming flowers and dolphins — your typical karaoke look.

However, it wasn't until 25 Minutes that the actual lyrics came onto the screen — albeit 25 seconds later (yes, we went there) than Richter's vocals.

4. Always have a selfie stick on hand.

Everyone squealed when Richter suggested taking a selfie with the 5,000-strong crowd. Unfortunately, he didn't have a selfie stick on hand, and beckoned a stage assistant to snap a picture with a camera instead — such blasphemy to selfies. 

5. The formula of a timeless love song is pretty simple.

There's a reason why some of us still know their lyrics by heart: they're simple, and they truly speak from the heart. Richter shared this secret to their success at the press conference prior to the show. They don't write about getting wasted with Dom Perignons or lusting after women in thongs (not that Sisqo's Thong Song isn't addictive). Instead, they inspire many a jaded souls with heartfelt sound bites such as "you give me wings to fly" in Forever And A Day — and when coupled with a delicate acoustic take, they truly soared.

Michael Learns To Rock played live in Singapore on 24 July at The Star Theatre, thanks to Warner Music Singapore.