Category Archives: Music

Jars of Clay and Gungor Manila 2014

The eve of my birthday was full of fun, great music and positive vibes. Shabby and I were back in Bonifacio High Street for Jars of Clay, who the people of Church Simplified brought back for this year’s Walkway. Gungor is with them this year.

The concert started off with the talented Church Simplied band, whetting the crowd’s musical appetites with upbeat and positive tunes.

Gungor was a revelation. I’ve been living under a rock so I haven’t really heard their music, but I was blown away by their performance. Michael Gungor, lead vocalist and for whom the band was named, said that they don’t believe in genres, and it shows. In their hour-long performance I’ve heard them do rock, country, blues, jazz and even some sort of dubstep mix.

Shabby and I were trying to figure out who he sounded like. I thought Chris Martin of Coldplay, but in most songs he sounded like Dave Matthews.

I enjoyed all their songs, and according to Michael it was a different sort because Lisa, his wife and music partner was back home (pregnant and ready to give birth soon. Wishing you the best!).

Favorite songs: I Am Mountain, Let It Go

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Follow you down, but not that far

I never really considered myself as an uber fan of the Gin Blossoms. But their songs have been part of my formative years, and I’ve always had a crush on Robin Wilson’s voice.

Still, I was disappointed that I was missing out on their concert. Personal budget cuts do not allow for such expenses these days, as opposed to the time when I could buy two Jason Mraz tickets without blinking (much).

So when I heard that the band was going to be in Eastwood Mall for a live performance, I didn’t hesitate to grab the opportunity to see them. I already knew I wasn’t going to buy the CD for the autograph signing (budget cuts, remember?), but hearing them live would be pretty awesome.

The crowd was big enough to know that there were still plenty of people who appreciated the band and their music. Mostly were yuppies, still in their work attire. Others were young families, parents who were taking their kids to listen to a band they grew up listening to. It wasn’t the screaming kind of crowd, which was a nice break.

I was able to secure a spot on the left-hand side of the stage (right, if you’re standing on the stage). There were two guys in front of me, but since the crowd wasn’t the manic kind, I had no trouble seeing the band or taking photos. The event was advertised for 6:30 PM, but the band came onstage a little past 8 PM.

Gin Blossoms in Manila

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Weekend blast: ToyCon and Fete de la Musique

Two things I did last weekend, in between classes and work and spending time with my family for Father’s Day: go to ToyCon and Fete de la Musique.

ToyCon Madness
This yearly event (held more than once a year, if you count the summer and Christmas events) is a standing date between me and a few friends. It started off with me and Drew during our Sykes days, then eventually expanded to our online friends who became real life friends. My usual group is Drew, Yue and her sister, and Ryan (Mr. No Pictures Please) but for this event, Ry was absent.

Day 1 of ToyCon is usually the best time to attend, if you’re aiming for buying merchandise. You avoid the crowds who are there for the cosplay and fan events, and there’s a high chance that you get some great discounts from the vendors, particularly if you buy in bulk AND if you ask nicely.

I arrived with the mindset that I will get some Doctor Who stuff, and I was successful. I was also able to chat a bit with some Whovians, which is a first because most of the time I only get to discuss the show over on Plurk or when I’m with Joiz. It was nice to know that while it’s a much smaller community than say, GoT, it’s still pretty solid.

I got two shirts and a Yotsuba key charm. I also picked up my new Danboard, one which was ordered and paid for a while back. Drew also bought a Pepsi Danboard. I wanted to get a Threadless t-shirt, but my budget was already blown. No other Doctor Who toys, either, as the Sonic Screwdriver was sold out and also beyond my budget.

Fete de la Musique
Shabby invited us to this event, as she was one of the people who worked on this. I arrived late because I spent time with my family (I cannot resist not seeing my niece!), so I missed talking to the guys of Naïve New Beaters. I got to finish their set though, and it was fun.

We headed out to Café Curieux for the reggae bands. Surprised to find that it was more of a blues band playing, so we waited to see if maybe the band after would be the reggae ones, but no dice. Still, I enjoyed the band, and it seems like the crowd did too.

After about an hour or so, hunger pangs set in so we went back to the main stage. We walked through the back streets and traversed the red light district, which had us encountering a lot of colorful and kooky characters.

Shabby and I checked out Live where the reggae set actually was and caught Tropical Depression just starting. Saw some familiar faces in the crowd, but after a few minutes of wooziness and hunger, I really had to go.

By the time we got back to the main stage, Up Dharma Down was already performing. Brigada followed, then Barbie Almalbis (Kitchie Nadal sang with her in one song).

I thought the trip home was going to be an ordeal but thankfully, I got a cab driver who was willing to go from Makati to Marikina.

Pictures to follow.

Always grateful for the music: Jason Mraz in Manila 2013

When Jason Mraz was last in the Philippines, he made a promise to come back the following year. It seems he was delayed, because his visit came almost a year and a half later. Not complaining here, because it was so worth the wait.

The 2011 concert was meant to be an intimate gathering, at least, from what Jason said when he expressed his surprise in seeing how big and how packed the Smart Araneta Coliseum was. It was just him onstage, with his good friend and musical partner, Toca Rivera.

This year, Jason came with a full band. Nine musicians, in fact. Nine, very talented musicians who made Jason’s songs a lot more special and powerful. It was a sharp contrast to the laid back vibe of the previous concert, but we loved every minute of it.

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Jars of Clay: Live at Walkway 2013, Manila, PH

After eight years, a day of walking around in the summer heat and a brief Twitter exchange, this happened.

Milestone!

I can believe it, but I still am in awe of how. On the day of the concert, Shabby and I were taking our sweet time to get to BHS. We played games at Landmark, went clothes shopping and even had merienda to fortify ourselves for what we expected to be a long night ahead. We had seen the band doing their soundcheck earlier, and that made me even more giddy with excitement. During our meal, we saw a few Church Simplified volunteers and Bonifacio High Street security running towards somewhere in the vicinity. Maybe it was the band? I went back to eating my pandesal. Continue reading

L’Arc~en~Ciel Tribute Album?

Today’s random browsing brought me to a site that had a list of Japanese music releases. I was looking through their selections, trying to find something new to listen to (I’m currently listening to my really old Japanese songs playlist) when I stumbled upon a few L’Arc~en~Ciel tribute albums.

I shouldn’t be surprised right? It isn’t unusual for other artists to pick a song of older bands and cover them and put them together as a tribute album. The Led Zeppelin tribute Encomium is one of my favorites. Even Filipino artists did some for the APO Hiking Society and the Eraserheads.

I must not be that of a fan if this missed my radar. My apologies.

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Party like it’s 1989: NKOTBSB Live in Manila

Last night was a trip back in time. My companions were the people I count as my best friends, and ones I know wouldn’t laugh at me screaming my head off for men who pranced about on stage and sang songs that were famous more than a decade ago.

For a few hours, we were all screaming fangirls soaking in the amazing performance of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. Fangirls of today ain’t got nothing on us.

I don’t feel like rambling on about this for now, but it’s definitely one of most memorable concerts I’ve been to this year (and considering I’ve seen a bit already). Here’s something I wrote last night on Tumblr. I’ll probably expand on that later on.

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Shout It Out: Hanson in Manila

I apologize in advance if this would be an incoherent post. I spent the whole morning trying to find a witty opening line for this post, and I can’t. I still have a “Hanson hangover” from last night’s concert. “Witty” and “creative” opening paragraphs are far from me right now.

Big confession here. Obviously, I am a Hanson fan. Not so huge that I am not a member of their fan club, I skipped their concert back in 2004 in favor of Jars of Clay and didn’t go to the signing activity last Thursday — but a fan enough to not miss this opportunity. My friend and former co-worker Day convinced me to get the most expensive seats in the concert, and while I was still rolling in dough, I did.

My love for the music of Hanson started in 1997. Mmmbop was always playing on the radio, and it was impossible miss this young band that was different from the other boy bands around. They were younger (Isaac is the oldest and he is the same age as Nick Carter and Justin Timberlake), they played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. Not to mention that their songs were pretty mature for their age.

Like the boy bands, they sing about romantic love and heartbreak, but they also sing about life and death. Their song With You In Your Dreams is a tribute to their late grandmother, while Yearbook had a more dramatic theme of a schoolmate who suddenly gone missing. My favorite songs were Minute Without You and Madeline, but I can (still) sing along to every song in that album.

For me, the best thing about Hanson is that they are not just flash and bang. It is not all about the show (but they do deliver a heck of a good one). They lasted twenty years in the business, which is a major feat, and show no signs of stopping. The fact that they are brothers can be a contributing factor, but then again, we’ve seen bands with a similar set-up come and go *coughthemoffatscough* With the Hanson brothers, music really comes first. It’s who they are, it’s what they love.

Back in Manila
Nearly eight years after their first visit to the Philippines, Hanson is back. When you think about it, it’s a big deal for them to travel all the way from the U.S. and be the only concert they perform in the general area of Asia and the Pacific. I mean, the next gig I see is in Australia for September. So yeah, thanks guys.

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toe: The Fix Six Seven tour Manila leg

I never thought I’d see the day when toe would grace the Philippines with their presence. My brother has been a long time fan and was the one who introduced their music to the rest of the siblings (even though I’m usually the one who listens to Japanese artists). He and his musician friends had planned on bringing toe here a few years back but their discussions with the management didn’t fall through. Thankfully, someone else was able to make it all happen, so we don’t have to go to Japan to see them (not that we can afford to right now haha).

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I’ve seen plenty of toe’s live performances online, but I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of their performance. From the start, they captivated the audience with their synchrony. Everything was well executed. You can clearly see how in-tune the guys are with each other, and you know that the moment one stops playing and is replaced by someone else, it would all sound very different.

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Why I went to Hong Kong: L’Arc~en~Ciel 20th Anniversary World Tour

A week after and I still think of the L’Arc~en~Ciel concert as some sort of a dream. It was a trip that was made of so many firsts: first time to go out of the country on my own, first time to organize a trip by myself, first time to travel abroad for the sole reason of watching a favorite band perform. To think that I don’t even understand what they’re singing about.

Warning: Long, rambling post ahead.
I thought I was going alone to the concert, but my online friend Ren said she wanted to go too. We thought it was funny that we’ve been online contacts for a while now, but our first meeting would be in Hong Kong. We agreed to book one room in order to save money, and we were happy with the hostel that we got.

We didn’t really plan anything for the trip. I guess we both had the mindset of “concert first, bahala na whatever after.” In fact, we spent the afternoon before the concert just going around Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui. Around 3 PM we headed towards the Asia World Expo Arena. It was actually quite a distance away from where we were, but because Hong Kong’s trains are very efficient, it wasn’t a difficult trip.

In the train, we saw a few other concert goers. There was a pair of Japanese girls who said that they followed the band from their previous location, and will continue to Taiwan and the other places. They also had various memorabilia on them. Talk about hardcore. Ren talked to them and I just smiled at them because I couldn’t really understand what they were saying (I still need a bit more levelling up on my Japanese skills).

When we arrived at the arena, I was surprised that there wasn’t much people yet. I mean, I had expected that there were more people loitering about. My first goal was to find the merchandise table, but I didn’t find what I wanted and the CDs were sold out. I ended up not buying anything, which is fine.
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