Sunday, December 07, 2008

Gushing about the local band scene

Last Saturday, my band, Distantshores, had the privilege of performing with some of the upcoming talents in the Philippine underground scene. The experience was one of the few good events I’ve gone to for quite a while now, so I felt compelled to write about it. The event was spearheaded by friends of ours, Rj Chaves and Aries, the guys who started the After Shift Jam series; gigs usually done during the early morning hours to cater to call center agents. Saturday’s gig was one of the rare occasions that the event was done at night, it was even featured as live webstreaming from 6Underground’s website.
Anyhoo, we confirmed last on the bandlist, so we were slated to perform as the 7th(last) band. Nevertheless, my bandmates and I intentionally went in early so that we could watch the performances by the other bands (kasi we heard apparently yung mga kasama namin that night were really good). I think we made the right decision. The bands who performed not only lived up to the hype, pero they actually took it to the next level. So here I am, tryin’ to help these musicians out, cause if they deserve anything for their music, it’s being heard and appreciated.

Here they are;

The Ram Chaves band (formerly known as Sutil) – You might have seen Ram (known as RJ pa rin to most) in the TV show Pinoy Idol. He finished third. If you ask me, Ram’s beyond anything inane such as being known as “third”. Some people might say “di sya nanalo kasi ginagaya nya si bamboo”– that’s just ignorant banter. You wouldn’t say that if you’ve seen him perform live. This guy, si Ram, along with his bandmates, Wilbert, Bong and their new bassist (sorry didn’t get the name-pero he placed 1st in The Rj Nationwide search for Music Hero, si Dob, our bassist was on the top ten) – perform their hearts out when they play. They’re really good to watch, the type of show that just makes you want to sing along, if only you knew the lyrics. Anyhoo, all those people who didn’t vote for Rj, you’ve just been upyoursed. Kasi they have an album coming out in January under VIVA records. Fortunately, things always have a way of working out. ☺

Menaya – I’ve heard about this band while to talking to a former bandmate of mine. One time, nagkita kami, he said, “uy, vote mo naman sa NU countdown ung band ng best friend ko, he plays guitar for MENAYA”. Syempre, ako naman, haven’t even heard of the band so I just gave a noncommittal answer. Watching them play sa 6Underground totally changed my outlook. The few songs they performed were enough to convert me to a full-fledged fan. Menaya’s music is not the usual Filipino-yi sound you hear on the radio. It actually sounds like they’re foreigners. I’m not trying to sound like I’m belittling anything sounding Filipino-yi, I’m just trying to give a distinction (I hope I don’t offend anyone with this thought). As I was saying, I was really surprised kasi ang ganda-ganda ng tunog nila. Just my type. It’s easy-listening-rock-na-hindi-maingay-kahit-nakadistort-ang-gitars. Astig. You can put their CD in the car stereo and go on a joy ride habang inuulit-ulit ito sa playlist. If you wanna know what I mean, just check them out sa record stores, their second CD’s already out.

Ursa Minor – Besides the fact that the band’s astig kasi they have a female drummer (I personally think that girls who can rock as well as or even better than some guys are innately cool) they’ve got a really great sound. Try to catch them at their gigs; I think they’re pretty active in the underground scene, so those of you who are part of music mailing lists sa yahoo groups would usually see them on gig scheds. I don’t know if they have an album out yet, pero I’m sure to buy one if they do.

** at this point, I’m gonna plug in for my fellow musikeros na rin kasi they too deserve kudos, kahit na sa simpleng post lang.

Ambermoon (Effect) – They currently reside and gig in Baguio, although they’ve already performed here in Manila. I really respect these guys not only because I personally know them pero kahit na I haven’t had the opportunity to watch them play live, I’ve listened to their demo songs sa soundclick and they sound really good. Dati kong kabanda si Rubena, vox nila. She’s one of the best female singers in the Philippines. If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can always watch them perform and you’ll know it for fact. Bukod dun, her band’s got a heck of a repertoire for musicians, si Jethro, si Sev, si Oliver and their lead guitars (sorry po, I haven’t met him pa) – they’re all really, really adept, judging from their songs. So please try to catch them play, if you can.

The Lowtechs – Another band I’m really proud to be acquainted with. Gelo, the vox, was my blockmate nung college sa Fine Arts. They’ve made quite a name for themselves sa underground scene. So bukod me being happy about my blockmate, I’m proud that these guys, Baguio guys all, are on their way to success dito sa Manila (and it’s really hard to make a distinction at all dito, as I should know).

TabassTabass’s music in three words – FUN FUN FUN. Met them sa After Shift Jam. You haven’t had a really good bar experience unless you’ve seen AJ, Suzi and Bennet perform onstage (it gets even better if they’re inebriated). Their music, with some quips and anecdotes thrown in for laughs, really make watching them a novel experience. Astig kasi pag nakikipagsabayan ka sa kanila lalo na sa mga kanta nila like “Gusto Ko Matutong Mag-Rap” or “Granma” or their cover of Wham’s Careless Whisper. Their single – “Balat Kayo” is currently number four on the Pinoy Rock Countdown on 105.9 after only a week of airplay. I’m urging anyone who reads this to lend a hand and cast a vote.

Kastigo – This time, don't know them personally pero I’m still gonna write about them. Got acquainted with their music through Sir Eric (my account’s Creative Director) a fellow local music enthusiast. I think the guitar guy is some kind of a guitar henyo. Apparently he doesn’t use a pick when playing the guitar. Magaling sya, magaling sila. Their song Kapag Kapiling Ka (KKK) is on my Ipod’s jogging playlist. I’ve once had this song on repeat for a whole day at work – it’s that catchy. They’ve got an album out so try to ask about them on your local music stores.

Traumaligno – Boom, the vox, I do know from college (seems a lot of people I know from college are currently in the band scene). His band’s also released an Indie album, called “Baon". Astig rin ang tunog nila. The guitars sound great and of course, astig ang bosses ni Boom (heard he got the best vox award sa After Shift Jam awards last year).

Basilica – Been hoping to see them perform live for quite some time now. Di ko matyempuhan. Magaling kasi sila e. Watching them’s gonna be on top of my current to-do list. They’re that good.

EvenThis band, di ko pa naririnig. Di ko rin kilala. I just read from a post though that
they won the latest Red Horse Muziklaban competition. And they’re from Baguio. Kudos to them.

I know that most of you might think the only reason I’m promoting these bands is because of the fact that I know most of them. The thing is, I am taking the time to write about them because as a musician, I’ve listened to and appreciated their music. More than that, I know that their gifts of melody have been given to them for a reason; it might be for something as shallow as trying to have a good time or something as serious as you finding something you can relate to and that something might even inevitably alter your life’s path. Of course, that just might be the romantic in me speaking, but who knows? Anything is possible. For those reasons, I know I’m gonna sound cliché by finishing this post by urging everyone not to buy pirated CDs’ but for these bands and all other struggling musicians out there, one Original CD bought means quite a lot, so I am gonna endure becoming part of the generic crowd at least this once. Here goes, PLEASE, DON’T BUY PIRATED CDs, TANGKILIKIN ANG SARILING ATIN.


Mall said...

Hey sharkie jack! yung even band, nanalo sila sa redhorse. yung vocalist ng even, pinsan ko yun si Dyanne, which i introduced you to her in UP Baguio FA noon. :D

Shackie D. Shark said...

halooo mall. oonga, saka ko lang na realize na si dianne pala yun is when i checked their myspace page tas nakita kong magka-apelyido kayo. ayun. congrats to her. mall asan ka ngayon? pag andito ka manila. itext mo ko para we can meet up :)

menaya said...

hey there! thanks for the blog about menaya! you rock! thanks for the support!

kitehigh said...

ngayon ko lang nabasa 'to. thanks for the blog shackie!

- AJ

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