Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ever Wondered What Happened At The Bicolandia Skannection?

Last August 29, Manila contingencies Shuffle Union and Steady Movin' Beat skanked with the rest of the Bicol ska community in a gig titled Bicolandia Skannection. I was not there, apparently, but have scored an account from SU vocalist Jan Bautista, who happily obliged (I hope so, for I am never known to be coercive, hahaha!) and provided me with this post and matching photos. Thank you Jan.

Tales From the Tagalog South
by Jan Bautista

Legazpi City in Albay is not known for its ska scene, not yet anyway.

However, the collective efforts of the organizers who oversaw the Bicolandia Skannection gig last August 29, along with the bands and attendees who participated that night certainly made one thing clear that night- that their scene is a force to reckon with. Although we already knew that there was a collective of bands and folks from the Tagalog south who were into the music, we didn’t realize it was that huge and vibrant--with skinheads, rudeboys, and rudegirls coming from as far north as Daet and Naga as well as from neighboring provinces like CamSur, Daraga, Guinobatan, and many others. I am not even talking about those who came from Legazpi City itself.

Although there was a huge commercial gig held in the city square that same night, over 200 good souls easily packed the venue, Bar 101, which occupied the top floor of the historic Bichara Silver Screen. By, the way, there was free wifi in the venue so were able to broadcast the event via our trusty webcam.

(Above photo: Payirl of Stolen Shots)

First to perform was the punk-oriented Punk O’ Die and Damaged Sidewalk, followed by the reggae vibe of Muchas Grasas. Afterwards, it was an all-ska show with Skamalig and Stolen Shots showing their Manila counterparts how things are done down south. The latter band even had a Prince Buster sound-alike for a vocalist. At this time, this writer gleefully joined the ruckus in front of the stage—their energy is just infectious!

Up next were SMB and Shuffle Union who delivered song after song after song. Playing tracks from the Invincible Live! Album, we were all too happy to realize they did like the songs. Toward the end of the set, the entire horns section of Stolen Shots joined us for a few songs and by that time, random people were going up the stage and grabbing our microphones, singing joyously along and just having a good time (I think Eftri of Mudflow was slinging an open umbrella round about this time :D).

(Above photo: Kaloy de Menudo and Dennis of SMB)

Rather than a special gig for visiting Manila-based bands Shuffle Union and SteadyMovinbeat (Life Without Francis and Exsenadors weren’t able to attend due to some unavoidable circumstances, we were told), it was more of a showcase of what their scene was all about. Aside from enjoying the performances of the Bicol-based bands that night, what we also enjoyed was the scene itself—they were all sharply dressed, behaved well, and seemed to enjoy the whole thing up to the wee hours of the morning.

To all those we have met, the Legazpi organizers-Ben, Les, and crew-and all those who showed up and supported their scene-our hats are off to you! We will definitely be back!

More photos here courtesy of Jan.

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