Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Gigs, Plus, What Are Your TOP 5 Albums Of The Year?

The holidays are upon us. Time flies, really. Suddenly I find myself attending one holiday party after another. It is great to see friends, though it can get tiring.

I was recently asked for a list of my TOP 5 Albums of the Year. It was a little hard to decide on this, honestly. Do you have a list in mind? I do, after thinking about it for quite a while.

Will be posting my TOP 5 Albums of the watch out for it.

For today, I mean tonight...and tomorrow, check out these great gigs. Chickoy Pura and The Jerks celebrate their 31st anniversary tonight over at 70's Bistro and to celebrate this is a launch of a book that documents the band's evolution. This book is titled "Any Given Friday", obviously derived from the band's regular play day at 70s Bistro. Coinciding with the launch is Bisikleta Productions' rollicking gig titled kapow...I guiess you know by now how a Bisikleta gig goes. Pure fun. ^^

Tomorrow should be great as well. Juan Isip will be launching a new EP (wow!!!!). This also coincides with the gig called An Acoustic Christmas Featuring Al Dimalanta, Arnold Morales, Mae Ilagan, Albert Ascona, Johnny Tender of Pusakals, and Francis of Pinkcow. Grab a load of these potentially fun times. More details on the posters.

See you guys. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Return ... And Things To Do On A Friday Night

 I have finally returned. It has been a while. I am sorry if the blog has been inactive, but there are so many important things for me to attend to. Things that are important in the grand scheme of things.

Please give me time to assimilate my act once again. Let me start by giving you three options on where to go tonight. Today is a Friday...must I remind you?^^

Then maybe you can attend all three, yes? ^^

You have the Skrewheds gig, the launch of Coffeebreak Island's new album, and Bing Austria's regular Manila Soul gig. Any of them should be good. :)

I am looking forward to putting more posts. Please, welcome me back to my blogging life, LOL! Glad to be back again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh Mon Dieu, Il S'agit Spécifiquement Pour Alain...

...because I miss this funny and sweet (waaaaaa!) person so much. I thought of putting up this video from Youtube while I still work on the Andy Deported post. (Ugh, sorry Andy :() You guys surely know this? No? Remember Judge Dread's parody? No? Aw. Then watch.

Venir, Alain! ASAP, ok? You are missed by many (like JR and Mae and January, I am sure.) [Question pour vouz: Pensez-vous que Serge a entendu parler de la fin bruts de l'ananas? Duh...]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tell All Youth To Skank! Mixkaela Villalon's Take On The Recently Concluded Manila Ska Festival

(Blog owner's notes: This is my first of the numerous backlog posts that I owe you people. The largely successful 2nd Manila Ska Festival took place last September 4 at Cubao X...and like I said a while back unfortunate circumstances (a.k.a. fatigue, tight sched) kept me from attending and joining in the melee. But hey. Look what I have here. Fresh point-of-views are always welcome, ain't it? In this case, the post is written from Mixkaela Villalon's perspective. if you want to know more about Mix, let these links speak for her. Suffice to say, I enjoy reading her writings. She posts her musings here and here (this one being her erstwhile blog), and a sample of one of her award-winning works can be found here.

As for me, I wish to congratulate the people who made the 2nd Manila Ska Fest a howling success. Remember Piliskapinas, the same guys responsible for the Ska City United album compilation that is very very hard to come by these days? Piliskapinas is back after years of hiatus. Maybe an article about it should count as my backlog, too, hahah. Give yourselves a pat on the back as well: without you, none of these would have been possible. Oh, enough talk. Read on, kiddies.)

Tell all youth to skank!

Skinheads, Rudes, and Mods mob Cubao X!

RIOT, RIOT at the 2nd Manila Ska Fest!

(Text and photos by Mixkaela Villalon)

I’ll admit, we were late to the party. The 2nd Manila Ska Fest was due to start at 6pm on September 4, 2010, and I spent the first two hours in SM North EDSA, doing some last-minute jedi mind tricks on a couple of friends who had no idea what ska is and were dubious of the Philippine ska scene.

Don’t know what ska is? I outta slap you in the mouth.

Crash course: ska is a musical fusion of Carribean mento and American Jazz. It predates rocksteady and was the harbinger of Jamaican reggae and English two-toned. Ska history can be classified into three periods— Jamaican reggae also known as First Wave, English two-toned which was Second Wave, and the punk-infused Third Wave. Ska is characterized by the staccato rhythm played on the guitar that sounds like ska, ska, ska. Ska is the theme music to the lives of every steady-rocking, moonstomping, porkpie-hat-wearing, vespa-driving cool cat motherfucker to ever don the boots and braces. Seriously, educate yourself. I’m so embarrassed for you.

Finally, after much convincing and beer-bribing, we were on our way to Cubao X. The organizers at the entrance flattered me by asking if I was above the age of majority, to which I sweetly responded by flashing him my nearly-expired drivers’ license. A heads up, rude boys and girls: ska may be for everyone but ska gigs are no place for kids.

“This is the first time my cherry-red Doc Martens boots felt at home,” my friend told me. She’s been rocking them boots for some time, albeit tying the laces loose like a retard, but it was endearing all the same. And right here, right now, in the smoky night at the heart of Cubao was a sea of traditional black Doc Martens, laced up tight by the bovver boys, ready for aggro.

But there was no aggro to be had here, my droogies. Just some sweet, sweet ska. I believe Umble Uno, a Quezon City ska band, was playing. We had already missed the ladies of Cavite’s Fingertrapp, as well as Go for the Goat, and Bulacan’s finest Pulikats. What a shame.

We braved the sea of mods, rudes, and skinheads to grab some beer from the bar. My other friend, a long-haired dude who tagged along to experience this music he has never heard of, was suddenly thinking of getting a hair cut. He wasn’t the only one who needed it. I spied a handful of suedeheads in their tight pants and Fred Perry shirts, hiding their hair under flat caps and fedoras. Skinhead, skinhead, get a haircut!

Segue—A couple of weeks before the Manila Ska Fest, a friend and I were downing some bottles after work over at Metrowalk in Ortigas. Out of nowhere, three skinheads passed by. They were dressed right proper too: Fred Perry shirts, one in a Ben Sherman which must’ve cost him his mother’s eyes, 14-eye DMs and braces. And here I was in a Chelsea cut in need of a trim. Nevertheless, I offered a comrade’s greeting: “Oi, oi, oi!”

The trio slowed their prowl, glanced at me and flashed shy smiles before walking away. THAT WAS IT. No return oi, no knuckle-bump, no “Skinhead! Working class pride!” Honestly, I would’ve been a bit cheered to see a Nazi salute if it meant the subculture knew some of its roots. But there was nothing.

One of them didn’t even shine his boots. Kids these days.

But back to the show. Batangas’ Tellayouthska took the stage and it was time to skank. My friends and I hung in the back, watching the crowd skank near the stage. I was left trying to explain the behavioral codes and customs of the ska scene to bewildered friends. It was like a wildlife special.

“What’s the funny dance they’re doing? Like Charlie Chaplin.”

“’s called skanking. Left knee up, swing right fist up. Right knee up, swing left fist up. It’s like marching in place, but better.”

“Why’re those two dude skanking together, face-to-face? Are they gay?”

“Probably not. ‘s cool, though, it happens. When skanking together, you try to meet your partner’s boot. ‘s not gay. Though there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“Why do the girls have weird hair cuts? Like someone upended a soup bowl on their head and cut the bangs.”

“’s called Chelsea cut. Fuck you, it’s nice.”

“What’s with all the checkered patterns?”

“’s like a ska logo, all right? It celebrates the history and tradition of ska as a two-toned scene, a merging of both black and white cultures.”

I was getting tired of playing the tourist guide so I coughed up an excuse to take photos near the stage. Once in the heart of the sweaty, rowdy crowd, I knew I was home.

Tellayouthska busted out the song People Act like they don’t know, the horns section and chorus of which was unapologetically yoinked from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ The Impression I Get, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Replication is the highest form of flattery, and if you’re out to copy someone, you may as well copy from the best. The music swelled like a heartbeat.

Next up was Stolen Shots from Albay. Now I know the gig is called Manila Ska Fest, but what that actually means is that the gig is to be held in Manila (Quezon City actually, since it was in Cubao). What’s that mean? Simple. Ska isn’t limited to a place, hence how this beautiful music scene has jumped from ship to ship, country to country, and found itself scattered in the islands of the Philippines. Every ska band injects its own take on the genre. They take the music, spin it and make it their own. But the general flavor is the same. It’s ska, and Ska City United. Manila skins and rudes and mods all skip and skank to Albay or Cavite or Bulacan ska. It’s a wonder to behold.

“Early in the morning, I woke up and hear the rude boys playing. They were noisy, they were rude, just like me,” Stolen Shots play in their song Chocolate Brown Coffee. That’s what’s up.

Pink Cow was up next, breaking the consistency of singers wearing Fred Perry and two-toned bough shoes (that’s bough shoes, not boat shoes. Leave those to the hipsters who hold court in Cubao X during the weekdays). Here was the oi music I was waiting for, and as always, that was the crowd’s cue to mix and mash skanking with slam dancing. The bouncers and security guards were beside themselves, wondering if they should break the violence up. But there was no violence here, mate! Just some steady-moving oi, and if you get hit and fall on the stage (like I did), you pick yourself up and slam right back.

“Pare, pare, may natamaan na, (dude, you’ve hit someone),” I heard a bouncer tell a skinhead to which the proper reply was “E ano ngayon? (so what?)” The same skinhead who knocked me down pulled me up, brushed me off, and we both went back on our merry way.

“This last song’s for the bouncers,” Pink Cow announced before shouting “Here monkey boy!” and diving headlong into a punkified version of Toots and the Maytals’ Monkey Man. The crowd went nuts. Needless to say, the security guards and bouncers made themselves scarce after that. In Ska City, we govern ourselves.

“This beer is making the bands sound the same,” my long-haired friend said when I went back to check on them. Despite being newly-baptized in the United Church of Ska, they seemed to be having fun.

“This is so weird, everyone’s extremely friendly,” cherry-red DMs friend said. “Even the thug-looking bald people in boots.” What can I say, it’s a fun music scene.

“Which band should we be looking out for?”

I didn’t even have to think before answering. “Shuffle Union.” And what do you know, they’re taking the stage.

Now Shuffle Union’s been around the block a few times, paid their dues, earned the chip on their shoulders and the laces on their boots. In my not-so-humble opinion, they’ve taken the reigns of Pinoy ska after Pu3ska disbanded and Brownbeat All Stars ran the scene for as long as they could. I may get curb-stomped for saying this, but when it comes to the local ska scene, few other bands have been so prolific and consistent with their sound. Shuffle Union has popped up on so many reggae and ska compilation albums, it would be a bit unfair to still call them ‘underground.’ But by dint of the very musical genre and by not having a major record label, all right, I suppose they’re still underground.

Proving their salt, the ska scene veterans held their ground and delivered a tight set even after the bouncers have surrendered the night to the rowdy crowd. Judging by the way Shuffle Union barely batted their lashes whenever the drunken rude boys swarmed around the stage, grabbed the microphones and sang along to their songs, I think it’s safe to assume we’re skanking with the heavy weights now.

Right on their tail, the Marcos Cronies from Pampanga were just as good as I remember. They’ve been around since I was in high school (which says more about me than them, I suppose). Like the band before them, these guys have toured the ska hotspots—Pampanga, Bulacan, Baguio, Manila — seducing your good ol’ Catholic boys and girls to a life of blue beat and booze.

I’m not sure how accurate my memory is, but I do remember some rumors about the Marcos Cronies’ EP Skacity being pirated by the bastards in Carriedo, Quiapo. Which is a cheap shot, really, when you’re pirating independent labels and underground bands, but you can’t deny that there’s a certain dark prestige about that. These unsigned guys are good enough to be pirated, guys! Seriously, Marcos Cronies are great. The skanking crowd somehow organically evolved into a breakdancing-style dance off to one side of the stage.

Another legendary band takes the stage and the night seems to be heading at breakneck speed. It’s Jeepney Joyride! The energy in the place, it’s now thick as thieves! The vocalist still wears those pockmarked spoon-eyed goggles! He still egg rolls on the ground! The songs are different though—new but still good. Although I did miss their older songs, Lilim and Kape. The older songs seemed more energetic, or maybe I just haven’t warmed up to their new tunes. But hey, they played that old school tune, Jeepney Joyride, to cap their set off.

One of the best things about ska, I believe, is its willingness to keep the past alive. Let’s face it—mod three piece suits? Braces and boots and crombie jackets? Fedora hats? That’s old school, man. But the ska scene recognizes the need to always—always—remember their roots. And why not? Of all the youth subcultures that’s come and gone, it’s always been ska that bore the brunt of history’s cruelty, no thanks to mass media. Mods are a caricature of themselves now, represented by Austin Powers and black and white youtube videos of The Who. No one knows about ska (as evidenced by my two newly-initiated friends), and skinheads have become the international symbol for white-power hate and fascism.

But go back, look back, follow the immortal words of Mikey Dread and “Remember the days of bread and water, remember the days of hunger. Don’t forget your roots and culture, don’t forget your place of shelter.”

Know your culture, Rudie, and trace back where ska came from. It isn’t racist and it isn’t dead. It’s alive and kicking, not only in the West but all the way in Malaysia and Japan and Israel and the Philippines. Ska was the born from the immigrants, culminated by cultural clashes, polished by the working class. You pay your dues and you pay your respects. You keep the torch burning and you stand your ground, even in the face of people who claim that ska isn’t for you.

Speaking of keepin’ on keepin’ on, enter SMB also known as Steadymovinbeat. When last I heard these boys, they still had a girl vocalist. I guess times change, but their sound’s still pretty much on the ball. These guys aren’t afraid of throwing back to the greatest of the greats, busting out a cover of Gangsters by The Specials in the middle of their set. It’s a good feeling, watching the younger kids in the crowd—dreadlocked and sporting Nike kicks instead of shaved heads and boots— getting an education on ska’s glorious past. Nothing bridges the generation gap better than shouting “Don’t call me Scarface!” over the hypnotic keyboards. Betcha these kids never thought the phrase “Pick it up!” can mean so much more than just an anti-littering slogan.

By this time, the management of Cubao X has been threatening to shut us down the closer we approached midnight. Not that this crowd was going to take it sitting down. If they cut the microphones and amps and shut the lights down one more time, they’d have real aggro in their hands. Fortunately, the management relented long enough to let the last two bands play on. For that, a hundred thousand thanks to Mogwai even if they ran out of beer before the night was over.

Coffeebreak Island was the last band I saw that night because my friends were getting tetchy and Mogwai had already run out of beer. What can I say about Coffeebreak Island? These guys are my absolute favorite and they didn’t let me down this time. Covering both 54-46 was my number and Pressure Drop by Toots and the Maytals, they even played the first few opening seconds of Symarip’s Skinhead Moonstomp.

By this time, the slightly elevated stage was more of a suggestion than an imposition, as the crowd swarmed and stood on any available flat surface. The floodlights have been bumped this way and that and the band had to adjust themselves accordingly to be illuminated. If the microphone stand falls, no worries. The crowd’s there to scream lyrics right back at the band.

I hear Bulacan’s proud sons, Skabeche, played the last set of the night, and these guys are boss too. I wish I stayed a bit longer for them, but my friends were looking to find more drinks and I was hitching with them. All the same, I was pretty sure the exuberant mix of mods, skins, rudes, and the handful of people who were starting to rethink their subcultural allegiances were there to make them feel more than welcome. All in all, it was a fine, fine night for Manila’s Ska Fest.

Parting words now. A round of applause to all the bands that played, and all the ska kids that crawled out of the woodwork, and a full case of beer to the organizers for pulling this off. If the night’s turnout is anything to go by, it’s a pretty good bet that there’s going to be another one of these epic ska nights next year.

Pick it up, pick it up!

(Oh, and if there’s anything I could wish from any succeeding ska gigs, it’s this: someone has to cover some Streetlight Manifesto. Make it work, rudies!)

Up next: Hm, lemme see. Ok. Let it be Andy Deported. And most likely a new playlist. See y'all soon. Yay!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Events Past, Present And Future [Andy Deported! Manila Ska! T.S.A.! DIYPinoyHCpunk Anniversary! And More!]

Oh snap. Where do I start?

Let me just give you a rundown of what to expect in the coming days. Full details in the posts to come, okies?

You will be reading about an account of Andy Deported's last gig before he left for the US. It will be remembered that he did a series of shows here backed by Bad Omen. I sure regret having seen Andy perform only once, his set was very engaging and a lot of fun, but luckily I got introduced to this affable guy by Albert Ascona.

Also on queue is the recently concluded highly successful Manila Ska at Cubao X which I attended ... in spirit. (Dum de dom, I sure hate it when, after I have planned to attend a gig many weeks beforehand, something - fatigue, appointment, accident, whatever - suddenly comes up and I end up missing the affair.) I am excited about this upcoming post by a guest writer. That she writes well (of course I can say this in all honesty, having read her works online) is somewhat of an understatement - the link to one of her sites is on the siderail. Make a guess.

Also have to mention that The Resurrection Issue of Konspirazine is now out! I got to thank Jep Peligro for his generosity. You guys try to get hold of an ish. The zine is a treasure trove of information, yhough for me what is best about this issue is that it features an interview on ... Biofeedback! I need not say more. Just grab a copy.

Guess who's representing the Philippines in Denmark right now?

These Bulakenyos have really gone a long way. The ÅRETS STØRSTE INTERNATIONALE KUNSTFESTIVAL in Denmark started last August 26 and will be until September 12. One of the features of the Contemporary Arts Festival is a music fest that includes T.S.A. (Hård-høj-hurtig og agressiv old-school-punk! Yay!) So who says only the likes of Lea Salonga, Cecile Licad and Charice Pempengco can represent the Philippines in the international cultural map? (And why do I find myself snickering right now? Hahahaha!) I daresay, the local music scene owes a lot to T.S.A.

The DIYPinoyHCpunk, Bisikleta Productions (via Rude Maynila), and the people behind Manila Soul have some gigs for you in the days to come. I should be coming up with a new playlist as well. Hold on to your hats, keep yourselves updated, and zoom in the gigs when you can. Show your love to the music that speaks to you and the artists that sing the songs of your life.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Andy Deported Gig Series

If you are one of those who missed out on the matinee show at Ten02 last Sunday (like I did, heehee), there are many more dates to catch Andy Deported and The Outsourced. Tonight is one of those dates.

They will be at B-Side The Collective located at Malugay St. in Makati. Was talking to someone about this, the place not fully registering in my head until I finally remember that this is the warehouse type place akin to Cubao X. Exact address is 7274 Malugay St. Makati City. Malugay St. is parallel to Buendia. If you are taking public transportation, you can probably get off at Mayapis St. (the street nearest to the railroad tracks if you are coming from EDSA) then walk until you hit Malugay. If you are driving, turn right to Pasong Tamo, then to Yakal, then to Mayapis, then finally to Malugay St.

Entrance is free, people, if free gig is your incentive. See you guys laters. Hai!^^

Get to know Andy Deported and The Outsourced here.

Aaaaaaah! Stay tuned for more updates, including...T.S.A.'s Danish campaign this September! Woohoo!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Life Is Good, Yes! As Long As You Give It A Relentless Punch On The Kisser, Life Will Eagerly Lick Your Ass Like A Dog Would

Oh, that was a trifle long title, wasn't it? Heheh.

Heya people, hello again. So many things racing in my mind these past days that I actually forgot to bring batteries for my camera last night. Isn't that stupid? A good number of gigs took place last night, and I was at Sazi's Bar for the regular Rude Maynila Sessions. (The photos here are old ones, har har)

Everybody happy?

Here are some discoveries, nuggets of thoughts, and situations answerable by "yes definitely", yes, maybe", or "yes, hindi ko naintindihan":

1. It was the last performance of Tolonguez Death Squad ... and a new punk group is to rise from the ashes.

Must be true. Towards the last song, the ever-energetic Odel announced, "Last song na namin, last gig (or something to the effect)". I really enjoy watching Tolonguez and their frenzied style. Will be watching for the new band to arise.

2. Hilboy of Bisikleta Productions will be out of the country for 2 years.

It's true. He will be in Vietnam for an employment gig. But Bisikleta activities will go on, according to him, which is good news because this is proof that the scene, just like life, is a series of young blood taking over while the the more senior members of the society move on to higher endeavours.

3. Pink Cow will be having an album soon.
Can't wait. These boys have the chops and the attitude. And they do deserve a write-up. Really soon. Just give me time. :)

4. The Outcome is from the ashes of T.R.A.

The Outcome performed, doing originals and, hm, The Ramones. Great going, lads.

5. I was given a free copy of SMB EP.

Salamat ng marami sa SMB. I am proud of you guys. For those who have not gotten a copy of the EP yet, it's as simple as attending any Rude Maynila event or pestering one of the SMB guys. A copy is worth a measly PHP120.

SMB: Happiness in black and white

Plus, meetings with great friends, a little chit-chat here and there. Which then brings me to the 6th item.

6. Trash Radio Manila's future ... remains unwritten...

...but doesn't everyone's future remain unwritten? I think I owe it to my readers to explain that, much as really want to update the blog on a regular basis (and I really try my darn best), sometimes I could not really make it. In these instances, I ask for your patience and understanding.

It's been more than 2 1/2 years since Je and I started Trash Radio Manila, and it amazes me to this very day how the blog somehow manages to gain regular readership and patronage. Writing "Thank You" is not enough, and I always have this in mind. Just the same, "Thank You", friends, and keep the passion burning.

We dance to the death.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Asian Take on Oi

Some months ago, Jan (Shuffle Union vox, certified Pauline Black fan, certified doting momma) gave me a copy of "Skinhead! It's An Asian League", a compilation of Oi compositions of bands from various countries in Asia. This collection is a recent release of Japan's Bronze Fist Records which has been in existence since the mid-90s and is still going strong. Included in the album is The Mighty Contras, the lone band to represent the Philippines.

I would not really want to delve into the technicalities of the definition of Oi in this post. I am quite sure some quarters will be asking, what is real oi anyway? Corollary questions, mostly unpleasant, are bound to ensue. So, no, I would rather that you guys do your own research. Suffice to say that as far as the sound is concerned, I am aware that Japan produces great Oi tunes this side of the world. Apparently, Bronze Fist would like to show us something else: that the rest of the Asian nations can do Oi as well.

The guys may be right, after all. Which is why I decided to mix some cuts from the compi for your consumption. The playlist is as follows:

1. BOOTED COCKS (Osaka, Japan) - The Age
2. THE END (Jakarta, Indonesia) - Skinhead Pride
3. THE MIGHTY CONTRAS (Manila, Philippines) - Skinheads On A Rampage
4. HAIRCUTS (Bandung, Indonesia) - Merdika
5. THE RUCTION (Singapore) - Rage & Anger

(Intro is snatched from The Chronicles Of Sarnia off Final Fantasy)

Where can you guys get a copy of the album? You can probably get in touch with the boys of The Mighty Contras in their MySpace site here. better yet, go get in touch with Bronze Fist Records. I must say, commendable effort. ^^ Go get your copies and find out for yourselves.


Has the erratic weather rubbed on you? You people take care of yourselves and of your health. Be happy, be safe. See you around, folkies.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Exploring New Blog Features, Making A New Playlist, Updates Galore

Time to make some changes, explore the features of Blogger, and essentially update. Kumusta na kayong lahat?

At sino ang mga ito at ano ang ginagawa nila rito sa post na ito?! (Peace out! ;) )

New playlist coming up real soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Missing Out On A Lot!

I am back. I am in the "back" phase of my "back and forth" sched swings, that is. Seriously, it has been busy.

As a result, I missed out on a good number of events.

I missed Steady Movin' Beat's EP launch.

I missed MAIM's gig in Parañaque.

And, ugh, I missed Carburetor Dung's gig.

So, let me just post this video courtesy of underground fixture Jep Peligro. Thank you in advance, sir, for this one.

So many gigs this month. Check the siderail for the posters. See you around.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Steady Movin' Beat: It's About Time

This Saturday's Rude Maynila will feature Steady Movin' Beat as the main act, on the occasion of the release of the band's first recorded material. Yes. At last.

I was reading Hilboy's blogpost about Steady Movin' Beat (or SMB). As I was doing so, I found myself walking by memory lane.


Somewhere in Kalookan, around six years ago. SMB was a lot different from what it is today. For one, the people doing vocal chores were Hannah and Nikoy. Mateo was playing one of those wind instruments. I think it was Nikoy's birthday, and we were at the rooftop of his house. Nikoy's mother was constantly asking if we have eaten adequately. Je and I, the gourmands that we are, were not complaining. The band plowed through a handful of ska staples, some of which were A Message To You, Rudy and Guns of Navarone. Then Hannah took over, and soon enough strains of a familiar tune came off the keyboard.

The kids just have to cover the song. It was Put3ska's "Absolute", a song that makes me melancholic to this very day. That night, however, "Absolute" was a a joyous ditty, not a bit somber.

It's remarkable how ska has caught the fancy of the kids, I remember telling Je. Of course, the statement was rhetorical. I knew who the suspects are....


It is not a secret that SMB got their name from the lyrics of a Put3ska song. (C'mon, need I tell you what?) I may be wrong though. *guffaws*

SMB gained substantial exposure through Skamax, the so-called younger brother of Clubska Manila. Skamax used to hold gigs at Freedom Bar in Anonas St., Quezon City. At times, it would be at the now-defunct Millenia Bar over at Kamuning. Je and I would try to catch the gigs, but most of the time it would be just Je attending while I languished at work somewhere in Makati. (LOL!)

Kolumn Bar then opened, providing a bigger venue for the rudies. I believe this was the time when SMB was evolving. Their line-up started changing, they were trying to find their groove, their angst. Most of the time they were playing alongside more experienced bands, and they would have their bad hair days. It happens.

As with any up-and-coming bands, I have always believed that all it takes is time, and patience, and perseverance. So one day, Je called me to listen to an mp3 of a quirky, upbeat song about the banal life of being in the office.

Sounds good, no? He asked. I nodded promptly.

the song was "Corporate Fool" by Steady Movin' Beat. There it is, I thought. The promise. The only thing needed now is the extra push.


Fast forward , a few years later. Mateo has taken over vocal chores. By this time Steady Movin' Beat is made up of Dennis, Oliver, Janelle, Paulo and Mateo. They performed as often as they can especially on gigs produced by Bisikleta productions. They sound a whole lot tighter and more engaging, never failing to get the crowd skanking whenever they play on stage. Je and I were witnesses to this remarkable evolution. I knew he was impressed. Who wouldn't?

Now that SMB is finally releasing their EP, I can only say: It's about time. Your patience and perseverance paid off handsomely, and it is your time to get the crowd skanking.

Congratulations, lads.

(Photo of old SMB from their MySpace site.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

From Punk To Hunk? Or Is It Punky Hunk? Or Hunky Punk?

Whatever. We all know this affable guy anyway.

I am supposed to write about something else, but I just have to write about this. Today's issue of The Sunday Inquirer features Tame The Tiklbalang's Russell Eustaquio, and a few things about some of his passions in life, like punk and hardcore and physical fitness.

Could have sworn though that this is also another way of showcasing Russell's most prominent physical features: his tattoos. :)

Fantastic cover photo. Try to find yourself a copy if you can.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Keb Daaaarrrrrge!!!

Keb! Keb! Keb!

Keb Darge did a series of sets two weeks ago, and a post may be quite late in coming. It is such a waste, however, not to write about Keb, and his great set, and the fantastic night that I had over at Ten02 last June 11.

My first encounter with Keb took place last year, at The Coffee Bean And Tea Leaf coffee shop, of all places. I remember quite well the conversation he had with Je (Or was it Je who related excerpts of their conversation with me? I cannot remember anymore.). Keb's style of playing is straightforward and he does not indulge much in sound manipulation and loops and such. It is all about in-your-face music.

Two weeks ago, Keb did a couple of sets: I was at the Ten02 leg of his series of gigs. His repertoire was a rousing mix of northern soul, garage, and rockabilly, with some classics (Tutti Frutti, Johnny B. Goode) and recent tunes (Little Lil). Most of the audience responded with equally rousing dance moves (hahah!) At one point, Keb, the dancing master that he is, went down the DJ platform and danced to his heart's content. Guess who took over the turntable that time?

Keb's set was preceded by sets courtesy of Neighbors, Juan Pablo Dream, and Steady Movin' Beat, and the event was hosted by Bisikleta Productions' Hilboy and Neighbors' and Soundblasters' Jon Capistrano. By sunrise, the event was over. Or was it? Rumor has it that Keb will be back once again before the end of the year. An event with Keb is always enjoyable, never mind that he twirled the head off my neck as he attempted to make a dancing queen out of me. (Uh-oh, apparently I am not a very deft dancer like him and Bing.) Thank you Keb for the great moves, great music, and great time. As the great modern philosopher named Gonzales once said: I haven't stopped dancing yet. (Heehee!) Laters y'all!

Juan Pablo Dream

Steady Movin' Beat

The dancing crowd

Keb and Myra Ruaro

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

The past week has been very hectic! And it does not help that the World Cup is ongoing. Goooaaaallll!

To all the fathers, Happy Father's Day. I know of some great friends who are also great fathers: you are thought of with extreme fondness. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ngayon, Ika-12 ng Hunyo, ay Araw Ng Kalayaan

Ang kalayaan ay isang karapatan.

Independence Day 2010: Muli, Ang Paggunita Sa Araw Ng Kalayaan

Patawarin ninyo ako kung magsusulat ako sa aking sariling wika at hindi ninyo ako maiintindihan. Sa aking palagay ay nararapat lang na sa pagkakataong ito na malapit na ang araw ng kalayaan ay magsulat ako sa salitang sariling akin (sa pagkakataong ito, magsusulat ako sa Tagalog dahil ito ang pinakaalam ko at hindi dahil may kinikilingan akong diyalekto).

Pero, tama na ang mga mabulaklak na mga salita. Nakaugalian na namin sa Trash Radio Manila na maglabas ng isang programa ng mga awiting Pinoy. Ngayong taon, eto ang aking handog. Hindi ako sumablay, hahah! Kasi naman, ispesyal ang pagdiriwang na ito ng Araw ng Kalayaan. Magtatapos na ang halos isang dekada ng pagkapangulo ni Ginang Arroyo, at ang masasabi ko lang ay ...

Hay salamat.

Hindi maikakaila na marami pa rin ang naniniwala sa demokratikong paraan ng pagpili ng ating mga pinuno, at marami pa rin ang umaasa na magbabago ang Pilipinas, na may pag-asa pang magamot ang mga karamdaman ng ating lipunan. Sana nga ay magkaroon na ng pagbabago. Hindi madaling gawin ito. Palasak man ang mga salitang ito, subalit kailangan pa ring maging mapagmatyag, mapagmasid, mag-isip, gumalaw, bantayan ang ating kalayaan. Tayo rin ay nangangailangang maging mapagsuri ... maging ng ating mga sarili. Ano ba talaga ang ating pakay sa buhay?

Narito ang listahan ng mga awitin. Palagay ko, di na kailanagn pa ng pagpapakilala sa mga banda. Naisip ko lang, di ko pa pala napapatugtog rito ang Cocojam at Indio I. Sana ay maibigan ninyo ang mga ito.

1. Lady I - "Freedom Intro" [Siya rin si Irene Tengasantos, anak ng mag-asawang Chong at Chang ng Reggae Mistress.]
2. ETHNIC FACES - "Balikbayan"
3. COCOJAM - "batang Maynila"
4. COFFEE BREAK ISLAND - "Pakikinggan"
5. PINKCOW - "Changes (Justice Not Politics)"
6. INDIO I - "Mag-Ingay" [Kasama sa mga nagsulat at umawit ng awiting ito sina Myra Ruaro a.k.a. Skarlet at Bing Austria ng Juan Pablo Dream]
7. INDIO I - "Harana"
Mabuhay tayong lahat! Kita kita sa tugtugan.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thoughts On An Incomplete Rainy Tuesday: Incomplete 2, Route 196, June 1, 2010

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one

Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,

If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn

Would scarcely know that we were gone.

- Sara Teasdale, "There Will Come Soft Rains"
Perhaps the end is indeed near. The weather has gone way haywire. Hot and dry to hot and wet. Temperature reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Then suddenly, acid rain. I thought of Sara Teasdale's apocalyptic poem, written way back 1920, as I was lingering on the sidewalk fronting Route 196, the site of the Incomplete Part 2 gig, last Tuesday, June 1, 2010.

How would you like to go, supposing that the red Tuesday night sky fall on you right that moment? My mind was playing morbid tricks on me. To this question I had a quick and equally morbid answer: I would like to go with a smile. (Pasintabi kay Joker, I borrowed that line from him. Hahah.)

I was in the right place, if that is the case.

It was a warm and pleasant night. And it was not just an acoustic night, for the gig featured the frontmen of some of the most prominent bands in the underground scene (Throw, The GoSignals, Shuffle Union, Coffee Break Island, Shoulder State, SDK). In spite of the rains, people came in, most of them arriving towards the middle of the show. Francis Aguilar opened the show and did the hosting chores. Albert Ascona came next, followed by Al Dimalanta, who played four songs despite the coughs and colds. (Tenacious!) Rio Vargas did a charismatic set, after which Mel and Dennis Maniego of The GoSignals provided the crowd with their brand of mod. Mae of Shuffle Union placed the audience on a trance with her magical voice, while Paul of Coffee Break Island was Mae's perfect foil, his raspy voice tearing the damp early morning air apart.

Jonas Pares (or fondly called Alkaline Duo, which is none other than Kyle and Spyk of SDK) played as well, taking over the slot of Arnold Morales who was not able to make it that night.

[Route 196, like Ten02 Bar, serves good food. I just have to say this.]

Oh, ok. Obviously, the end of the world has not come yet. The apocalypse can wait another day. But never mind. I still went home with a smile on my face.

Francis Aguilar: Lou Reed-esque

Albert Ascona puts the "A" in emo :)

Al Dimalanta: Sticks and stones can't hurt my voice. Yay!

Rio Vargas: hoping to see more of him in the days to come

Their bird can sing: Dennis and Mel Maniego of The GoSignals

Mod toujours: Mel Maniego

Alkaline duo, yeah: Kyle and Spyk

Mae of Shuffle Union: the voice that has enchanted the ska scene for years

Hannah, ska scene's talented photographer

Paul Puti-an: that alcohol-fueled voice of his is simply awesome

More on this slide show:


Wow gigs!

Check out the siderail for upcoming gigs. Keb Darge is, finally, here in Manila, after being derailed by the nasty ashfall from an Icelandic volcano. He is slated to perform on Friday, June 11, 2010 at Ten02 Bar. Yay! Don't miss out on this one.