Fast forward to 2011.
The Singapore-based T.S.A. had returned for a brief visit, as it is becoming to be their habit every Chinese New Year. The Bulakenyo lads played to a smoldering filled-up venue aptly called Hades Bar at Quezon City (yes yes I know what you guys are thinking, and the answer is yes), supported by some of the very people that they have paid homage to in their recent album.
It is a night replete with booze, ghost scares (LOL!), memorable songs, body slams, and the all-too-familiar old school vibe. I missed the gig last time and so I made sure I attended this one, even enlisting my minute help to Bisikleta Productions' Hilboy just so I will not have any reason to miss out on this event.
So the story and insights.
Jun Idiot had two sets, one with The Imbeciles (hahah :P), the other with Hard K. I have to say that Jun has always been an acquired taste, but for me, and for many people who grew up listening to George Imbecile and The Idiots, and later on, Hard K, Jun Idiot will always be Jun Idiot: brash, loud, can rip the flesh off your bones in his meanest, and yet with a heart. Age may have added to his frame, but the attitude remains, and for that he will always be one of the prominent figures of Pinoy Punk.
Against Man are younger than the rest of the bands that supported T.S.A., but their collective mindset belies their age. I have always liked them for their low-key easy-going nature and their musicality. Will an album be ever out?
Tame The Tikbalang has always been fierce, and the wild response from the audience reaction is always to be expected. Russell Eustaquio has been and will always be cool in my book (goes way back in the university), and this may sound biased and such, but well, the heck. Forever shall be, Russ. ^^
"Putang-ina, tatlong lalaki na ang humahalik sa akin ngayong gabi!" (Ugh, hahah am not gonna translate this :P)
That's Al Dimalanta shouting over the microphone after one overjoyed punk after another went up to him and gave him a hug and a kiss. The performance of Al Dimalanta, backed up by the boys of T.S.A.and referred to in jest as Al D and the Architects, has got to be one of the highest points of the night. Seems like Al has yet some tricks up his sleeves for us to marvel at this year. You can never put an angrily creative - or creatively angry? - man down, really.
Yes, Betrayed also played. Yes it is so good to see Buddy Trinidad play after all these years. Yes the set is so familiar, having listened to it so many times. Much as I try not to wax sentimental about Betrayed (because I am, more often than not, UNsentimental), some pangs of stinging memories hit me occasionally during their set. How many times did I see them play, practice in recent times? Originals like Ain't Gonna Fight For You, Betrayed By You, Never Meant To Be This Way, and covers like Babylon's Burning, New Rose and Big Deal are the very tunes that I hear being practiced on a bass guitar within hearing distance in the house where I live in, up until now, not so long ago. [And yet it feels like a lightyear away....]
And, woooh, The GoSignals came over for a surprise visit. Again, the question begs to be answered: when is the album coming out? Or is it out? Mel, out with it, man. :)
Then, of course, T.S.A. The star of the night. The level-headed guys who have represented the local punk scene in Asia and beyond on a good number of occasions. Bimboi. Ojie, and Pedro have created a mark of their own in the Pinoy Punk scene, a path that is definitely less taken. The support that was given them by the pillars of Pinoy Punk during this gig, and in their past ones as well, is more than enough proof that T.S.A. has carved their own spot in the sun.
To T.S.A., all my respect, admiration, and support. Til we meet again. (Thanks by the way for the sisig, peanuts and beer and other things, burp. :P)
See you again at the gigs y'all.