Sunday, August 20, 2006

Kjwan ROCKS.. Rockestra SUCKS

Anticipation was high for Rockestra II..tho the line-up had its usual ups(Urbandub and Up Dharma Down)and downs(Hale..ecchh..6Cycle Mind..ngyorrrkk..)and its so-so's(Itchyworms)and forget-its(The Dawn..c'mon..)my Summer and I trotted out after my Friday night show to the FAT.. Bay Area traffic was terrible,as usual(shoulda gone by the Blvd.)and we got there while 6CM were onstage(no big loss)..we walked in while Urbandub hit the
spotlight trying to find our way through the cheap seats..three songs per band and Urbandub failed to connect, at least with us.. and why can't we hear the MSO? The Manila barely-audible Symphony Orchestra shuddered in the background of Cebu's premiere rock exponent whose bad choice of songs failed to capure the crowd,though they did cheer for their last song (Endless..) it was more like Urbanflubb for me..
Hale was next, as hosts Trish (of NU) and Campus Radio's John Hendrix consciously read spiels at stage left,introing Champ and co..three songs later,I'm still bored..Up Dharma Down were on and the crowd's anticipation had somehow reached its peak..UDD had its moments, like the orchestral flourishes on Pag-Agos..someone should coach lead singer/keyboardist Armi in the art of mid-song adlibbbing coz what she makes up for in powerful vocals,she certainly lacks it in pandering to the audience, her voice nervously trailing off like some distant train wailing..still can't hear MSO.. all in all,Rockestra real effort was put into creatively
incorporating the bands' music with the was merely the bands doing their so-so-ho-hum-been-there-done-that-just-another-gig 3-song set with the MSO chugging in the background.. I mean, didn't these guys even rehearse, let alone, sit down and re-think the songs in such a way that you add a uniquely new twist to them, try to breathe new life into burned-out radio hits? Only one band seemed to work that night,
the Itchyworms.. now here's a band that works hard at their craft. You can tell they put a lot of thought into their music.. the arrangements, the breaks.. the interplay and nuances.. AND it worked with the MSO.. not even pigeonholed comedian Jon Santos could save the day.. we walked out mid-set while poor Jon made a fool of himself mangling Teeth's Laklak, setting OPM back another two steps in the process; save it
for the comedy bar, Jon..ang hirap kumita ng pera noh?

We were outta there faster than The Dawn could rise and headed for Cafe Lupe, where Kjwan were performing all-new stuff from their upcoming sophomore offering Two-Step Marv.. talk about saving graces.. this more than made up for the waste of time Suckestra turned out to be..
Kjwan were already onstage as we moved towards the front,a jacketed moustachioed Marc admonished the mostly street team/rich girl groupie could smell the Louis Vitton bags mixing with the expensive cigarette smoke..but were there for the new stuff,and Kjwan didn't stuff like Sa Ilalim..Solana(a song Marc wrote for Monica,his current)..
Pintura(sounds like Daliri Pt.2)with lots of funky breaks,strong drumming from J-Hoon and great guitar from Boogie and Jorel,who showcased his Talkbox talent,utilizing it to great effect.. a gnarly Focus had Kelly solid as usual and Marc stood center stage amidst the melee..MTV was in our face all night,taping the gig..speaking of faces,saw a lotta familiar faces there,like ex-Sony hombre(and my old Prep busmate)Wally Chamsay..MTV big boss Twinkie Lagdameo..old friend and new Kjwan manager Alvin I said this more than made up for Suckestra II..can't wait for Kjwan's new album man!
Thank God for small mercies.


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