Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Nerfed 70s Bistro, a Duck Egg Departs, and the New Rivermaya...

May 20 came around and we were down to Balot's super last/no-takebacks gig as part of SunDownMuse. We seem to keep tacking on gig after gig, cramming as many shows as we can before our plump little duck egg of a drummer migrates to Aussie Land. I particularly was both saddened and excited about the gig. Despite it being Balot's last gig, a gig is a gig for me, and gigs have always been fun and exciting for me regardless.

The first few pictures were taken by Briggs' better half, Frennie. While the rest of the pics in this post came from my crappy Treo 650.


Our prolific six string samurai, Charles, was absent that night. We had some slight drama with him from the last gig. He had to set his priorities straight between gigs, family, and work. So we employed the services of Liquid Jane's mad hatter of a guitarist, Gino.

Apparently, 70s Bistro's neighbors have been complaining about the noise emanating from the bar. So they nerfed the volume of any band that plays there; essentially making the place an acoustic venue. As a result, we couldn't feel our usual energy while we played our set. And to think we usually feed off each other while playing. If one band member is on his game for that night, the rest follow-suit. That's how our band works.

Even though it wasn't one of our better sets, I personally enjoyed it anyway. I haven't gigged in 70s Bistro for a while. And it is indeed Balot's last gig with us. So the set, the beer stained bar ambience, and the booze all made it fun for me. Especially considering it was a week night. How often do I exactly get to do this in my previous job; hardly ever.


We packed up our gear and stowed it away. Rivermaya came up on stage, shook our hands and gave us the obligatory "nice set, pare", greetings. I'm sure they were genuine about it. But even I find myself just saying that automatically to fellow musicians regardless if I liked a band's set or not. LOL!

They had 1-2 sound techs/"buhat boyz" with them, taking care of setting up and tweaking all their gear. This is typical for a big name band. I saw this very same thing happening the last time we gigged with Rivermaya years ago back in the old 6Underground in C. Palanca, Makati. How I wish I had at least 1 buhat boy lugging around all my heavy percussion gear. LOL!

As they were setting up, I noticed that they were ready for an acoustic set. It seems only we were not aware that the volume is nerfed in 70s Bistro. Riverymaya, on the other hand, came prepared.

The band was now showcasing their brand new vocalist from their "Rockstar: Rivermaya-esque" TV Show. They ran a TV show contest sifting through many vocalist contestant hopefuls, until they finally picked the winner; Jayson Fernandez. Jayson had longer hair than on his photos in the band's website. At least he looks a little closer to the ages of the rest of his band members. And his vocal skills were fine. He was singing in front of 2 tables filled with youngen chicks pining after him and taking his picture every 2 seconds. The boy sure sells a lot of t-shirts, so to speak. I'm just envious, I always wanted to be a rockstar, so just don't mind the snappish comments. LOL!

I noticed that Kakoy (guitarist of Salindiwa among a whole slew of other bands) is back in the Rivermaya line-up. Although this is just speculation, but he did leave the band in the past because of some issues with their previous vocalist. Now that Rico is no longer in the band, I suppose the coast was clear to be reunited with the rest of his ex-bandmates. Kakoy would switch between his electric guitar and some sort of mini-guitar/mandolin. My naiveness fails to identify what that instrument was, but the added sound from it definitely enhanced the music.

Bodeths, speedster Darbuka percussionist extroardinaire from Pinikpikan, was there to jam on percs that night. There was a portion of their set where Mark Escueta, drummer, and Bodetz were doing a percussion solo. That was definitely fun to watch. Bodetz is crazy good. I hope to be that good at percussions some day. Frennie tapped me on the shoulder and jokingly said "Bakit di niyo ginawa yan ni Balot?". I just laughed. She knew that we do try that at our gigs at times, especially with our cover of Smooth Operator. But Bodetz is just really good and therefore making the drums/percs solo so much better.

Nathan, bassist of Bamboo, was there that night. The dude sure loves to be on stage and to jam. He went up on stage on 3 separate occassions; jamming on bass, back-up vocals, and even on drums. It was funny that he would jam with them on songs that he used to play when he was the bassist of Rivermaya. It almost looked like he wanted back in the band (LOL!). The guy is definitely skilled on bass. He was melodically flirting with Kakoy a number of times, following him on a few of Kakoy's rondalla-esque fills.

Although I didn't like the band so much after Rico left, I definitely still like a good number of songs that they released in the past. So hearing the acoustic versions of those songs ended up being very entertaining. Pop rock cheese, I'm still a sucker for this stuff at times.

Half-way through the set, Balot bid us adieu. All of a sudden we were jokingly balling and crying because this was literally the last time we were going to see him for a long time. I was screaming "Balot! Hu hu hu! Where are you going!? Hu hu hu!". Balot gave me a big bear hug (OMG Build-A-Bear influenced slip right there) and he headed out. I will surely miss that guy. I can't say that enough.

Dennis, Briggs' and Frennie's driver, dropped me off at my appartment building. And I, once again, took on the arduous task of lugging my multiple, heavy-ass percussion gear back up to my place. I seem to have a smile on my face more often lately, and that night was no exception. I need to keep this self-contentedness up. I need more of this.


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