Sunday, June 29, 2008

The New Line-Up...

After weeks of band misdirection, we finally agreed on the new line-up with our new drummer and lead guitarist. Since this meant that close to half the band is new, our band's sound will definitely not be the same. So I went to practice with the mindset that this is a new band, whose personalities and styles I have yet grown accustomed to. This is something completely new, yet strikingly familiar (of course, we're going to relearn all our songs with the new line-up).

We couldn't schedule an earlier practice jam than on the day of the gig itself. So come the day of the gig, I passed by Briggs' place and waited for Islaw, so we all can proceed to the new practice studio that's conveniently near Briggs' place.

When we arrived at the studio, Gino was already there listening to bounced down album tracks that we gave him. He was already practicing a little before the rest of the band arrived. Gino is actually also the current guitarist of Liquid Jane. He's sessioned for us a few times before back during our last gig in Naga, my office Christmas party, and during my birthday party. Gino is more than half-way through his course in UP Music on Classical Guitar. But his forte is really Rock. The boy sure is good. Him being so young still, this guy is only gonna get better and better. And we're really fortunate that he agreed to join us.

Jerold, our new drummer, arrived shortly after. I shook his hand and introduced myself to him, given this is the first time I've ever met him personally. Jerold is a UP Music graduate; major in Composition, and minor in Percussion. Given Gino and Jerold's learned skills, I couldn't help but feel a little intimidated given I am the most non-learned musician in the band.

So we started practicing all the songs that Jerold previously jammed with the band. Jerold actually gigged with the band once before. But I was stuck in Chicago overnight because of stupid flight delays, so I wasn't able to make it to the particular gig. Briggs just sent Gino some of the demo tracks of the songs that Jerold already knows.

All of us were pretty rusty, and it's a new band line-up to boot. But what's amazing about all my bandmates (including the new arrivals), is that given even just one run-through, they pick it up so quickly. Talk about sitting yourself up on the shoulders of giants, that's definitely how I felt with these guys.

We ran through all the 6 songs for the gig twice over. I noticed that Jerold and Gino were a little low key at the jam. But something told me that they're very much like the rest of the band, that they pull out their shit come the set on stage, compared to the practice jam.

We finished around 7:00PM and we went our separate ways first since our call-time that night is at 11:00PM. Gino and I went with Briggs back to her flat to jam a little to help Gino get more familiar with the songs, and just to kick around for a while until the gig.

After Briggs and Gino ran through the two songs that were relatively new to Gino, we just started to just jam anything that came to mind. Gino's classical guitar skills started to show itself with the stuff he was playing. Well, he was playing an acoustic guitar. Briggs' Takamine acoustic guitar just begs for that stuff to come out of you, given his skill on classical music.

One particular songs that he played that I liked was "Fragile" by Sting. I learnt how to play that song on guitar a few years back, but I was never near as fast and as decisive in playing that song as Gino did. Damn, the boy's got some skillz.

Come around 10:30PM, we left Briggs' flat to go pick up Jerold at his place. Dennis, Briggs' driver, got confused a little as to where we were gonna pick Jerold up. And he confused Gino in the process with his constant U-Turns back and forth, since Gino was following us in his car. I found that hilarious actually.

Once we picked up Jerold, we then headed to El Pueblo to the gig. Calye Brown is not only difficult to locate, but also not kind to musicians who have a lot of gear (like moi!). From the basement parking up to the bar itself, you have to walk up 5 flights of stairs, with the last flight of stairs being a winding circular pile of annoying steps. Boy was that a work-out for me. I'm such a weakling.

Plastic Baloo

When we entered the bar itself, we went over to where Islaw and his girlfriend Agnes was sitting. Agnes was looking all nice and sweet as usual. Islaw is definitely a lucky bastard. The band that was playing was a band called Plastic Baloo. I can't really put my finger on what kind of music they were playing. It's a cross between punk, rock, and injecting some sort of weird humor that you either hate or find absolutely hilarious. The vocalist resembled a merged form of Beavis and Butthead, and his singing style and antics left you a little puzzled as to whether you should take him seriously or find him funny.

One song of note that I found a lot of humor in was their cover song of "Ecstacy, Ecsta-no". Yes, they covered that electro-pop song from back in the 90s. The song was instantly recognizable to everybody in the bar, no matter how much they would like to deny it.


Apparently, our call time was way early because there were 2 more bands that were slated to play before us. With a waning crowd, and the bands so far were alright but not spectacular, we were worried that this was going to be one of those crummy gigs where we're essentially just doing a practice jam in front of a few random people.

To compensate, I just started ordering the 3 beers for P100 promo quite a few times. Three beers for P100, you really can't beat that. So I took advantage. I needed to drink coming off the work week anyway. God bless P33 beers.

Electro-Momma started playing next. I remember the vocalist from a previous band that was more in the style of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with special note to their kick-ass bassist who obviously has one too many posters of Flea on his bedroom walls. However, Electro-Momma is different. They posses a style that's uniquely rock music from back in the 90s, the likes of Aerosmith, Guns n' Roses, and Spin Doctors. They were sporting a new band line-up too, given that they had a new guitarist and bassist. The guitarist was not bad. But the bassist could be better compared to their previous slap-a-reffic bassist.

They had a synth/sequencer guy that seems to have settled in the band since the last time I've watched this band play. But I really feel that the synth parts are totally unnecessary and at times too distracting. Don't get me wrong synth is awesome if done well by the likes of Malek in Drip/Rubber Inc.. But for me, the synth just really didn't do it for me in Electro-Momma.

Beans Baxter

This particular band has been lurking around the scene for a while now. I remember gigging along with this band a few times in Corik's. So it was a surprise to see them play that night. The bassist strikingly resembled one of my officemates Kenny (who happens to be a bassist as well), which I found amusing. The band wouldn't be anything without their vocalist. The power in that girl's pipes is something else. The songs seemed to be in the similar style as Fuseboxx minus the progressive rock influence. The vocals pretty much carried the band. Overall, not bad at all, I was entertained.


Once again, I am incapable of taking pictures of us playing unless I can perfect astral projection or something. And I also forgot to either ask Agnes, or Brew (Briggs' brother) to take pictures. Anyway, we started setting up and I ended up lagging behind. Everybody was ready to go and I was still pulling out some of my percs toys, which was slightly embarassing. But at the time, I didn't really care given that I've gone through 4 to 5 three-beers-for-P100 by then.

Briggs started the set off by making a comment to the crowd that we haven't played a gig with so many empty tables before. Even though Briggs has toned down with her angsty self through the years, she can still be a bitch onstage at times (which is to Briggs a compliment mind you). She got a laugh out of the people that were watching, so it's all good.

We played a shortened set, because the production only wanted each band to play 4 songs. We got away with playing 5 songs as we always manage to do. We just want to play really. It's not about being a rock star or anything like that.

I think we did pretty well considering it's a new band line-up, and we only really jammed together as a band a few hours before. I was zonked on beer already, so I had a lot of fun playing onstage. The stage lights were so bright that I couldn't see the 1/3-filled bar anyway, so I just pretty much tuned out the crowd.

After our set, I took two trips up and down all those ultimate-cardio-work-out flights of stairs just to bring my gear down and help Briggs with her guitar effects case. The gig venue was fine, but I really don't want to lug all the gear up and down all those flights of stairs again. I don't think any regular gig is worth that much effort. Alright, that's my work-out for this week. LOL!

Some of us hung-out at my place after, and just tripped-out on all the gadgets and toys I had in my place. That was fun and it was a good ending to a so-so night. But alas, a gig night is a gig night, and overall it was fun regardless.


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