Monday, October 15, 2012

Continuing My Handpan Journey

It's been quite a number of months since I got that oh-so-large crate containing my first handpan from Chris of Bali Steel.  Since then, Chris and company were gracious enough to sell me a second handpan without me having to wait at the end of the queue for another year.  I heard that demand for even their handpans is growing and the wait is longer than a year now.

I have largely been immersed in hand percussions; gigging heavily with my three bands, SunDownMuse, J.O.E. (The JR Oca Experience), and Jack Versus the Crab.  Between work and gigs, I haven't really found the time and inspiration to give my two handpans some love and explore their soundscapes.  Oddly enough, I've stopped playing Diablo 3 for a while along with disengaging myself in certain unhealthy/expensive activities.  This gave me the time to focus on my handpans a little more.  I've made a total of 4 videos playing simple compositions of my own.  Two which, I will share with you today.

I can't, by any stretch, consider myself a handpan musician quite yet.  I watch videos from the likes of many great handpan players.  There are quite a few of them out there. Manu DelagoDaniel WaplesColin FoulkeDavid Kuckhermann, and David Swarup are but just a few that I follow online these days.  Watching their videos just makes me cringe at how inexperienced I am with my own handpans.  And as I have with percussions, I end up inventing a style of playing that is not really the norm with handpans.

I do find solace in a small handpan community in forums.  They are a very warm and hospitable community regardless of handpan skill level.  They continually remind me that handpans really do not have an established way of how to play it.  That I am still free to explore and find my own sound and melodies.

That handpan community praised me for being the first in the Philippines that has sprouted up online with handpans.  I relish that fact everyday.  So in order to stay ahead of the pack here in Manila.  I am slightly pressuring myself to be gig ready soon.  The owner of this place in Malate called "TheBar@1951", known to most as "Penguin", has already invited me twice to jam at this bar with the likes of Noli Aurillo and Brujo Ritmo.  I've been declining his invitations only because I feel I need to get better at handpan playing.  I plan to debut my handpan playing at The Keg, Fort Strip, where my SunDownMuse bandmate Gigo and I have been playing acoustic sets.  Next month, I'm hoping to have practiced enough to play a few compositions of mine in front of a crowd at The Keg.  I'm not quite sure how people will react to my playing.  But I suppose, the first time will be very telling.

I ordered David Kuckhermann/Colin Foulke's handpan tutorial DVD a few weeks ago.  And I'm expecting it to arrive some time soon.  Just watching one of the teaser videos of the tutorial DVD, I was already able to pick up the pattern that David was teaching.  I was excited at the fact that I was able to pick it up easily.  My next handpan video will contain that pattern along with other patterns that I have derived from it.  I will post it on my YouTube channel soon.

So practicing, learning, and hopefully eventually gigging with my handpans.  I've never done a solo gig ever.  But I might as well give it a shot.  This has been one of the only sources of happiness I have these days, especially when I'm alone with my thoughts.  But I'm excited to find out where all this takes me.

And the journey continues...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Fête de la Musique 2012 Experience

Here I am at home recuperating from yet another booze-a-reffic gig with SunDownMuse at Blackbird.  While I'm contemplating on whether or not to go out tonight, I'll just continue highlighting gigs of note.

This particular post is of my gig with J.O.E. (The JR Oca Experience) at the Blues/Soul stage at Fête de la Musique last June 23, 2012.

That afternoon, I was actually with my SunDownMuse bandmates at Tago Bar for a band photoshoot.  That band really didn't have any decent band photos.  So we took that opportunity to take a few courtesy of our drummer Andrew.  Of course he needed help since he has to be in the photos with the rest of the band.

After taking composed pictures around Tago Bar, Andrew had one final shot in mind before calling it a day.  It needed to be a night shot which actually made me nervous.  My call time with J.O.E. at Heckel and Jeckel, Makati was actually pretty early (around 7:00PM).  So waiting for the sun to set  so we can take the photo would get really close to my call time.  Tago Bar isn't near Makati at all.  But for the sake of the band, I stayed and just hoped that I wouldn't be late for my set at Fête.  Briggs and Gigo told me that they'll drive me all the way to Makati just to ease my anxiety.  It was nice of them to offer me a ride considering I brought all my percs gear.  They said they would stay and watch my set as well.  Once the sun set and we took a few snaps, below is one of the resulting shots that Andrew envisioned.

As soon as we were done, we finished off the remaining food we ordered from Tago and sped off to Makati.  It was well past 7:00PM.  So I was a bit worried.  Upon arriving at Heckel and Jeckel, my needless concern was a waste of energy.  I had forgotten that these music festival are never on time.  So much to that fact that my J.O.E. bandmates were all not even at the venue yet.  Two of my bandmates actually had sets at other stages and would just be following after.

(Pictures for the rest of this post are courtesy of Nicole Lacierda and Erwin Rentutar)

Heckel and Jeckel was bustling with people.  I was surprised to run into a number of acquaintances that night.  My good friend Joseph popped in to show his usual support for my gigs.  An officemate brought his wife and a friend from the States to watch my gig as well.  My SunDownMuse bandmates have never seen me play for my other bands.  So the fact that some of them came along to watch made the night that much more fun.

The only remote disappointment I had at the gig was the fact that J.O.E. didn't have a roadie to help us with our gear.  In a crowded bar it was just a little difficult to keep my gear in one place without getting in people's way.

Below is a video of our last song for the set.

Englishman in New York/Come Together (Cover Mashup)

The crowd's energy prior to our set was waning for some reason.  I suppose it was the tone of the soul grooves of the two bands prior to us.  We seemed to have breathed life back into the crowd during our short 3 song set.  Cheers, screams, and shouts filled the venue.  As always, my bandmate JR just loves embarrassing me onstage by calling me whatever nickname his mind can conjure.  That night, he came up with the nickname "The Flash" for some odd reason.  That just came out of the blue and had no relevance with anything whatsoever.  LOL!

After we played our set and was busy hauling our gear off the stage, I was surprised that even I got a lot of high fives and hugs from random people.  By the time I walked back to my SunDownMuse bandmates, I was greeted with the same praises.

We stayed for a while and I had to speed off with my J.O.E. bandmates to TheBar@1951 in Malate because we had to play set there that night as well.  By the time we got there Butch, the bar owner, already had the 2nd band for the night start playing.  We were supposed to be the 1st band.  So it was too late for us to play a set.  Most of us agreed to head back to the festivities at Fete.  But Joseph and I ended up just heading back to my place to hang out.

Multiple band activities, good friends, music, fun times...  Looking forward to next year's Fête de la Musique!


Monday, October 8, 2012

John Butler Trio Dedication To A Friend

A friend and bandmate got emotionally hard hit recently.  His feelings went a little farther than he should've allowed it to progress.  I can't help but feel for him.  My iPod played this John Butler Trio song randomly while I was working today.  So I felt it to be appropriate to dedicate the song to my friend.

What You Want
by John Butler Trio

What you want to say
Wait till you get home
I'm sick of communicating
Over the telephone

Tell me how you feel
For I am lonely too
Need you to know
I'm just as cold and numb as you

But I could fly away
Or I could be no one
And you could be the sunshine
Falling over the mountains

Or you could come to stay
You could come right home
Don't see why I have to
Live this life all alone

I know there is a way
To make up for old mistakes
I know what's happening
Is for a reason


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Missing Jack Daniel's JD Set Philippines

It's been quite a few months since Jack Daniel's JD Set Philippines narrowed down the Chosen 7 bands down to the Top 3.  From what I read on Facebook, it looks like the final 3 bands are gonna kick start the JD Set tour again by celebrating Jack Daniel's birthday month at Craft, Fort Strip, this coming Friday.

I'm glad that the top 3 bands have made it this far, particularly my friends from Paramita (Since we couldn't vote for our own bands, which band did you think I was sacking my votes into?  Paramita!).  But something saddens me that my band is no longer part of the experience.  This post is about reminiscing the last Jack Daniel's JD Set event that Jack Versus the Crab participated in.  This is was the JD Set 7 Finale event at Music Museum last June 1, 2012.

Music Museum is a more a theater-like venue than a bar or concert venue.  We got there very early to sound check.  With such a size-able venue with acoustics more like an outdoor setup, sound checking was definitely important.  I liked the fact that Jack Daniel's essentially had two band setups on stage.  So that one band can start setting up quickly while the previous band is still busy packing up.  This made the flow of the night go smoothly, barring scheduling delays.  Our band leader Waxie wanted to, once again, highlight the number of horn players we have.  So we had the horny section all positioned front and center.  JR and Rodney, our lead guitarist and bassist, were posted on each side of the horn section.  While the rest of us were perched up on riser section near the drum set.  Admittedly, I had the most isolated spot on stage.  And given that I'm sitting down while playing, all the more hidden I was from people noticing me.  But I was glad enough to just be part of the experience.  I had a pretty good vantage point.  I could see all everyone in the band from where I was sitting.

Backstage was cramped.  Given that our total band headcount was larger than the other JD Set 7 bands, we weren't assigned our own dressing room backstage.  We had the common area downstairs.  We didn't mind for as long as everybody else didn't mind how rowdy we got.  It turns out, Jack Versus the Crab wasn't the largest band for the night, given that other bands brought in additional band members for their performances that night.  But it was all good for us.  It beats going up and down the stairs just to get a refill of Jack Coke.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SunDownMuse "Apathy is the Cure" Album Launch at 70's Bistro

I used to be good with blogging each and every gig I have. As the countless undocumented gigs go by, most gigs just meld into a blur. I haven't blogged very much in over a month. I will attempt to change that in the coming days and weeks. So going forward, I will just blog about the ones of note. This post is about the SunDownMuse album launch at 70's Bistro last July 14, 2012.

The weeks leading up to the launch, I admittedly had increasing issues with the band due to unfairness with distribution of costs versus their individual preferences. All of us band members have day jobs. And therefore aren't necessarily reliant on the music scene to fund our musical passion. The music scene these days, doesn't pave the way for earning a decent living. So any ideas of perfection in album recording, or loftiness in launching an album needs to be either sponsored or personally funded. I would hold back my preferences and concerns, so as to not delay the release of the album. I actually only ended up having percussion tracks in 3-4 of the 6 songs of the album (partly my fault for not having time for recording sessions). And yet I was paying out one of the biggest chunks for the album expenses. Of course, every band member has their own perspective. But I always felt that one's demands should be commensurate with the money their willing to shell out for it. I had a honest discussion about how I felt when our band leader prodded me to speak up. That surely brought unnecessary stress to all the work that needed to be done to get the album out there. Briggs, our band leader, was trying her best to be sensitive to my issues, of course. But at the same time, the core band members wanted to push the album out as best in form and fashion as possible. You can't find fault in them for wanting that. So all those issues of mine drew to a stalemate and I continued to cooperate with the direction the band decided to take with the album.

Fast forward to the album launch itself, my head was still riddled with band issues and concerns. However, a certain sense of pride welled up from inside me. What has been a very long time coming has finally come to fruition. This album was 10 years in the making. That was 10 years of countless gigs and good memories. So whatever issues I did have, I just instantaneously kicked out the door. I even ended up giving my bandmates hugs near the end of that night.

We had a number of other bands to play alongside us for the album launch; namely Mr. Andersen, Julianne, Goo, and Color It Red. Below are some of the videos that we took of the other acts. I will post videos of our set right after.


Julianne contacted us last minute saying that she wasn't able to secure her full band for our album. Her bassist was at an out-of-town gig. So she asked if it was okay if she played an acoustic set. We didn't mind that all. We were big fans of hers ever since her acoustic duo days (with Deej her percussionist).

Julianne - 7000 Miles to Grow

Julianne - Buwan

These first two videos are unreleased songs. According to Julianne, they will be in her upcoming album (which is supposedly due out later this year).

Julianne - Unsaid

This is actually my favorite Julianne song from her first album. It was surprisingly touching for Julianne to just try to play the song acoustic even though she said she hasn't played it acoustic for a very long time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blue Man Group: It's Time To Start (Rock Concert Movements)

I haven't blogged in a long while.  Between work, gigs, and Diablo 3, I haven't had the time to sit down and really blog about what's been going on with me. Perhaps I should make the effort some time this weekend to do so. So much has happened musically since the last time I blogged.

In the meantime, I'll post a quick one about the Blue Man Group.  I watched the New York Blue Man Group years ago and continue to be a fan of the act ever since. I've always been curious about their song "It's Time To Start".  And was amusingly compiling all the "Rock Concert Movements" in the song. I finally completed it! Just haven't gotten around posting it on my blog until now. Below is a video of one of their live performances of the song. I listed out all the "Rock Concert Movements" after that.

Rock Concert Movement #1
The Basic Head Bob

Rock Concert Movement #2
The One-Armed Fist Pump

Rock Concert Movement #3
The Up and Down Jumping Motion

Rock Concert Movement #4
The Behind the Head Leg Stretch

Rock Concert Movement #6
Two Armed Upward Thrust with Yell

Rock Concert Movement #8
The Black Out

Rock Concert Movement #10
Getting a Closer Look at the Audience

Rock Concert Movement #15
Bringing a Guest Vocalist Onstage

Rock Concert Movement #23
Getting the Audience to Sing Along

Rock Concert Movement #27
Saying Hello to the People in the Cheap Seats

Rock Concert Movement #28
Getting an Audience Member Onstage to Dance

Rock Concert Movement #48
Introducing the Band

Rock Concert Movement #63
Bringing out Venus Hum

Rock Concert Movement #78
The Fake Ending

Rock Concert Movement #91
Enjoying the T-Shirt You Bought at The Complex Rock Tour Rock Concert 

Rock Concert Movement #237
Taking the audience on a Jungian journey into the collective unconscious by using the shadow as a metaphor for the primal self that gets repressed by the modern persona and also by using an underground setting and labyrinth office design to represent both the depths of the psyche and the dungeon-like isolation of our increasingly mechanistic society which prevents people from finding satisfying work or meaningful connections with others

They actually don't mention ALL the "Rock Concert Movements" in the video I embedded.  They don't mention them all in any given performance of the song.  But I've watched quite a few including their Live Concert DVD release.  So I picked up on what I think is all of them.

As I felt such geeky accomplishment for compiling all of the "Rock Concert Movements".  I actually found somebody else already did so and posted it on the net.  Wasted effort.  /face palm


Monday, July 9, 2012

Robocop Remake

I've always been a Robocop fan, bad sequels and all. I used to have a huge poster of Robocop in my room when I was younger.  So you can imagine my excitement when I first read about a remake, especially after watching this initial teaser trailer.

/geeky drool


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jack Daniel's JD Set Philippines: Jack Versus the Crab Live Performance on Dig Radio

One of my bands, Jack Versus the Crab, did a live show on Dig Radio last Saturday, May 26, 2012. We joined the other JD Set 7 bands for the ongoing Jack Daniel's JD Set Philippines band competition.

Dig Radio is actually not a bonafied broadcasting radio station. They're an internet video streaming kind of radio station. We got to Dig Radio really early since our call time was 12:00PM. I was surprised that the Dig Radio office was actually right opposite saGuijo where I play often with my other 2 bands. The office is rather nice and obviously pretty well funded.

The schedule was set where one of the 7 bands would be interviewed while another band would be setting up for their live performance. Then a hand-off would happen to shift the broadcast to the band to air their live set.

We were scheduled to play our set by 2:10PM. Unfortunately, with all the personnel and technical delays between Dig Radio and Jack Daniel's, we only got to start playing around 4:30PM. We were the first band scheduled to play. So I found it annoyingly amusing that they asked us to sound check 2-3 times.

Below is the resulting live broadcast of the entire show.

The cuts between band interviews and live performances had a few hiccups along they way. So it's best if you start at 39:37 in the video to catch my band's set.

This is actually the last Jack Daniel's event until the JD Set Tour Finale at Music Museum this coming June 1, 2012. Dig Radio opened up text voting for the competitions. So if you want to vote for Jack Versus the Crab, text the following:

Text "JD 1" to 2948

"2948" goes for all mobile networks. Make sure that there is an actual space between "JD" and "1". You can check out the real-time results of the text voting at the link below.

After the finale event, Jack Daniel's will narrow the bands from the 7 down to the top 3. It doesn't seem like we'll make it to the Top 3. But here's hoping that we do. If we don't make it to the top 3, then it's all fine and good. It's been an amazing and lengthy tour. And I'm just glad to even be a part of it in the first place.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Awesome Hang Player + Drummer Performance

Ever since I got my Bali Steel Pan, I've been increasingly checking out hand pan videos on YouTube. I came across this guy named Rafael Sotomayer. He has a YouTube channel called "TheArtOfFusion". He's been playing the original Hang for years now. You can tell that he has increased the number of Hangs he has over the years. How he's able to acquire 4 or more Hangs from the makers is baffling to me, especially since I had difficulty even just trying to get one for myself. Lucky bastard.

The video below is one of his songs that I particularly like from his solo album called "Rhizonism". The video is a live outdoor performance with a drummer.

The crowd responded very well to their performance, and for good reason. I'll be getting a second Bali Steel Pan soon. I hope to be as good as Rafael some day.


Monday, May 7, 2012

J.O.E. (The JR Oca Experience) at Checkpoint Louie's

This particular gig was my J.O.E. gig at Checkpoint Louie's last April 13, 2012. The last time I gigged in Checkpoint was years ago when it was still in its old location. The new location is much more accessible now than the previous one. Just drive up Sucat Rd. coming off South Super Highway from Makati and you'll eventually reach the bar once you pass SM Hypermart.

I have to admit, the place is larger and the gear is a whole lot better than my memory of the old Checkpoint bar. The new and improved Checkpoint even had a 2nd floor where the crowd can watch the bands playing from that vantage point. It's one of the few venues for music that I know of down south. The place also carries a healthy community of music enthusiasts.

Another admission I will make is the fact that I can probably be considered a senior citizen amongst the crowd. The people present were probably 10-20 years younger than me. But I didn't mind because I came to gig with my bandmates whose company I enjoy. As always, gigging/hanging out with bandmates was a good departure from dealing with office people.

I saw a Facebook friend of mine Pao David, who is a part of a band called Hallway Five. His band was slated to play right after us. When I spoke to him on Facebook, he somehow assumed I wouldn't even remember his name. He was presently surprised when I waved at him as he passed by me and called him by his name.

Berns was back on bass for that gig, and former J.O.E. member, Kim, agreed to fill in for Coby on saxophone for the night. So I was surrounded by awesome, very veteran musicians.

Below are videos of our set that night. JR's wife, Jojie, was nice enough to take video of us using my Zoom Q3HD. She has some trouble making sure that people didn't get in the way of the camera view. So do pardon the sudden camera movements and shakes every so often in these videos.

The Chicken (Cover)

Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo (Cover)


Englishman in New York (Cover)

Our drummer, Paulo, was also part of another band called Bakeshop who played later that night. I took videos of their entire set. But so far I've only managed to edit and upload one of their songs. It's my favorite song of their album. So I chose to upload that one first.


Bakeshop seemed to have a good following that night because they practically took over the second floor of the venue. I went upstairs for a bit before their set to buy their CD. I didn't bother having my CD autographed by the band. I'm after listening to their music and supporting the band anyway. The songs will make their way to my iPod. So for me, it didn't really matter whether they signed my copy of their album anyway.

We surprisingly ended the night earlier than usual. But we obviously had an adequate fill of San Mig Light and Jack Daniel's. Jack Daniel's seems to be a staple alcoholic beverage for myself and JR at gigs these days. Especially since JR and I have had quite a number of Jack Daniel's JD Set gigs with Jack Versus the Crab. It was funny that JR even thanked Jack Daniel's while we were onstage. I found that amusingly funny. The ride home was slow (due to JR ensuring we would get home safely), but absolutely hilarious. We just kept on spouting nonsense from our mouths and laughing our heads off. I forgot half of the jokes we pulled on the way home. But Jojie made sure to remind us of the highlights when she posted on Facebook the next day. LOL!

Friday the 13th and nothing unlucky happened to us fortunately. Another fun night of music with good friends. More to come, I'm sure.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jack Daniel's JD Set Philippines: Jack Versus the Crab Voting Party at Handlebar

It's been some time since this gig.  But I'd better post about it before it just muddles into the blur of countless other gigs. This was Jack Versus the Crab's Voting Party for the Jack Daniel's JD Set Philippines band competitions last March 28, 2012. We were fortunate that Handlebar in Makati was the venue for our voting party.

It was unfortunate that I had to bail out on my SunDownMuse bandmates that night. They had a gig at the Paramita Voting Party at Black Kings' Bar that night. I had to prioritize Jack Versus the Crab given that we were the headliner band that night, as opposed to just being one of the front acts for Paramita at BKB.

There wasn't a lot of people at Handlebar by any stretch. It was a mix of the regular happy hour crowd, friends we invited, and some people walking in to check out who was playing that night. I've seen the place way more packed than that night. But the number of people present at the time felt cozy rather than rowdy.

As always with Jack Daniel's events, we had our complimentary bottles of Jack Daniel's for the band.  In all honesty, I was avoiding having to hit the Jack bottles because I had work early the next day. This annoyed me at the time since I was just a part-time consultant for my company back then. And having me come in that early was a little above and beyond my part-time charter. (I was being a brat, I know). After some time, I succumbed to the calling of my best friend Jack Daniel's, aside from our band leader incessantly bugging me to drink.

We were the only band for the night. So we got to play two long sets. Below are videos that my good friend Joseph took of us using my Zoom Q3HD.

What's Goin' On?"

Come Together (Cover)

Give Me One Reason (Cover)

The two covers I just showed were unique and a joy to play. The beautiful Chase Shelleé joined us for these covers. Her sultry vocals actually gave flavor to the band's sound.


I particularly screwed up on my solo on our last song "The Song I Never Finished". That's not even just an insecure remark on my part. I was totally off at the time for some reason. But somehow, people were distracted with alcohol influenced personalities that kept coming up on stage to bother noticing my screw-ups. That suited me just fine. LOL!

I think Jack Daniel's will have us do one more voting party some time this month. And then they're going to narrow down the Chosen 7 bands down to 3. Whether or not we actually make it to the top 3, it certainly has been a fun and worthwhile ride for me.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jack Daniel's JD Set Philippines: Jack Versus the Crab Video Interview

I came across a video by At The Womb of Jack Versus the Crab's video interview being part of the Jack Daniel's JD Set Chosen 7 in the Philippines.  The taping of this interview actually happened almost a year ago. So there are past members of the band that are in the video. We had a photo shoot prior to the interview where they made me wear make-up. The photo shoot was a horrid experience that will never happen again, mind you. But the video interview (I washed off the make-up by then) came out surprisingly nice.

Yes, I know they spelled my name wrong in the video. Waxie and Fritz spoke mostly during the portion of the interview that they used as material to edit. However, I was surprised that they snuck in a few words from me. I ended up having the last say. Sweet!

For those of you who would like to support us during this long JD Set band competitions, please go to the link below and Facebook "like", Twitter "tweet", and Google "+1" the page itself.  All that count as votes for my band.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Death Cab for Cutie Live in Manila

After a month of blog laziness, I finally get around to blogging about this particular concert. In all honesty, I was severely disappointed around that time because the Foo Fighters cancelled on their Singapore concert. I was supposed to go with SunDownMuse bandmates Briggs and Gigo, as well as Briggs' girlfriend Carol to Singapore to watch Foo. We had our plane tickets and hotel accommodations booked aside from securing the concert tickets online. But alas the rock gods felt that it wasn't meant to be. So I ended up wasting a truck load of money.

The original plan was to fly to Singapore, watch the Foo Fighters, and then fly back. Then we go watch Death Cab for Cutie the next day. Instead, the plan ended up being just the Death Cab concert. Not much for a Foo Fighters consolation prize. But hey, you can't really compare Foo with Death Cab.

Gigo passed on getting Death Cab tickets because of all the expenses meant for the Foo Fighters concert. So it was just Briggs and I that went to watch the concert. Briggs and I thought we got to the venue fairly early. But by the time we got to the venue, the line was extremely long. The supposed "VIP" ticket line spanned two blocks long, and a lot of people queue behind us at that.

I saw a number of acquaintances that were watching the concert as well; people from my hometown Alabang, some ex-officemates from PeopleSupport, former SunDownMuse bandmates, and other musician friends in the music scene.

It was nice to know that a lot of those acquaintances knew about Death Cab. I discovered the band way back in 2004/2005 when the band released an album called Transatlanticism. But I'm pretty sure most of the crowd know the band because they're on a few movie soundtracks. I liked them before they got really popular.

The concert was entirely standing only with two ticket types just dictating which half of the venue you get to stand in. It was pretty packed. Below is one of the videos I took from the concert. Apparently the song in the video is in the soundtrack for one of the Twilight movies. /Queue in anti-Twilight defense mechanism disclaimer. I actually liked the song when it was released. But I had no idea it was in a Twilight movie soundtrack. /End anti-Twilight defense mechanism disclaimer.

"Meet Me on the Equinox"

Ben Gibbard, the vocalist/guitarist, was surprisingly lean in person. I always had this mental image of a chubby guy from his early music videos. I guess rockstardom either requires you to slim down, or the rockstar lifestyle just makes you scrawny after some time. It was amusing to watch practically every band member switch between guitar, bass, and keyboards. It just shows the cumulative skill of the band and its members.

My all-time favorite Death Cab songs are "Soul Meets Body" and "I Will Possess Your Heart". And they played both of them that night. I wasn't able to take videos of those songs because I was busy jumping where I stood and enjoying the music. The melody line of the chorus in "Soul Meets Body" was instantly recognizable by the crowd. The band's performance of "I Will Possess Your Heart" has an ethereal feel that makes you sway so easily to the music especially when they spent about 5+ minutes just on the riff/groove without lyrics.

Briggs and I ended up going to the Keg at Fort Strip after the concert to knock down a few beers. Gigo decided to join us then. It was a Nomad Massive event at the Keg that night. So I was able to see some more Alabang friends who were DJ-ing that night.

Not bad at all for a Foo Fighters cancellation consolation prize. Days after the concert, I decided to learn play "Soul Meets Body" on guitar and sing. It's an easy song to learn if you have a capo. Looking forward to more music that band will come out in the future.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Birthday Week Part 4: Bush and Evanescence Live in Manila

It's been over a month since this concert. But I wanted to finish documenting the highlights of my birthday week last month. So here we are, the last portion of this series of blog posts. This time the post is about watching Bush and Evanescence at the Araneta Coliseum last February 19.

Coming off my gig at the Rogue Magazine Music Edition Launch at B-Side the night before, I was unfortunately too trashed to make it to my SunDownMuse bassist's son's birthday party during that Sunday afternoon. Io has been dead for about 2 years now. But we continue to celebrate his birthday rather than his death anniversary. I felt bad for not being able to join my SunDownMuse bandmates for the party. I heard it was a lot of fun.

Instead, I texted Briggs and Gigo where we can meet up post-birthday party since I have their concert tickets. We all agreed to meet at the concert venue itself about an hour before the concert. I got to Araneta Coliseum rather early. Which was fine because I hadn't eaten anything all day. So I proceeded to Cafe Bola to eat. I used eat at the Cafe Bola in Greenbelt often years ago. So I kinda missed the food. The restaurant was situated near the green gate entrance as well. So it was convenient for me to dine and spot Briggs and Gigo if they arrived.

Briggs and Gigo soon arrived. I just finished eating. But they wanted to grab something to eat before going in. They had to hurry it up a little though. As they arrived really close to the concert start time.

When we proceeded inside Araneta Coliseum. I was disappointed that they didn't have any concert t-shirts for sale of Bush nor Evanescence. They only had album CDs. I have a thing for concert shirts. So not being able to buy one at a concert venue is always disappointing.

What was equally disappointing was that the usher that showed us to our seats obviously didn't look at the tickets properly. I bought tickets for us that were off to the right side which was the closest section of seats to the stage. Instead the usher showed us to these Patron seats at the back, behind the Patron Standing area. Seeing as the Patron Standing area wasn't full. Briggs, Gigo, and I decided to just dive in the standing area to get closer to the stage.

Below are videos that I took of Bush and Evanescence that night. I would've taken more videos but my arm was getting tired and I was getting caught enjoying the music.

"The Chemicals Between Us"

Bush came out with a new album after going on a haitus for years. It's really nice to see these guys still keep at it. What's interesting to note is that when Gavin introduced the next song that's part of their new album. He mentioned that when they recorded the album, they weren't sure where the album would take them. It shows humility despite him and his band's past rock stardom. I had more respect for him as a musician when he said that.

"The Sound of Winter"

I actually looked up the chords and lyrics on the Sound of Winter on the net soon after the concert. It's simple enough for me to learn. It's one of my favorites to play on guitar and sing now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Birthday Week Part 3: Jack Versus the Crab at the Rogue Magazine Music Edition Launch

Actually there's supposed to be a Birthday Week Part 2.5. That consists of a last minute J.O.E. gig at Route 196 last February 15, and an acoustic gig with Gigo at the Keg, Fort Strip, last February 16. The only reason why I'm not blogging about those two gigs is because I have no pictures or video of our sets. Those were memorable gigs as part of my entire birthday week celebration. But I feel like blogging about it without any visuals or audio seems too bland.

I'm finally getting around to blogging about Part 3.  It's been practically a month since these events. But I wanted to make sure to post about it before memories of those times fades into the blur of past gigs. This particular gig was with Jack Versus the Crab at the Rogue Magazine Music Edition Launch at B-Side last February 18, 2012. Rogue Magazine were partners with Jack Daniel's. So the top 3 bands of the Jack Daniel's JD Set 7 competitions were asked to play for the event.

There was a good line-up of acts that night. But I'll only recap the bands that I particularly enjoyed. My recap of each band isn't in order of line-up of bands for the night.

(All the fantastic pictures in this post were taken by the beautiful Ninja Queen, Cris Pangan.  Thanks Cris!)

Flippin' Soul Stompers

Flippin' Soul Stompers is a band headed up by Bing Austria. It's nice to see that he continues to revel in the music scene despite the community's continued waning interest in classic soul/mog music. From Technicolor Dreamcoat, Juan Pablo Dream, to this current iteration of Bing's band, it such a pleasure to watch his music retain that old school vibe.

Karl Roy

Karl Roy and his band were very entertaining. Karl still had that rockstar flare from his Advent Call, P.O.T, and Kapatid days. Jun Lupito, veteran guitarist eversince the Cocojam days, jammed during their set. I was a little frustrated with how the sound tech was mixing the volumes of the band. The bass guitar was blaring over Jun Lupito's guitar. But overall, the performance was still entertaining, especially since they were covering some memorable songs of Karl Roy's past bands.

What colors this particular post about my birthday week is the fact that Karl Roy just recently died due to stroke complications. Yesterday was actually the last of the mourning days for Karl. I didn't know him all that well personally. But I have been a fan of his since his Advent Call days. And a number of his songs from P.O.T remain very close to my heart. Karl has no idea how some of his songs have gotten me through some very rough times in the past.

I have gigged in the same events/nights as Karl in the past. I remember quite a number of gigs (SunDownMuse) where we played with Kapatid in Club SEx, Rock Radio Cafe, and Big Sky Mind. Karl was particularly impressed with SunDownMuse back then. He remembers us from Briggs' vintage Hofner guitar (which I'm sure Karl wanted to steal from Briggs LOL). Rogue Magazine claims that this was Karl's last gig. But it actually isn't. I believe he had 1-2 gigs after that night. But regardless, it was such a privilege to be in the same gig as Karl for one of his last performances.

Rest in peace, Karl.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Movie Trailer

I've been a big fan of Rurouni Kenshin, the anime for the longest time. I've seen the entire series several times over without getting tired of it. So when I caught wind of a live action movie, I got all excited about it. But yet I remained skeptical given how the movie industry likes screwing up manga/anime to live action movie adaptations. The movie trailer was recently released, which shifted me towards excitement about the movie again.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Bali Steel Pan

After waiting 11 months sinced I first ordered it back in April last year, I finally got a notice from the Makati Central Post Office to pick up my steel pan. I got the notice last March 5 which was a few days later from when the notice said that the package arrived at the post office (February 29).

I researched how the process is for incoming international packages ever since the steel pan makers emailed me that they had already sent my steel pan. And from what I heard from other people receiving things they ordered online, it seems customs really just throw a wrench into things.  So I went to the post office next day with some knowledge on how this process goes.

There were three people there all with seemingly different responsibilities to do. One took my notice card and look through his log to check it off. He made me sign his log folder and pointed me to the next guy to pay a postal fee of PHP40.00. I paid the postal fee and waved at the first guy. He proceeded inside their storage room. A few minutes later, the guy carried out this rather large wooden crate. I actually didn't expect the thing to be that big. The 3rd person was an aged lady. She came over and asked the first guy what was inside the crate. There was no indication on the crate as to what it was. I told them "musikero ako, tambol yang nasa loob". Traditional percussion drums like congas and djembe are already hard to describe to most people. But somehow the word "tambol" guides their understanding best. Amusingly, the guy thought the crate was the actual "tambol" and started whacking on it. The lady was looking for some "declaration of value" document on the crate which was nowhere to be found. So by then, I already figured out that she was the customs official. Fortunately, the steel pan makers didn't put any valuation document on the crate. So I just told the customs lady how much I bought it for.

Okay fine, I lied. I told her it was 10% of the actual amount I spent on the thing. I hate lying. But I felt like customs would charge me an arm and a leg if I was truthful about it. It already cost me an arm and a leg just buying the thing. So the customs lady went back to her desk and pulled out her calculator and a form. After doing a few computations, she came back to me showing me the form while pointing to the amount that she computed as my customs tax. I felt the amount was still a tad horrendous. But compared to what I should really be taxed, I didn't bother reacting negatively to the tax amount shown to me.

The customs lady told me she would give me a 50% discount on the customs tax, which was nice of her. I paid the amount to the second guy, and picked up my package with all smiles and thanks directed to the three.

So I got my Bali Steel Pan! Finally! I've been playing around with it whenever I can since then. Unfortunately, I accidentally cut my finger that night while opening a can of sisig. It was a bleeder! So I couldn't play around with my steel pan for a number of days. But today, the cut seems closed and it didn't hurt so much anymore. So I decided to make my 1st steel pan video.

I still have to get used to playing my steel pan. So the video above is a one-take, very virgin steel pan player. So please be gentle when you watch it. Hope you like it. More videos to come as I learn my way around my steel pan.

I'm so happy I finally got it!

/big grin
/bigger grin
/ear to ear grin


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Despicable Me 2 Trailers

Some friends in Facebook started sharing trailers of the sequel to CG animated film "Despicable Me". I found them absolutely cute and hilarious.  So I just had to blog about it.


I feel like having banana all of a sudden...


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Birthday Week Part 2: J.O.E. (JR Oca Experience) at Estrogen Valentine, B-Side

On to the second part of my birthday week series of posts. This one is about my gig with J.O.E. (JR Oca Experience) at the Estrogen Valentines event at B-Side on February 14, 2012.  This will be a picture heavy post since there was lot of pictures taken that night by some pretty good photographers.

JR, his wife Jojie, and I ate at Nihonbashite first for some tasty Japanese food. We ate at the upstairs portion of the restaurant because they sport large cooking areas there and cook the food right in front of you. The Valentines themed highlight of the dinner can only be explained by the fried rice picture I took.

We had an amusingly eccentric cook at Nihonbashite. He just formed the fried rice into a heart shape. We all found it cute and started taking pictures of it before we dug into the food. After our sumptuous dinner, we headed over to B-Side.

(All the following pictures in this post are courtesy of myself, Chuck Valerio, Mari Arquiza, Minerva Studio Canada, and Erwin Rentutar) 

It goes without saying that out of all the gigs I had during my birthday week.  This particular gig night had the most people watching.

We were the only non-female fronted band for the night. And we were playing alongside some pretty heavy hitter bands that night. Flying Ipis played first. I'm not an outright fan of Flying Ipis. But I can appreciate how tight the band played.

I believe there was a bunch of kids that performed as a rap group. The group's name escapes me. Sorry!

The next act was Turbo Goth. For an group whose music is largely preset out of a laptop, they actually showed the most energy and stage presence amongst all the acts that night. Sarah Gaugler, the vocalist of the group was, as always, a treat to watch performing. She's just plain easy on both the eyes and the ears. This power couple just released their official music video of their song "Venus Flytrap". These two were joined by Nino on guitar during the latter part of their set.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birthday Week Part 1: SunDownMuse at Black Kings' Bar

I finally get around blogging about my birthday celebration last week.  But I felt it prudent to break it up to a few posts since a lot happened practically every night of last week.

I'll kick this series of posts off with my gig with SunDownMuse at Black Kings' Bar last February 13, 2012. I requested for a leave from work the week prior and got it approved. So it was such a joy to sleep in that day and just look forward to non-work related festivities.

I had practice with one of my other bands, Jack Versus the Crab, at Blue Light Studios that afternoon. It was nice to see my bandmates from that band after being in a 1-2 month gigging haitus. I was particularly happy to see our drummer Fritz, "Dr. Sticks", again. The last time I saw Fritz was when I spent Christmas Eve with him and Windi's family.

I wasn't big on proclaiming that it was my birthday. Hence why my birthday is hidden in Facebook. So it wouldn't show up in people's News Feeds unless it was a Wall Post. I also didn't mention it during Jack Versus the Crab practice. It wasn't because I was hiding it. I just didn't really feel like making a big deal out of my birthday. The net effect of course, was less trivial birthday greetings and a clearer identification of who really knew it was my birthday from the beginning. The other net effect was my bandmates Fritz and Waxie throwing a playful hissy-fit days later upon hearing that it was indeed my birthday that Monday. Sorry!

Practice went smoothly despite not having our bassist. JR was back in the lead guitarist slot. Some people from Jack Daniel's/Rogue Magazine showed up at our practice to take some pictures and video of us.  So I suppose the practice ended up being a semi-show of sorts.

When practice concluded Waxie, Fritz, JR, and I grabbed a bite to eat somewhere to discuss some band issues. JR and I headed back to my apartment to pick up my percs gear for my SunDownMuse gig tonight. I gotta hand it to JR. I'm bandmates with him across 2 bands, Jack Versus the Crab, and his own band J.O.E. (JR Oca Experience). We've been hanging out together more often the past weeks. So we're good friends these days. He volunteered to essentially be my driver to pick up my percs gear and then head to my gig with SunDownMuse. Just so he can be there to celebrate my birthday.

Right before we left my apartment to head to Black Kings' Bar. Joseph called asking if we could wait for him as he was walking over to my apartment building. His work shift just ended at that time. So his call was perfect timing. So it was myself, JR, and Joseph that headed out to BKB together.

(All pictures here were taken by myself, Joi, and Binky.  Thanks you two!)

My bandmates from SunDownMuse and their respective partners started trickling in. I was treating everybody to beers, Jack Daniel's, and whatever food/pica-pica they wanted. It was certainly a night filled with booze and food.

To my surprise, Marco, one of the owners of BKB and his girlfriend were serving us our drinks and food instead of any assigned waiters. Apparently, most if not all the waiters, quit at the same time. Their waiters seriously lacked skills anyway. But at the same time, I felt a little bad for Marco and his girlfriend doing all that work for us. It was really nice of them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Acoustic Nights with Gigo at the Keg

I've slowed down on blogging every single gig I've been having. When you're gigging anywhere from 1-3 times a week, I suppose it's natural that documenting every single one gets a little tedious. Amongst my current job instability and the search for my next opportunity, music continues to be a safe haven and source of happiness. Aside from being in 3 great bands (SunDownMuse, JR Oca Experience J.O.E., and Jack Versus The Crab), I also play percs for my bandmate Gigo at his acoustic gigs at the Keg, Fort Strip.

Gigo has been doing this acoustic thing solo for quite some time prior to joining SunDownMuse. He wanted to gig so badly that he decided to go solo just to satiate his performance hunger. He invited me go play percs for him late last year. And I have quite a few gigs with him at the Keg since then.

These acoustic gigs gave me a chance to play my cajon. I bought my cajon years ago from Popo (drummer of Moonstar 88, All For Patricia, etc.). It was a custom cajon sporting a larger body and 6 strings underneath the hood. This was a lot better than the standard cajons you can buy from music stores. And at the time I bought it, it looked sexier than most.

It's also interesting to note that the initial invented style of my percussion playing, that's more a snare and kick drum style, actually fits quite well on a cajon. Of course, I'm not really playing the cajon the way it's supposed to be played. But it's good enough for me to follow Gigo and enjoy playing.

Gigo's song selection spans as old as songs from the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Stone Temple Pilots, down to his all-time fave John Mayer.  He's a 90s boy just like me.  So a lot of what he plays also come from that era. He's also very much a blues kind of guitar player. So his song selection reflects those two things.

Below are some pictures and a video of our performances at the Keg the past few months. All of these are owned by the Keg management.

Gigo and I have a gig at Keg again soon. We'll be playing there this Thursday night, February 16, 2012. Below is the link to the Keg's Facebook fan page if anybody needs the address to the place.

If you got nothing to do this Thursday. Come join us. It'll be a whole lot of fun.


Monday, February 6, 2012

The Avengers Super Bowl Commercial

It's Super Bowl XLVI Sunday in the States today.  Twitter and Facebook are riddled with updates about the culminating game of the series.  But everybody knows the artist performance and commercials during half time  of Super Bowls are just as equally enticing to watch.  Madonna doing "Like a Prayer" aside, One of the more interesting ones commercials for me is a teaser of the upcoming "Avengers" Movie.  Here is the video clip of it below.

I have an army... We have a Hulk...



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teased by Game of Thrones Season 2

I just watched this teaser video of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. The second season is slated to launch in April 1.

I geekily drooled while watching this.  April 1 just can't get here any sooner.


Friday, January 27, 2012

My Bali Steel Pan Will Be Here Soon!

It's been around 9-10 months so far since I first emailed Bali Steel Pan expressing my interest in purchasing one of their hand pans. I remember blogging about it on the day Chris from Bali Steel Pan replied back to my email.

Yesterday, Chris emails me the following.


Would you like to order a hand pan now?
What scale are you interested in?

Thank you


Yes! The wait is almost over. I was sick yesterday. So I wasn't able to check my personal email then. I just replied back to him clarifying some payment and shipping details.

A few months ago, I emailed Chris asking about the status of my order and if it was possible to change the scale that I initially asked for to another scale that's listed on his website. He responded saying I can pick any scale I want when it's my turn on the order queue. So in my email response back to him just a few minutes ago, I asked for this scale instead.

Minor Pentatonic
F Bb C# Eb F G# Bb C# Eb

I am absolutely stoked to get my hands on a hand pan from Bali Steel Pan! (Pardon if you fumbled through reading that last sentence there. LOL)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Band: The JR Oca Experience (JOE)

I haven't really blogged about a lot of the gigs that have been happening the month or so. I seem to have fizzled out detailing each and every gig given the sheer frequency of it these days. So this is my attempt to rekindle that. Or at least document it here, before they further just all get to be a blur.

One of my bandmates from "Jack Versus the Crab", JR, invited me to join his new band called JR Oca Experience (JOE for short). Now JR Oca is a veteran in the music scene. Some of the bands of note that he's been in are "Third World Project" on guitars and even fronted his own band "Alak Pa". My other bandmates are music scene veterans as well. Berns, the bassist, is from "All For Patricia" amongst a whole slew of other bands currently. Paulo, our drummer, is from a number of bands in the past like "Hale" and "Kjwan". Enzo, our trumpet player is the only veteran exception, like myself. He's my bandmate from "Jack Versus the Crab".

I've had a few gigs with JOE under my belt. JOE is currently recording an EP which I am fortunately a part of. I've recorded percs tracks for 2 of the songs for the EP so far.

It's a little difficult to describe what kind of music JOE plays. So I'll give video examples instead. Below is a video of the first time I jammed with the band. Totally unrehearsed, but somehow the skill of my bandmates just provided for relative ease to follow. This is a Yano cover.

Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo (Cover)

The next few videos is a whole set we had in Malate District bar during the first week of January 2012. It was the first gig I had for the year.

The Chicken (Cover)


Englishman in New York (Cover)

I could've played better especially on my solo on the last song. I haven't quite synched up with Paolo our drummer. But it's getting there especially coming off our Freedom bar gig last Saturday.

I'm fortunate that I am still continually invited to play in other bands despite my lack of skill. I think my selling point is more because I have decent percs gear. Something a little above and beyond your run of the mill djembe drum totting percs guy. But hey, I'll take anything I can get just to have the privilege to play with very talented veteran musicians.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Razer's Project Fiona

Razer debuted its gaming tablet concept design called Project Fiona at the CES 2012. Out of everything I've read of what was showcased at the convention, this particular product was what blew me away.

Check out this hands-on video at the Razer booth at CES 2012 too.

It's a concept design. So just like the Switchblade, it might turn into something else by the time they release it. But if they do release a polished version of this gaming tablet, it'll definitely make me think twice about buying an iPad 2. Sorry Apple, I love your products, but a PC gaming tablet is just way over the top.

/wipe geeky drool