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.

Then soon after Imago played. They've been around the scene for a long time now. And they still sound rock solid.

It was a pleasure to be playing alongside kick-ass musicians. We played right after Kitchie Nadal. Interestingly enough, Kitchie had some kids from the rap group that performed earlier that night to jam with her. Contrary to her light skinned looks the last few times I've seen her perform. That night she was donning a bronzed tone on her skin. I figured she's been living at the beach these days. She still looks very attractive mind you.

It was around this time that my friend Joanne texted asking if I had a gig tonight. I mentioned that I was about to play in B-Side and I invited her to come watch us. She arrived a little later during Kitchi Nadal's set with a friend of hers, Ashley. It was so nice to see her after a long time.

After several good bands and a considerable amount of Jack Cokes, it was our turn to play. Do take note that there is an extreme picture bias of my band in this post. It's my blog after all.


Our trumpet player Enzo Bautista and bass player Bern Cuevas unfortunately couldn't make it to the gig. So JR employed the pro-bono services of sax player Kobe and bass extroardinaire, Allen Umali. Kobe is one of the horn players in my other band, Jack Versus the Crab. Allen on the other hand is a veteran bass player and songwriter in the music scene. He's the bassist and one of the principle songwriters of a band called Third World Project (which JR was a part of as well). Allen is also the current bassist of Sinosikat.

The first song we played was a James Brown cover popularized by Jaco Pastorius called "The Chicken". The song largely came off as Jazz. I suppose the crowd appreciated the different music genre feel of our band as a welcome detour from the earlier acts.

The second song we played was a Yano cover titled "Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo". This totally caught the crowd off-guard. We started the song off on an out Jazzy noise way. JR loves doing this at the start of this particular cover. The crowd didn't get what the song was until JR actually started singing. As soon as JR uttered the first few lines of the song. The crowd instantly identified it with the Yano original and cheered on.

The last song we played was a Sting cover called "Englishman in New York". The song is a standard cover that is played by a lot of bands. But they way we play it involves allowing each band member to adlib solo. I think I did pretty well in my solo for the song. Of course, Paolo Santiago, our drummer, adjusted to my faster pace which made me sound good more than my actual skill. The crowd kept on clapping and cheering after each band member took their turn to solo. But what brought the house down was when Paolo stood up from his drum kit. He went right in front, grabbed a mic, and started beatboxing in true Paolo Santiago fashion. By the time we smoothly flowed backed into the last part of the cover song, the crowd looked so energized.

The pleasant surprise was that even though we only played 3 cover songs that night (the rest of the acts played 45 minute to 1 hour sets), the crowd showed a lot of appreciation for our set. There was a lot of loud cheering. The crowd was clapping along to our playing. It took us a around 5-10 minutes just to make our way to where our friends, girlfriends, and wives were at the back. The reason why it took us so long is that people kept high-fiving us, shaking our hand, grabbing our arms, and praising us for such a wonderful set. I'm sure JR himself gets that all the time when he gigs. But for me, that's pretty rare. It was such an exhilarating feeling.

We played right before UpDharmaDown which was such a priviledge. I've always been a huge fan of this band. And proud to say that the bassist is a family friend to boot. Obviously, they were the most popular band. As soon as they started playing the crowd all squeezed in right up to the stage.  DSLRs, video cameras, and cellphones started looming over people's heads.

Unfortunately we didn't catch Playphonics since they were the last act for the night (fellow Jack Daniel's Chosen 7 band with my other band Jack Versus the Crab). It was pretty late by then. All of us wanted to either go home or change venue.

JR and I dropped his wife Jojie home. We then went back to my place so I can drop off all my percussion gear and at least change out of my very sweaty shirt. (Note to self: Always carry an extra shirt in your gig bag. For the nth time, don't forget!).

We then proceeded to WG Diner since it's one of the few places still open at that hour. Joanne and Ashley followed after hanging out with some of their other friends in Central. We drank, we ate, and we laughed until the sun rose. I was thankful to JR, Joanne, and Ashley for keeping me company until the end of such a fantastic night.


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