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.

I'm sure the other 6 bands felt it too.  There was this sense of comradery amongst the bands.  The tour with the 7 bands bands was a year long experience that spanned across venues such as Whitespace, Eastwood, etc.  Gigging with the same bands under the Jack Daniel's banner does pave the way for all the bands to identify with each other to a certain extent.  I found myself talking to the other 6 bands, even the ones I barely interacted with during the tour.  I just plainly shook all their hands, and let them know how privileged I was to have toured with them.  A lot of Jack Daniel's toasts came about from all the friendly talk amongst the bands. /clink /clink

Photo above by Cris Pangan

The rest of the 6 bands were told that they only had a 3 song sets.  For Jack Versus the Crab, we were told we could only play 2 songs and we were the first band to kick the night off.  We couldn't really blame the organizers for dictating a 2 song set for us, given that we end up extending any given song of ours well past 10 minutes.  Our drummer Fritz "Dr. Sticks" also had a gig with another band later that evening.  So being the first band to play was welcome.

Below are videos of our set.  Watching these videos months after the event, does put a smile on my face even until now.

Your Smiles

The Song I Never Finished

I was particularly proud of how my solo in our last song turned out (at least the first half of it).  I was flying on Jack Cokes very early in the evening.  And I did feel a bit of nervous due to the fact that my bandmates' solos were all kick ass.  My bandmates all pulled out a little something extra for that gig.  So I was worried, I wouldn't be able to to do the same.  Luckily drunken bandmate, JR, kept cheering on stage.  This kinda help get me into my solo.  I think I overplayed near the end, I should've given Fritz a hand-off way sooner than I did.  But Fritz's high-five and bro-hug to me after the set told me he was happy with what we both conjured up for that song.

The rest of the bands that played that night were all impressive.  There wasn't a single band that played that didn't show why they were part of the Chosen 7 bands.  Jack Versus the Crab was such a big band to begin with, that we were the only ones that didn't think of bringing in reinforcements for the night.  The rest of the bands were either totting a full marching band, keyboardists, violinists, percussionists, DJs, and even ballet and belly dancers.  This made every band's performances even more entertaining from what I've seen from all of them during the tour.

Our lead guitarist, JR, was even awarded best guitarist of JD Set and JB Music.  You can tell how happy JR is with the award given that he still talks about it to his friends and bandmates months after that night.  Way to go JR!  That's mah bandmate yo!

The only remote drama that happened that night was one of the bands' huge disappointment of not making it into the Top 3.  While the rest of the bands felt the same for not making it to the Top 3.  What irked me the most was the band and their fans bad mouthed how Jack Daniel's handled the voting tallies.  Spewing lack of fair play from their mouths backstage and on Facebook days after wasn't really a mature way of handling that disappointment.  Jack Versus the Crab was part of the Top 3 for a few months too.  But you don't see us crying "no fair!" come the finale event.  Jack Daniel's is running an elaborate marketing campaign, plain and simple.  Regardless of the vote tallies that goes towards the selection of the Top 3 bands, they also have to consider their marketing reach.  The top 3 definitely had both the votes and marketing reach Jack Daniel's was looking for.  So you don't hear my band complaining about the manner in which the Top 3 bands were selected.

A concoction of music scene veterans the likes of Louie Talan, Sammy, Kat Agarrado, etc. played after the 7 bands.  That was a treat to my ears both inside the theater and right outside next to the venue's bar (which is where we hung out most of the night).

I did get to meet an interesting female photographer in person.  I knew her from all the fantastic photos she took from various gigs around the music scene that she posts on Facebook and her Tumblr site.  But this was the first time I met her in person.  She had a warmth about her that I don't feel in most people.  Of course, I continue to be a novice at making conversation and holding a girl's interest.  So that didn't really go anywhere.  Which, fast forward to today, is a moot point anyway, given my tactlessness towards her about a month ago.  So whatever remote chances I would have with her are more or less extinguished by now.  I have a knack of being a jack-ass at times.  Oh well.

The memory The JD Set Finale at Music Museum was a good memory with all the music shared, booze drank, and her in the mix.  I shall cherish the memory and the collective memories from the JD Set 7 Tour for years to come.

Photo above by Cyndy Patueg


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