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Why Walk the Moon’s first series of Manila shows sucks

August 28, 2015

I am making a separate blog for all music-related posts. Hope you’ll enjoy this site, as well.

S.P.A.M. that J.A.M.

Eli, Nick, Kevin, and Sean--collectively known Walk the Moon--gave their Filipino fans five shows from August 18 to 20, 2015. Eli, Nick, Kevin, and Sean–collectively known as Walk the Moon–gave their Filipino fans five shows from August 18 to 20, 2015.

It’s been a week since Walk the Moon came to the Philippines and gave their Filipino fans five shows in different Metro Manila malls. If you’re one of them spirit animals coping with PCD (no, not Pussy Cat Dolls but post-concert depression), you are not alone. Those electrifying shows come with a price, alas. Now you find your self humming WTM songs more than ever, starting the day by checking out the photos and videos you took, and tucking yourself to sleep by visiting the band’s social media sites should they have any posts related to their recent Asian trip.

Why all the fuss? It’s not like the band was that good. They’re not. They’re very good. Those who’ve been following this indie rock band from Ohio even before “Shut…

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All Pinoy musicians are dumb, submissive and scared shitless of white people

July 1, 2015

CHUBIBO!

master This is apparently the flawed impression of the caucasian Chief Operating Officer of Resorts World  Manila.

I say this because of an incident that happened recently.

Hotdog band was about to wrap up a lucrative deal with a reputable casino group and it involved the use of the song “Manila” which my brother, Rene Garcia & I (Dennis) created.

Sadly, the deal fell through because the prospective client found out that the lyrics of the song “Manila” was emblazoned on the casino floor of a competitive establishment.

Many people have been telling me about this but I never really found time to see it for myself.

So one day, I finally went and saw the “thing”. The core lyrics of Manila at the pricey Resorts World Manila – on display… without permission, without attribution, without remuneration and with absolutely no guilt.

Strategically positioned by the cashier's cage Strategically positioned by the cashier’s cage

I guess I wasn’t…

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You Know It’s You by Slow Hello

February 19, 2014

The latest from Slow Hello. I actually love hearing this song on radio lately. I enjoyed watching the video because it’s so unpretentious, now I’m on the “Youtubing” mode of their other songs.

The latest single from The Fray is out

January 15, 2014

There’s a huge chance that The Fray’s upcoming fourth album Helios will be leaning towards more upbeat tracks so if you are part of the million fans who loved their previous albums–especially the first three because of “Ungodly Hour”, “Uncertainty”, “Vienna”, “Happiness”, “Never Say Never”, “You Found Me”, “I Can Barely Say”, “Rainy Zurich” and “Be Still”–you  might do a double take on giving Helios a listen. It’s not the first time The Fray released quick, fast-paced songs, mind you. The Denver-based quintet has been quite successful with “All at Once”, “Here We Are”, “Say When”, “1961”, “She is”, and “Turn Me On”, to name a few. But when they released their first single from Helios, “Love Don’t Die” last October and followed it up  recently with “Hurricane”–two upbeat songs in a row–one cannot help but wonder if Isaac Slade and the rest of the band is indeed gearing for the more pop, quick, even sanguine songs. While we wait for the new album to come out (it was supposed to be launched yesterday, January 14 but was moved to February 25 instead), check out Hurricane, the second single from The Fray’s fourth album, Helios:

In Search of a Writing Playlist

January 8, 2014

Some would say listening to music while trying to write is impossible. I thought so too, but that was before I had more choices as to when and where to write. (Of course, a more creative writing requires a different setup.)

Lately I needed the noise so I could be at peace with my ‘writing self’. Without really thinking about it, I just found myself setting my MP3 player to a specific album when I wanted to write and finish whatever I was writing.

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Two years ago, I discovered that Adele’s “21” was a good and effective album to listen to while writing. I actually don’t have a rigid set of rules on choosing a writing playlist: just a set of songs that will allow me to space out so I can focus more into writing; a set of songs that can drown the outside noise but provide me the ear for listening to my own thoughts.

I think the reason “21” made a good writing companion was that it was not too loud nor too soft or soothing to the point that you will fall asleep when you listen to it. The beats of Adele’s songs are enough to keep my brain cells alert but not too sharp that they create chaos in my mind. I can still sift through my ideas even while my ears are tuned in to the rhythm and the lyrics of dealing with heartaches, of fighting back the urge of going after your ex and of standing up again and finally moving on.

Last year, I found myself beating the deadline in coffee shops more often. Loving Up Dharma Down’s “Capacities”, I unconsciously assigned the album as my writing playlist. I could not hear the noise around me but I could still think and write while Armi Millare was humming in the background.

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Two years and two albums after, I sit here in front of my computer, iPod on shuffle, my fingers more often than not tinkering with the play and forward buttons—all because I can’t seem to sync my mind to one single album that could make ideas flow more smoothly.

I have my running playlist, my wake-up-and-shake-your-body playlist, and my other personalized albums but I don’t have a new writing playlist. So now I’m torn: should I go pick an album just like before and make it my writing playlist or should I concoct my own version of I’m-in-a-groove-to-write album?  A big part of me wants to explore new albums out there or maybe rediscover existing ones.  Another part tells me to spend time choosing songs that best suit the pace of my writing. But doing so will only be ‘recycling’ the songs that I have with me, right?

How about you? Do you have a “writing” or “doing your thing/craft” song/s?

Hold the Horses: Let’s Look Back at 2013

January 1, 2014

Before we end the first day of January and trot our way to 2014, here’s a  toast to 2013.

2013 was an extension of my 2012—growth—and the realization (of sort) my word for this year—receive. I have been blessed with extended families called friends and I would like to believe 2013 has been a great year for me when it came to opportunities and career, of traveling and meeting new people, of saying yes when everyone seems to say no—basically receiving both life’s challenges and rewards.

All in all, 2013 was all about:

receive

Asking and receiving without the guilt. I’ve learned that it is okay to ask—for help, for forgiveness, and for what you want, especially for something you think you deserve. It is not cowardice to admit you cannot do anything and everything. Just as it is not wrong to assert what you think, you deserve to ask from the people around you (and from the Universe in general) the things you think you deserve. It is also not wrong to give second chances to the people who have either failed or hurt you. At the same time, you must learn to forgive yourself for your shortcomings. It is okay to commit mistakes and take wrong turns just as long as you are willing to make up for it.

Acceptance and bond. Friends will be friends. Love them or hate them they will be the first in line to listen to your rants, eat and drink to your triumphs and tribulations, laugh at your stupidity and even make an effort to try to laugh at your corny jokes. Some may drift away. You might drift away. Some friendships remain strong after years of no communication at all while there are those forged in just a short time.

2013 was my first trip with my SMB barkada—a friendship that was born out of listening to the same radio station and has grown to sharing other passions in life such as music, movies, sports and food. I would not have made it through 2013 if not for these crazy people. They were my uppers when depression hit me, my sounding boards when I needed to vent out and yes, my mirrors when I needed reminders to live in reality. I am glad to be their friend.

friends

I’ve also accepted that not all your friends can stay with you, at least in proximity. This does not mean that you burn the bridges and turn your back on them. You remain their friend and hopefully they remain your friends, too.

 

Openness and letting go. I’ve learned to believe that everyone has a good side in him/her. You just need to be patient to see it. When people seem to make your life difficult, pause and try to put yourself in their shoes. It is not an easy task but it is not impossible. And if everything fails, if these people keep on hurting you, walk away and move on.  You deserve better. 

Investing. I decided it’s time I think about my future. I also realized it’s okay to spend time, effort and money on things that matter to me. I’m just starting but hopefully I gain ground as the months pass by.

Living the dream. A lot of my dreams came true in 2013. I finally had my first trip out of the country. I met Linkin Park and watched their concert. I ran and survived my first 10k and ended the year with my first 16k. I got to interview one of my dream subjects (interviewees) and wrote my first cover story. I even gained a noticeable amount of weight! Looking back I never thought these things could happen but they did. I also got to write more.  I thank those editors who believed in me. I know the best way to express my gratitude is to come up with clean and read-worthy copies.

They say 2014 will be a difficult year for us born under the Wood Rat but I say no year was free of hardships so why stress yourself too much and worry?

So here is my wish:

May 2014 bring us love to understand ourselves and the people around us; courage to face our fears and meet new challenges; wisdom to remember our mistakes in the past and to make the right choices in the present; health to keep us on our feet so we can also help others; peace for us to hear and listen to our hearts, as well as to the hearts of other people; and fortune because we all need some luck to make life easier.

Have a great 2014 everyone!

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“Cause baby, I’m not scared of this world when you’re here.”

                                         —Silenced by the Night, Keane

Linkin Park’s Living Things World Tour: A Dream Come True Concert

September 8, 2013

There are dreams that seem unreachable and impossible. Yet if you just wish hard and pray sincerely enough, one day that dream might just come true.

I missed Linkin Park’s concert when they first came here in 2004. I was still a student during that time and spending for concert shows was not an attractive idea. So when the concert industry took a second wind with international acts coming to the country to perform, I was one of the million soldiers who went to social media to petition concert producers to take Linkin Park here.

The bands just kept on coming—old and new, they caught me under a spell that I find myself wanting to watch their every show. Yet deep inside, I was hoping that Chester, Mike, Joe, Brad, Rob, and Phoenix would take notice of their Filipino fans and come back to the Philippines.

Then the day came. Gut feeling was already telling me that finally, LP will drop by the country as part of their world tour. They day before they made the official announcement I got news from a friend that it was indeed, LP, having a concert by August 13.

The sudden euphoria when the one thing you’ve been waiting for to happen actually happens. Excitement takes over your whole body and you spread the news to your friends who are also fans of the band.

Then reality hits me. The venue was too far (you were expecting Araneta) and then ticket prices made me cry. Too expensive. I just don’t want to empty my pocket that way. It’s just too impractical. Yet deep inside, I knew that if anyone asked me to have VIP tickets with him/her, I would easily give in. (Thank God no friend did!). So I took my time deciding which ticket to purchase and finally settled with the next best section available—Gold Standing.

Like the other hard core fans, I joined contests.

I told myself if I cannot be the first in line of the crowd, I might as well meet the band. So I wished hard. I prayed hard for a miracle.

I was about to give up.

Surprise

Morning of the concert, I got the best news of my life (so far): I won a Meet and Greet pass from Scala Events (the local producer) and LPU. Was I dreaming? I had to check my e-mail again and again. Damn. There was my name!

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I didn’t care if I had to wake up early to cover an event in the morning. All I knew was my prayers have been answered. I am going to meet my favorite band.

You know that feeling when you are about to do something big you get too scared? That was what I was feeling as the clock ticked that day.

“I am going to meet Linkin Park.

“I am going to meet Linkin Park!

“Oh, God. Please don’t let me say or do stupid things when it’s my turn. Oh, wait. I hope they make it a one-on-one session. Not just a photo op. I really want to talk to them….

“What will I say to them? ‘I am your biggest fan.’ No. I don’t think I can say that. I know I’m not.

“What took you so long to come back?”

Yeah. If you saw me roaming the streets with an odd look on my face that day, that was because I was having all these thoughts in my head.

Meeting your fellow soldiers

The nice thing about concerts especially during M&Gs is you get to meet people who also dig your favorite band. Some of them you might just know by their online names while you meet there in the venue itself.

I had to rush to the venue because we had a call time. Falling in line, I met the other winners/fans. The guy before me was Carl. The girl behind me was Eunice.

The walk to the M&G room was short but it was like a lifetime.

Missy (in charge of the M&G) briefed us on how the process will take place. There would a group photo with the band and then we would have to take steps back so we would form a line with our backs on the wall and wait for our turn for the band members to approach us and sign our stuff (poster, shirt, CD. I chose the cover of my Living Things CD).

Missy had to remind us again of the rules:

No one-on-one picture taking

Stay in your line

Don’t faint when it’s your turn.

 

Meeting the band

Everyone was trying to calm down while waiting for the band. A lot of fans were warming up with the others. Some were taking souvenir photos of the group.

When Mr. Hann stepped in, the room went crazy. I had to crane my neck to see him. And even before we had formed our line, he started approaching us and signing our stuff. He was the first to sign my CD. I was so stunned I didn’t get to say anything but, “Hi, welcome back!”

The rest of the LP members came in and you could tell Mike and Chester was in the room because everyone, even the boys, just couldn’t help themselves.

The official photo for the LPU website had to be taken first so we had to sit down. I was seated near guitarist Brad and Chester sat front and center. I had to stop myself from moving upfront because it would look impolite for me to leave Brad, right?

Photo courtesy of Linkin Park Underground

Photo courtesy of Linkin Park Underground

What touched me was how Mike squeezed himself among the people at the back when he could have just stayed up front. It was really very nice of him to do that.

We then waited for our turn to have our items signed. Phoenix, Brad and Rob all got my shy “Welcome back and thank you”. You could tell I was bracing myself for my turn with Mike and Chester.

Mike, Mike, Mike. Such a cool and sweet guy. He was the only one from the band whose smile never faded during the entire M&G. And you can really feel he was sincere. I really wanted to hug him. I wish I did.

Waiting for THE Chester Bennington to come my way.

Waiting for THE Chester Bennington to come my way.

Now when it was Chester’s turn to sign my CD, here was how it went (not verbatim though):

Me (when Chester was about to sign my CD cover): Uhm…Hi, Chester (smiling, holding my breath). Welcome back to Manila.

Chester (looking at me, smiling too): Thank you! It’s nice to be back. (about to turn to the girl next to me)

Me: Yeah, it took you so long. Nine years…(still holding my breath)

Chester (turning his attention back to me): Wow, that long?

Me: Yeah…

I swear, I could have died there. Okay, maybe that’s too much but it really felt that way. It was surreal. It was my dream coming true.

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Then Some More

I was in hysteria as I was talking to my friend on the phone (Oh yeah, I have his tickets! Haha!) but nothing prepared me for what was about to happen next.

We thought we were being ushered back to the entrance. We found ourselves at the VIP section of the concert grounds.

I just had to scream. Good thing Eunice (who became my concert buddy for that night) was as ecstatic as me. I just couldn’t believe my luck.

Urbandub was on their last few songs when we got there. Too bad I didn’t get to watch their set in full. Just the same, I was dancing and singing when they sang First of Summer.

We waited for Linkin Park to start their show. We didn’t get disappointed. What took place in the next minutes was what the fans had been hoping for. We waited for nine years (13 for me).

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A lot of their songs came from the Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums but they also played few tracks from A Thousand Suns and their latest, Living Things:

A Place for My Head

Papercut

Given Up

New Divide

With You

Somewhere I Belong

 

Lies Greed Misery

Points of Authority

Waiting in the End

Breaking the Habit

 

Castle of Glass

Leave Out All the Rest/Shadow of the Day/Iridescent

Numb

What I’ve Done

Burn it Down

In the End

Bleed it Out

 

Encore

Tinfoil

Faint

Lying from You

OSC

 

It’s very. very difficult to choose which song or set was the best because I enjoyed every part of the concert. But I really loved the medley of Leave Out All the Rest, Shadow of the Day, and Iridescent. The entire Mall of Asia brightened with lights coming from the audience’ phones and glow sticks. And the three songs really hold a special place in my heart so it was really an effort not to cry during this set!

We were standing a few meters away from the stage. And it was really hard to see the band since most of the people had their cameras or phones up! I hated the fact that the two guys in front of me were big guys (they were foreigners) so I just enjoyed the music and let the crowd push me towards the stage.

With more push and with my size, I finally found myself standing in the second row of the right side of the stage. It was amazing.

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Then during the encore, Mike crowd surfed (on my other side) and Chester came closer to the audience! Everyone was trying to get close to him. I was right there in the middle, getting squeezed by these people around me. Instead of resisting the force, I allowed myself to get pushed again. Then I started reaching out…

At first I got the wrong hand but on my second try, I had my left hand around Chester’s right arm. I didn’t care if my neck was killing me or if people were still trying to get close to Chester. I held on to him for as long I could remember. He was belting out and I was like holding on for dear life.

Then it came to the part we hated the most: the band playing their last song and saying goodbye to the crowd.

We didn’t want them to go. Flyers that bear “Come back soon!” were also noticed by the band.

“Best crowd in the tour so far,” was what Chester said of the Filipino fans.

Like the rest of LP soldiers, I hope it doesn’t take them another nine years to come back.

Right now though, almost a month after the concert, I still couldn’t believe I have ticked one item off my bucket list: to watch Linkin Park live and meet them in person.

It just goes to show that dreams really do come true.