(On Spending Time with Some Philippine Rock Artists, part 3)
In our recent nearly one-month vacation in the Philippines, my former band Half Life Half Death had a successful grand reunion concert held on February 3, 2012, at a venue in Pasig City, Metro Manila, called Club Phi at Metrowalk. Prior to that event, we performed also a number of promotional shows at various places as well as guested on two radio shows—Dig Radio and 88.3 Jam FM Radio.
Reuniting my former band for a series of shows was a part of my agenda for our trip to the Philippines, and I was able to achieve this because of hard work, coordination, and ultimately using all the necessary resources and support available. Significantly helpful also was the fact that Half Life Half Death was one of the pioneers of Philippine Alternative Rock music—having formed in 1988, peaked in the mid-’90s during the commercial boom of Alternative Rock music, released a solo album in 1995 on Viva Records, and gigged prolifically albeit on-and-off until my departure 2003, niching for us a place in the pantheon of Philippine Alternative Rock bands. All these enabled us to produce a number of shows during the vacation, with the assistance of and collaboration with many friends and acquaintances in the music scene—particularly Monx Moncayao and Jonas Brizuela of Requiem Rising Productions (based in Singapore), Clementine Castro and Antonette Maniquis of Lilystars Records of the Philippines, Sazi Cosino of Sazi’s Bar, DJ George Frederick Gabales of DWXB 102.7, DJ “Doctor” Ramon Zialcita and DJ “Ghost” Manolet Rodrigo of DWLA 105.9, and Cookie Chua of Color It Red.
The Gigs and the Guestings
Hard Rock Café Makati (Ayala Center, Makati City). Kudos Loves Eighties is the ultimate ’80s New Wave tribute band in the Philippines because, as far as I knew, they are the only showband that dishes out covers of both popular and obscure New Wave songs. Inna and I watched them perform live on January 24 at Hard Rock Café Makati. Prior to that, the band’s vocalist, Richard Soto, had invited me to jam with them so I could promote our reunion concert, and so I did.
Route 196 (Katipunan Ave. Extension, Blue Ridge A, Quezon City). The first promotional gig that we had was on January 26, at a bar called Route 196, where we performed with fellow New Wave / Indie Pop bands The Camerawalls, The Gentle Isolation, and Your Imaginary Friends—the same bands that opened for us at our grand reunion concert.
Dig Radio (Guijo St., Makati City). On January 28, I with Inna and Jonas Brizuela of Requiem Rising Productions were assisted by Vin Dancel and then interviewed by Jason Caballa and Evee Kae Simon at Dig Radio at the online radio station’s headquarters. Dancel and Caballa were both members of the Philippine bands Twisted Halo and Peryodiko, and then Caballa is currently with the band Pedicab.
Sazi’s Bar (Espana Ave., Manila). Next was on January 28, at Sazi’s Bar (formerly Mayric’s), where we headlined the event “Back to the Edge: Tribute to DWLA 105,” joined by a number of fellow 1990s-active Alternative Rock bands that included Philippine Violators and The Youth. I co-organized this concert with my bandmate Aldrin Cardona and the bar’s owner Sazi Cosino. LA 105.9 was a now-defunct Philippine FM radio station that gave us and many other Philippine Alternative Rock bands regular airplay in the mid-’90s.
Tiendesitas (E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Pasig City). Weeks prior to our trip to the Philippines, I contacted Cookie Chua, the vocalist of Color It Red, to ask her if we could perform at any of their gigs to promote our reunion concert. She said yes, and so we set the date: January 30 at Tiendesitas, a commercial complex that featured live bands, where Color It Red played regularly.
Gweilo’s Bar (Palanca St., Makati City). Clementine Castro of The Camerawalls invited us to perform an acoustic set at one of his band’s regular gigs at Gweilo’s Bar. On February 1 we performed as the Half Life Trio—HLHD lead guitarist Rain Paggao on acoustic guitar, haLf man haLf eLf’s violinist Christine Mazur (who joined me and my family on our Philippine vacation) on the violin, and me on vocals and bellkit.
Focusing on the Musical Accomplishments…
(To be continued in the next issue)