Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Was Our Eraserheads Reunion

So I wasn't at the Eraserheads reunion concert last night. For people who know me as a big (no fat jokes, please) music fan, that takes a bit more explanation than I'm willing to get into right now. But I was happy that Yvette and I got to be at soundcheck the night before, to watch and listen to the reunited E-heads go through several complete songs from their repertoire, as well as bits and pieces of their other songs and even a couple of covers (I almost swooned when they did a bit of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust"). That was enough for me, really. And I was happy for the people who were going last night, who would be witnesses to the most highly anticipated concert in this country since... well, ever.

Around the time the concert was starting, I was having dinner at Pancake House with Kidlat and Lissa. Our talk naturally turned to music and bands and motivations and dynamics and the Eraserheads, just as I was getting texts from friends who were at the venue. A little over an hour later, Kids and Lissa had gone home and I had walked to the nearby Eunilaine supermarket to buy some groceries. That was when the texts about Ely being rushed to the hospital started to reach me. It was a very weird sensation, getting the news and having absolutely no one near me to share it with, to freak out with.

Walked to the Burger Machine down the street to buy food to take home. While I was waiting for my order, this fresh-faced couple dropped by. The girl was toting a Stephanie Meyer novel, the guy had that day's Manila Bulletin. I suddenly remembered that I hadn't checked yet whether my Saturday music column had come out on time (I had submitted it rather late), so I asked the guy where he had bought it. He ended up giving it to me (thanks, man, whoever you are), and I ended up talking to the two of them, complete strangers, about the E-heads concert and Ely's collapse. (They were E-heads fans, of course; the girl more than the guy. I think almost everyone in a ten-year radius of my age is an E-heads fan.) That was how much I needed to talk to someone about what felt like a triumphant/tragic moment in Pinoy music history.

By the time I got home I had learned that Ely was in Makati Med, in stable condition, reportedly. Denise called and gave me a first-hand account of the show and we talked 'til my phone battery died. I went online early this morning, and sure enough, everything was Eraserheads: aside from the official news stories on Ely's condition and the concert, more than half of the recent status updates on Facebook had to do with the Eraserheads, and friends were posting lengthy and in many cases quite affecting accounts of the night, on their blogs. Already quoted Sarah earlier, but two more posts in particular deserve mention:

First, Oli's evocative and extremely well-written account: “It was a transformative show. A countdown timer had people chanting, as if it were New Year's Eve, the seconds before the E-heads would be together again at long last. A drumburst from the darkened stage let us know that they were there and when the familiar chords to Alapaap broke through, we all felt tearjerky. The songs rolled out like old intimates welcomed back into our lives after years of absence. From my vantage point in the middle of the Patrons section, I captured some videos on my old point-and-shoot. What the official DVD release will not be able to capture is Ely's voice remixed with the voices of countless fans singing along -- in low intensity during less familiar lyrics, in full throated throttle during the choruses. The Eraserheads seemed to realize this, and at moments, Mr. Buendia would lay back, content with accompanying the fans who were doing the singing for him. This was our reunion concert too.” [Full post here.]

And then there's Katwo's amazing post, which covers her personal history growing up with the E-heads' music, all the way to yesterday's concert and the now-legendary follow-up jam at saGuijo right after. "This was the eraserheads. This was OUR eraserheads reunion 2nd set, because this was just US. Everyone in the room sang, it didn't matter who was at the mic. The band was just there to assist everyone to purge all feelings, memories and to commemorate the greatness that is the eraserheads. And the gig was such a contrast to the Fort stage. No state of the art stage production, raims and buddy didn't even have their complete instrument set up, there was no 5 meter barricade from the artists, there were only a about, at the most, 200 hundred people in the crowd, free beer getting served, there were no SVIP sections, no security guys, no swanky buffet food, no press. But there we were shouting Tang Ina to Pare Ko, singing Tito vic and joey with Aia on Spolarium, doing our lalalala-la-las to El Bimbo." [Full post here.]

Is it strange that I don't regret not being at The Fort for the first set, but sorely wish I had been at saGuijo for the unofficial second? For a glimpse of the sweaty shouty blissful fun, click here for "Magasin" (thanks to Quark) and here for "Ang Huling El Bimbo" (thanks to Mark).

I'll end with another quote from Katwo. "I finally gave in to my fan-girl self and told Buddy that they've changed my life in more ways than they can imagine. They might have inspired me, but I still did all the legwork to change my life." Well said, well said.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Awesome, Rocking, Surreal

"Tonight was one of the most fun, awesome, rocking and... surreal nights of my life."

Here's an excerpt from Sarah Cada's account of last night's reunion concert of Ely, Raimund, Buddy and Marcus (or, as I like to call it, "E2: Eraserheads United.")


The crowd was going crazy (myself included) because... well, this was just the band that pretty much left a HUGE dent in Philippine music and helped shape it as we know it today. Those guys are legends. And they pretty much shaped my musical preferences, too, since I grew up listening to them since I was in 3rd grade.

They played my three most favorite songs: Minsan, Huwag Kang Matakot and, finally, LIGHTYEARS!!! My ultimate favorite song EVER!!! That was their last song for the first set, and they went backstage for a 20-minute intermission.


Twenty minutes passed, and the band wasn't back on stage.

Another minute. And another. And another.

I was starting to wonder what was going on backstage.

And then some people went on stage. Crew people attending to the instruments. and then some more people came on stage. Buddy, Marcus, and Raymund. And they were not making their way to their instruments. And Ely was not on stage with them.

No way.


Read the whole account here.

Last we heard, Ely was in stable condition at Makati Medical. Our sympathies and best wishes to him and his family.


So wow; it's really happening, and it's really happening tonight.

Just got home half an hour ago; the sun's up and I'm hoping I can catch enough sleep before a meeting I have scheduled for noon, but am all jangly-awake in a good way. It's like I'm all hopped up on caffeine. Which I am, actually, but the real reason I'm jangly-awake is this: We got to watch the Eraserheads soundcheck last night at the Fort's Open Field.

I think it took a few moments for the fact to sink in: Ely, Raimund, Buddy and Marcus were performing together, again, right in front of us.

Tonight should be great.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ben and Rose and Archie and Betty and Veronica

I never, ever thought I would read an article about Archie comics that would bring me to tears. (Though the advance press for Archie vs. the Punisher came close.) But, well -- here you go.

"They breezed in one Sunday afternoon, wide eyed and cheerful. Both must have been in their late 70s or early 80s. I watched as they casually walked the floor, browsing and whispering to one another. The one thing that immediately struck me was that they were holding each other's hands. I remember thinking about how lucky it must be to get to that stage of life and not only be with someone you love, but also want to hold their hand."

Of course, it's not really about Archie comics. But of course, it also is. Just read it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Best of

Kjwan triumphant at the Philippine IKON Finals sponsored by

It's been almost an entire year since I decided to leave my position as Senior Web Editor of Wolfpac Mobile Inc. -- or more specifically, Editor-in-Chief of the music site By September 2007 I was out of there, though I did continue to write and upload articles through the CMS until 2008. I have some regrets, but I think I made the right decision. I did love putting together though, and I do miss working with the Pulse people and the rest of Wolfpac: Joelle especially, and of course Pats, Rad, Richard, Deo, as well as Eric, Jaja, Mitch, Arvin, Ian, Bona, Coy, Butch, Jojit, Trish, Anna, Sweet, Rexy, everyone. They're great people.

So anyway, thanks to Aldus' recent interview with Marcus Adoro, I found myself clicking through the archives -- and man, I don't mean to sound too self-aggrandizing, but there is a lot of amazing stuff there. It reminded me of the best parts of my old job. Suddenly I missed brainstorming with Joelle and Pats about artists to feature and events to cover and all that, and I missed choosing and assigning and even editing freelancers, not to mention covering and writing stuff myself. I missed impromptu lessons on hip-hop lore from Arvin and Rad's daily doses of sheer insanity.

Here are ten of my favorite features from the archives (and yes, I did not exclude my stuff). The site's search function is a little off -- run a search on mine or Joelle's name, for example, and only a handful of results pop up (as opposed to the million jillion articles we actually wrote). Plus the Lowdown feature seems to have disappeared from the drop-down menu. But anyway, here are the ten favorites I came up with by clicking through the years on the right-hand side. (Click on the article titles to read them in full.)

Noel Cabangon and Hannah Romawac photographed at an Earth Day concert for the Pulseparazzi section

by Joelle Jacinto and Luis Katigbak

“From dramatic death-obsessed screamo epics to Celeste Legaspi-sampling hip-hop: here are the best songs of 2006.” (Can you tell I had fun writing subheads for all the articles?)

I loved writing these "Best Of" features with Joelle. I wish we had done this again for 2007, but of course, by the end of that year, both of us had left Dividing the labor was fun. ("You write about Scissor Sisters, MCR and Muse, I'll take Lupe Fiasco, Lily Allen and Up dharma Down...") And of course, there's the companion piece:

by Joelle Jacinto and Luis Katigbak

"From sexy, dancepunkish self-reinventions to sexy, distinctively Pinoy R&B... You can tell that we like us some sexy. here are the best albums of 2006."

I might change some of the rankings and maybe replace one or two choices now, but on the whole, it's still a list I'd stand by.

by Erwin Romulo

"Music critic, film director and all-around creative force Erwin Romulo talks to old punks, looks at Pinoy rock's past and present, and identifies the most important acts of our time."

An overview of the lively 2006 scene, from mainstream to underground, that somehow manages in the end to be more inspiring than cynical.

Pulse people! L to R: me, Joelle, Pats, Rayna, Richard of IKON Singapore, and Jojit

by Terry Gonzales

"Last July 30, legendary rock band The Cure played in Hong Kong for the first time. Terry Gonzales shares her thoughts on the matter." featured a lot of great events coverage, from people like Jewel Regal, Aldus Santos, Kristine Lim, Maniel O'yek, Nina Sandejas, and of course Joelle and myself. There are two events pieces that I particularly enjoyed though. Terry's sole article for was one of them; had I stayed on as Pulse EIC I would definitely have bugged her for more. Here's an excerpt: "I arrived in Hong Kong in the perfect state to see a Cure concert: restless, lovelorn, and slightly unwashed. It was a day for an excess of eyeliner and melodrama."

by Paolo Enrico Melendez

"Eric Melendez reports from the front lines of the NOFX concert at the Amoranto Theatre last April 18: from slow start to fiery frenzy."

And here's my other favorite event coverage feature, by Eric. That last paragraph still gets me every time.

by Yvette Tan

"Their music may be dark and dramatic, but these guys have a sense of humor: Chicosci talks about haircuts, gayness, giant billboards along EDSA, and other bands' lyrics."

Yvette has written many an excellent article for, but this one stands out for me: interesting, informative, amusing; even people who don't like Chicosci will have fun reading it. Here's Miggy and Mong explaining their appeal: "'Androgyny,' Mong adds, 'Or let’s just say it straight up. Our gayness,' he deadpans. 'Our gayness!' Miggy laughs. 'What’s up, bitches?'"

The Radioactive Sago Project: the only band to ever get a perfect score, 10/10, in the Pulse Reviews section

by Joelle Jacinto

"There are songs that can provide comfort from the literal and metaphorical storms in your life. Joelle Jacinto lists ten of the songs that do that for her."

Joelle, being a writing staff of one, wrote tons of stuff, all of it good. I could make a list filled with "greatest hits" by Joelle alone: the Helen feature, her Lowdown piece on working at Sony, her piece on Jesus Christ Superstar, and so on. This one's special though. An excerpt:

"Sometime in mid-June, my friend Kathy put together a playlist for her friends. I listened to it and felt embraced, comforted, as if it were raining outside and she provided me warmth. I told her it sounded like a playlist for healing and she admitted that it was. [...] I've been broken before—by relationships, by lost career opportunities, by sprained ankles at the height of my dance career—and I've been healed by music."

by Aldus Santos

"Dong Abay, Ely Buendia, Vin Dancel, Owel Alvero, and Aldus Santos take turns in a slippery show-and-tell: how are these damn songs made?"

And speaking of people who could fill up a "greatest hits of" all by themselves... Ladies and gentlemen, Aldus Santos. Excerpt: "There is nothing more elusive than the artistic process. Often, being asked to speak of one’s craft is like being asked to describe the sun, the stars, or the wind: you’d be right, but you’d be terribly mistaken as well."

by Kristine Lim

"Heir to her dad's mad mix taping skills, Kristine Lim gives us rules for making awesome mixes (updated 04.23.2007 with a sample post-breakup mix.)"

Kristine, one of my favorite freelancers, no matter which magazine we're talking about. Always a joy to read. Excerpt: "Making an awesome mix tape can get you laid. I'm proof-positive. I wouldn't be here today if it weren’t for my dad's mad mix taping skills."

Eating at IKON: L to R, Cris Ramos Jr, Mitch Baylosis (both were there to cover the event), me, Pats (who seems incapable of not twisting his face for photographs) and Joelle

by Luis Katigbak

"Who rocks? Who rules? Year in and year out, rock radio station NU107's awards show salutes the best bands, albums and songs: this 2006, they get their teenage kicks. (Updated with winners and commentary.)"

For this monster article, I interviewed almost everyone at NU about the history and purpose of the rock awards, and then covered the event itself as a follow-up. Exhausting but I'm proud of it. It may be the single longest feature Pulse ever ran.

by Joelle Jacinto

"Well-loved rock band Narda has fought the good fight for over four years. They've given us amazing performances and many wonderful songs: We're going to miss them."

What better way to end this list than with Joelle's farewell-to-Narda piece? It was originally just supposed to be a Narda feature, and then the band broke up. Sad, but well, it's not as if the members stopped making music.

The IKON contestants: in this picture are Julianne, Skarlet, Vina Morales, members of The Dawn, Truefaith, Kjwan, Kapatid, and more

There's a lot more good stuff in there: Nina Sandejas' feature on styling rock stars, Jewel Regal's Rock Ed coverage, Margarita Gomez on her gig-going history, Betty Tianco's stage girlfriend confessions, Denise Mallabo's story of a music video extra, a whole lotta reviews, and more. And of course there's a massive photo archive with pix by Eric Fernandez, Richard Garcia, Nina Sandejas, Kidlat de Guia, and others... though am not too happy with the new Pulseparazzi interface. Anyway, maybe I should come up with another top 10 sometime. But for now am just glad to reread this stuff and pat myself -- and my former officemates -- on the back.

All pix by the amazing Eric Fernandez.

25 Albums

So I recently wrote the 25th installment of my music column at the Manila Bulletin (Luis Listens, every Saturday), and to mark the occasion, I started counting down my favorite albums for each of the past 25 years. As I wrote, "personal rocked-my-world significance trumps all considerations of pop-historical significance at every turn," so this is not a catalog of the most influential or critically-acclaimed stuff. ;p And I didn't want to repeat any artists, which resulted in, as Kidlat observed, a lot of "horse trading," so to speak.

There were some years (1989, 1992) where it was really really hard to choose just one album. Then there were others where no choice really gut-level appealed to me (1995, 2001 I think, and 2007 to some degree), but then I can hardly claim to have listened to everything worthwhile -- or even everything I might have enjoyed -- for a given year. ;p

Anyway, here you go: part one is here, part two is here. Part three should be up this Saturday... assuming I meet my deadline, mwahaha.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yo, Joe!

The GI Joe Killaz are "a three-piece group where a guy in a metal mask and a really hot brunette rap in character as Destro and the Baroness. And yes. Cobra Commander is their DJ."

"Aside from the general songs about life on the streets and/or in Cobra Command, the best bits on the album are the ones where they take an episode of the cartoon like “Money To Burn” and build an entire track around them. To repeat: This is a CD where Stacy and Des bust rhymes for three minutes about Cobra Commander’s plot to use radiation to burn all of the paper currency in the world and replace it with his own money."

Read about 'em (and download a track) over at The ISB. To be honest, it's not fantastic music. But it is amusing as hell.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Marcus Adoro on Rubber Shoes, Exercise, and the Eraserheads Reunion

Anyone who is at all interested in the upcoming Eraserheads reunion concert should definitely check out this exclusive interview with Marcus Adoro, by Aldus Santos, on It's the only feature I know of about the matter that is an actual interview. Plus, it's funny and informative, particularly about their rehearsals, and the gear geeks among you will love it too. Kudos to Aldus! And applause for Mr. Adoro as well, for his candor. Here are some excerpts:

ALDUS: So, you guys…
MARCUS: Hindi kame nag-uusap; mental telepathy lang [laughs].

ALDUS: What are your feelings about the band, now that you’ve decided to play this reunion show?
MARCUS: Gusto ko lang magbigay. Party tayo, ‘di ba? Puta, ‘di ba? ‘Di alam ng lahat—para sa mga kids, ‘di ba? Gusto kong magbigay. [‘Tsaka] pumayag ako dahil tao lang ako, pare [laughs].

ALDUS: How are you preparing for the thing?
MARCUS: The usual—library. Ang importante, ‘yung ano, good vibes. Importante ‘yung good vibes, pare. ‘Yun ang pinaka-importante sa lahat. I'm preparing for it physically, I jog and swim at least every day, ‘tsaka I rehearse on my own s’yempre. ‘Tsaka, gear-wise, i-po-program ko na ‘yung bagong effects, ‘tsaka s’yempre kung ano hitsura ko [laughs]. And the guitars that I will use, isa-isa kong ina-acquire.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

Brian Eno and David Byrne, making music together for the first time in 30 years. Good stuff.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Itchyworms and Yvette

Click here to watch the video for "Penge Naman Ako N'yan," the new Itchyworms single! Not only is it a fun song, not only is it a funny video directed by Quark Henares, but (as you can see from the screenshot above) it marks YVETTE'S MUSIC VIDEO ACTING DEBUT. Wheee! :D

I wrote about the making of the video for my music column at the Manila Bulletin, here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Story in Rogue

I haven't gotten my own copy yet, but I have a new short story out in the August issue of Rogue magazine: "It's Not Me." Here's an excerpt:

"When Nema was little she believed that everyone was born with a twin. She was her parents' first child, and they had followed her up with two boys when she was four years old -- Ernesto and Emmanuel, identical twins. Sitting in the hospital room right after their birth with her recovering mother, she had wondered out loud, “Where's my copy?” Lengthy and patient explanations from her mother and father followed, but deep down she found these unconvincing, and just pretended to accept them. She figured that her parents were too embarrassed at having misplaced her double to tell her the truth. The fact that almost everyone she knew was deprived of a twin just meant that parents everywhere were unbelievably careless."

The story came about because of repeated listenings to Drip's excellent Identity Theft album and from reading a book about the neurological, anthropological, and psychological roots of self-recognition (The Face in the Mirror by Julian Keenan). I'm quite proud of it.

P.S. This is also the last issue of Rogue with contributions by ex-Features Editor Erwin Romulo.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Every First Second by Up dharma Down

Yes, I know this is an old photo. They pretty much still look the same, though.

So I think I'm coming down with something. My nose is so clogged I can barely think. Couldn't stop sneezing and coughing, a while ago. Am hoping some sleep will help... In the meantime, this took my mind off my troubles and got me smiling: the "trailer turned electronic press kit turned music video" for the Up dharma Down documentary On Either Side, directed by Keith Tan.

Go here to watch it!

I've gone on at great length before about how much I love this band, and am very much looking forward to the new album, not to mention the docu. :)

R.I.P. Pauline Baynes

From The Independent:

"Met C.S. Lewis. Came home. Made rock cakes." That's how Baynes's diary recorded one of only two meetings she ever had with the author whose work she so memorably pictured and with whom she is now inextricably linked.

Read the rest here. Also, go here for a more personal account by the same writer, and lots of artwork scans.

I remember those old Puffin editions of the Narnia books with great fondness. I read -- and loved -- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a child, with no knowledge of the rest of the series. And then one afternoon when I was exploring my grandmother's vast bookshelves, skimming through titles spine by spine, I found something that looked promising: a book called The Magician's Nephew. It was the Puffin paperback edition, with all of the Baynes illustrations intact. Just before diving into the story, I was floored to realize that not only was it another Narnia book, there were five more books in the series for me to find and devour. Ah, that was a great moment in my life. :)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Guitar... And Some

Paris Hilton Is, Like, Totally Ready To Lead

So I'm not a Paris Hilton fan. In fact, I'm sort of the opposite of a Paris Hilton fan. But her response -- to being used in a negative context in a John McCain ad slamming Barack Obama for, um, being popular -- made me laugh, so there's that.

Watch the video here. It's here, too. (Scroll down.)

"Thanks, white-haired dude!"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

As Alicia Is

"That woman has been talking sexy to you all night," Yvette observed. "And in front of me!"

That woman was pretty shameless, I have to admit. "Nothing can stop us from feeling good tonight," that woman told me in her sultry, syrupy voice. "Nothing can stop us from being together tonight." Sorry, Yvette. I guess that woman just couldn't help herself. That woman, of course, was Alicia Keys, who Yvette and I watched last night (August 5, 2008) when she performed at the SMX Center at the SM Mall of Asia. "You're the only reason that I'm here!" she shouted out loud. For some reason, the 15,000 other people who happened to be in the SMX Center shouted back, as if she was addressing all of them and not just me. Tsk tsk. Poor deluded crowd.

It's great that Alicia Keys came to the Philippines again, especially since I couldn't catch her the first time; if I recall correctly, I was interviewing Kitchie Nadal for PULP magazine that same night, in front of a bar on Palanca Street. (That was the same year that Slipknot was supposed to come over, and chickened out. There were lots of jokes in the PULP office about Alicia Keys having more balls than all nine Slipknot members put together.) So a second visit was a good thing. But first, the bad news: the last-minute change of venue -- the concert was originally supposed to be in an open field, which, considering the weather, would have been a real risk -- resulted in some major fuckups, organization-wise.

The SMX Center is a great venue, though perhaps better suited for trade shows and conventions and occasions like that than big concerts. The way the audience was divided -- according to the three major entrances -- meant that there was a HUGE empty gap between the Bronze section (in other words, the cheap seats), and us middle-classers in the Silver section. I felt bad for them, actually. They could barely see the gorgeous Ms. Keys, at least aside from the huge projector screens. Then again, we could barely see the gorgeous Ms. Keys. When we got there, it turned out that the seating arrangements were so haphazard that the numbering system for the seats had been completely disregarded, and it was every audience member for his or herself, which naturally pissed a lot of people off. We kept getting assured that order would be restored and our seat numbers respected but it never happened.

In retrospect, I should have just grabbed a couple of monobloc chairs and steamrollered my way through to the front of the section, leaving a trail of broken bodies in my wake. Yvette and I ended up sitting in a spot with a great view of the giant pillar between us and the stage. (We found a better spot later, to the side.) If my tickets hadn't been complimentary I would have been really pissed off. It was just really bad organization. And then the concert started almost two hours late. An hour or so you expect, in the Philippines. Two hours is pushing it. ("This is not the way it's supposed to be!" the man sitting behind us lamented, as if to a cruel and uncaring Creator.) And if they were going to make us wait for two hours, then why not make some effort to fix the seating problems? Oh well.

Those factors -- the idiocy of the seating arrangements, the scattering of the crowd over too huge a space (with the cheap-seaters -- traditionally the most excited and excitable section of the audience, way way in the back), and the lateness -- all contributed to a dampening of the crowd's mood. But then Alicia Keys and her band went onstage, and for a moment we forgot all that.

Much as I enjoy her videos, here's something I never fully appreciated before: Alicia Keys is a fantastic performer. She gives it her all, singing the hell out of every song, shaking and thrusting her hips, whipping her ponytail around, doing kicks like she's David Lee Roth and seducing the crowd with her in-between banter like she's Barry White. Her material, it has to be said, isn't all strong -- she has yet to come up with a solid album with no filler-songs -- but she works that material to the best of her considerable abilities. And did I mention that she's gorgeous?

Alicia kicked off with "Go Ahead" from her latest album As I Am -- big brash opener, grabbing our attention -- then segued into one of her most popular songs, "You Don't Know My Name," improving greatly on the recorded version through sheer energy and a reggae-fied outro. And then "Teenage Love Affair," wow. My current favorite AK song, rendered as sweetly and as poptastically as you please. I couldn't imagine how she could follow that up without the energy level flagging, but she did, with "Heartburn," which is not as strong a song, but it's a sight sexier. Raising the temperature, so to speak. Those first four songs made up one of the best, most riveting concert beginnings I've ever seen.

The middle of the show was almost inevitably a bit of a letdown. The weariness and frustration of the hours beforehand seeped back into the audience, while Alicia played her slower, less compelling material, letting the songs stretch out instead of delivering them like one-two punches. This was where she showed off her talented band and backup singers, letting each of them take the spotlight as they played with such numbers as "Karma" and "How Come You Don't Call Me." Things picked up with a cover of "Tender Love" (done as a duet with Jermaine, one of her singers) and then AK stepped back from the piano, said something along the lines of "Time we had a little fun," then launched into what I believe was a modified version of "My Boo" (I could be wrong; it's been a few years since it was on heavy MTV rotation). "I can't believe she hasn't played "If I Ain't Got You" yet, I told Yvette. Then I realized she was saving it for last.

AK and her band did crowd-rousing versions of "No One" and "If I Ain't Got You" to wrap up their show (after mock-leaving to inspire the audience to chant "We want more!"). AK thanked the crowd for their enthusiasm -- though believe me, that crowd would have been much louder and livelier if not for the glitches -- and said, "We can't wait to come back!"

Well, I can say that seeing Alicia Keys perform live is well worth it, and that we were happy to be there, in the end (though we did seriously consider leaving during the whole seating fiasco). Just hope that the next show is glitch-free.

GMAnews coverage here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Allstars = Winners

Congratulations to the PHILIPPINE ALLSTARS, who just grabbed the Gold in the Adult Division of the 2008 World Hip-Hop Dance Championship held in Las Vegas! I've seen these guys perform a few times -- including Apl de ap's last visit here and the 2007 MTV VJ Hunt (I wrote the event, and Sheena, one of their members, was one of the most promising finalists) -- and they never fail to impress.

Read about their latest triumph here. Allstars Multiply page here!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I Want To Say It As Clearly As I Can

From here.

Rick Astley + Roderick Paulate = Pure Awesomeness

So we weren't at the Rick Astley concert at the Araneta Coliseum. Too bad, because by all accounts, it was a heck of a lot of fun. :)

Yvette and I first heard about Roderick Paulate joining Rick Astley onstage from a breathless description by Quark, who had actually witnessed the historic moment. And then I started reading more accounts, from various blogs.

From Dacs, the Mighty: "Rick opened the show at 9:15ish with "Together Forever". Of course the crowd went wild, and Menggai in particular felt like she was in high school again, gushing over her crush from the 80's. Heck, Rick wasn't from my time as a teen, but I do appreciate his good looks then and now.

"He was wearing a suit and tie (his usual gigging outfit), which he paired with Adidas sneakers (so cute!). He hardly danced and said that at his age, he only had energy to dance for one song, and the audience roared in excitement, knowing that that one song was "Never Gonna Give You Up."

"Early on, Rick mentioned that he knew about "this certain guy", which again prompted the crowd to cheer, knowing that Rick was talking about Roderick Paulate (famous in the 80's for singing/dancing Rick Astley songs). Then Rick said that this guy wouldn't come up onstage until the end, so that we'd all stay to watch the show."

From Gabe Mercado: "At 4:02 in the afternoon, I received a call from a my good friend Ken. Rick had somehow heard of Kuya Dick and was game to do a number with him. The producers had gotten in touch with Kuya Dick and while flattered, he felt quite reluctant to do it.

"So I sent him a message.

"Gabe: kuya dick!!! please sing with rick astley tonight! the audience will love it! please please please! :)"

I especially enjoyed Tals' account: "Rick Astley came up on stage to the deafening welcome of screaming fans of all ages. Dressed in a suit, skinny tie and sneakers, this hip-dated Rick Astley looked like he hadn’t aged a bit! In his adorable English drawl, he told the crowd: “I am so sorry you had to wait for this for 15 to 20…years.” Crowd went ecstatic. [...]

"It was all so endearing. I felt like I went back to my grade school self, when “Strong” was first released and I had finally understood what it meant to be kilig. My reverie was affirmed when I received a text at that moment from longtime pal Cybs, who was also in the concert that night. Her text: “Shit, I’m back to being hopelessly in love. I love you Rick, pota.” [...] And then, something happened.

"Rick Astley said the words, “I have been told…” OMGAHD! He mentioned that he had heard about Roderick, and that he invited him to come up on stage and perform with him at the end of the show. He even said it had to be towards the end of the show because he was sure people would leave after they saw Roderick perform. Oh, and Rick even said that he wasn’t dancing because “at (his) age, I can’t dance that much anymore, so I’m saving it for the last song with Roderick.”

"I couldn’t believe it. I nearly jumped off the balcony at Upper B.

"Finally, it happened. Chants of “Ku-ya Dick! Ku-ya Dick!” thundered the Big Dome. Rick Astley grabbed a guitar and motioned to his stage left. And up the stage came Roderick Paulate. They did an acoustic duet of “Never Gonna Give you Up.” Kuya Dick even did his signature side-to-side right (repeat left) dance moves! The crowd went absolutely freaking nuts. To quote Kung Fu Panda, it was pure awesomeness."

So, wow. Manila just got rickrolled! And we loved every minute of it. ;)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Is it a monsterrr?

What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? Is it a monsterrr?

" was like no animal anyone had seen before. A stout, hairless creature with a beak, claws, and the almond-shaped eyes familiar from renderings of space aliens, it looked, in short, like a monster. Hence the headline: "Dead Monster Washes Ashore in Montauk.""

Story here!