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These are good times for rock n’ roll in Davao. Bands are playing and original music is at the forefront. It’s getting heard in what I consider the home of rock n’ roll in Davao these days, Sales Bar – Tekanplor.
What started as a place to jam for friends turned out to be a melting pot for Davao’s original music to be heard. Various organizers have been producing shows every weekend for a number of months already at a steady pace. It also brings together the rock scene. Gone are the days where I would yearn for a place to drink, unwind and hear my kind of music. Well it’s here and a few minutes away from my place, Davao Imperial Hotel to boot!
They are also looking for people to gig during weekdays as their new place can accommodate these and they also have a roof deck for those who just want to unwind under the starry sky.
I got to take some pictures of Kwatro Medya and Jad Montenegro last weekend. Kwatro Medya has a fresh take on post-punk while Jad Montenegro has this ethereal sound that tugs your heartstrings and makes you smile. Both bands rock in my book. Check out Sales – Tekanplor, Sales Street to experience rockin n’ rollin, Davao style.
Davao isn’t really a favorite destination for Manila based bands. Logistics and economics dictate that the only way a promoter can recoup expenses is that the public would be willing to pay a premium for a concert and I am not sure if people are willing to do so, what with limited disposable income and all.
But thanks to Tanduay Rum Rockfest 2012, we get to see premium bands with an ex-deal. Buy your rum and get tickets. Getting drunk and watching a concert is always a good deal in my book.
Getting to Crocodile Park was a pain. It was a snail’s pace at Circumferential Road and bumper to bumper upon reaching Diversion Road to the venue. Walking to the gate, I could hear 6 Cyclemind playing. No big loss missing them as I don’t really think much about their music.
And just in time as I went in, Dong Abay took the stage. He greeted the audience and started to play. In between songs, he was cajoling the crowd to let loose. As usual, the Davao crowd was insipid. Yes, they sing but not much motion comes out. I don’t know if people just don’t know how to behave in a rock concert because of the lack of it, or that they know that it’s ok to wave hands in the air to show love or bobbing heads or hopping or dancing is completely normal in a concert. But as always, I suspect that we’re always too cool to do silly things for performers. Going back to Mr. Abay, he sang with his usual ferocity and antics. He was backed by drummer extra-ordinaire, Mark Escueta and Imago’s guitarist and Gaijin’s singer-guitarist, Tim and Jessie respectively. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember who the bassist was. Going through traffic for Dong Abay’s performance was completely worth it. I will forever admire this guy for his songwriting and performance.
After the set, the Dawn played which I didn’t bother to see because it’s not the same without Francis Reyes. My friend arrived, got some drinks and was just chilling as Wency Cornejo and band played. Nostalgia effect for Next In Line. It still is a good song. More drinks as Urban Dub was playing. Again, the crowd in front was too cool to show love. Sorry Urban Dub. Damn, I remember seeing them at Saguijo a few years ago, the whole venue shook like a motherpunker while they played First of Summer.
I think Rico Blanco played next. He has gone theatric and electronic. Cool versions of Yugto and some old song I couldn’t remember. He is another performer I really admire. Always with much energy and gusto even with a stale crowd who somehow managed to show a bit of love.
I don’t know who played next but I remember Franco with a new backing band. He played new and unfamiliar songs. Sounded rockin’ but crowd again was lethargic. He played Song for the Suspect last and somewhat managed to liven the crowd up a bit. I think Gloc 9 played next, I didn’t really pay attention as more drinking ensued.
Then Wolfgang, oh lord, they bust balls completely. Sanctified was like a wash of rock n’ roll energy to the crowd. Maybe we’re just too picky eh? Silly dancing and head banging reserved only for choice bands. I couldn’t remember the other songs, I think Mata ng Diyos and Halik ni Hudas were also played or could it be a memory from other Wolfgang concerts I’ve seen?
Let me jump to Parokya ni Edgar. These guys have re-earned my respect for them. The crowd was now ecstatic while they played. Chito masterfully played the crowd. And he might be the only person who can convince Basti to sing “Boys Do Fall In Love?” with them.
By the time Chicosci played, we were too tired to stand or watch. We then decided to leave the venue but got stuck. Vehicles were parked on the road and there was no way to go out. Ended up sitting at some curb till Kamikazee finished playing. Dang, I was dreaming of ice cold beer to cap off the night at Saless Diner, where a burgeoning Davao rock scene is being nurtured and where Dong Abay incidentally turned up after the Rockfest.
Now I begin to think that people’s interest in music is not as diverse as I would have thought. Judging from the crowd reaction, people came to see Wolfgang, Parokya and Kamikazee. Some dug Urban Dub and Rico Blanco. But acts who don’t get mainstream “I-memorize ba yan” radio airplay like Dong Abay and Franco who in my opinion are just as talented in another genre of rock barely got any love. That was my perspective from the Press/Sponsors crowd though. Who knows what mayhem happened at the back. Still, I know there were fans in front, but the too cool to show love won over.
Anyhow, it was fun. I so missed rock n’ roll. The rock scene is the only thing I miss about Manila. I hope more concerts can be done here.
Local rock fans can certainly recognize the line “I bleed for you like a new tattoo” which was made popular by a then unknown Cebu indie band Urban Dub which has already made it big because of this album. The song came to mind when I got inked with my 2nd tattoo which was borne out of wanting something that would remind me of what I usually lack when I feel lost in this game called life.
I got acquainted with the tattoo artist because of my sibling who got her 1st tattoo recently. With some prodding to add a new one, I finally chose the Kanji script for Faith/Believe, thinking that as it would be a part of my body for the rest of my life, I should choose something relevant for myself that should be applicable until I’m in my death bed.
I kind of forgot how it hurt the 1st time I got inked and was kind of biting my lip as the tattoo artist started outlining the script. Then after a few minutes, my body adjusted to the pain. 20 minutes later he was done. I got the usual inflammation which was a reminder for me that I couldn’t get a half-sleeve inked on my arm as that would be one painful recovery phase for me because I have this hyper-sensitivity in my skin that traumatizes easily.
It’s been a week now and as I write this at home in Davao Imperial Hotel, my small tattoo has been steadily healing. I can see the scabs fall off and by next week I could hit the beach again!
I decided to take a walk yesterday for my cardio exercise and ended up in San Pedro Street where I couldn’t help but notice the buntings that hung over the street. They looked good and certainly helped bring in the vibe of the Kadayawan festival this month.
San Pedro Street is a good 10 minute walk from Davao Imperial Hotel. This part of the city is where trading of various kinds of goods abound. From ukay-ukay to general merchandise to DVD’s to tailoring to eye glasses and anything you can imagine of, it’s there. My cardio work-out for the day turned out to be an impromptu sight-seeing as I don’t usually wander in these streets because work doesn’t bring me here often. I also saw a place to buy and eat durian at the corner of JP Rizal and Inigo Street and was reminded that durian is in season. I’d love to eat one again one of these days. I came home at the Davao Imperial Hotel around 45 minutes of walking and sight seeing. It was a good afternoon. Thank God for simple pleasures.