Saturday, June 1, 2013

Concert Roundup: Down the Rabbit Hole to Wanderland 2013

Title: Down the Rabbit Hole to Wanderland 2013
Written by: Bianchi Mendoza
Photos by: Karen De La Fuente

It has been said that: “Not all who wander are lost.” Some wander to get lost or search of something special. And that’s exactly what hundreds of music-lovers found at the first-ever Wanderland Music and Arts Festival held last Saturday (May 18).  It was the first major concert to be held at the Globe Circuit Event Grounds in Makati. The full day of sonic bliss became what felt like the venue’s unofficial inauguration.

                The gates were opened at 11am and Taken by Cars revved the crowd up and heated up the afternoon with fan favorites including the anthemic, “This is our City”. Rock band Pulso bled out infectious melodies and Triphop duo Yolanda Moon infused some soul into the chill atmosphere of the afternoon. She’s Only Sixteen amped the energy up with some indie pop goodness. As festival goer Francesca Albano said, “The vibe started to escalate when She’s Only Sixteen took the stage.”

                Later in the afternoon, Australian duo Colour Coding (also of the band, Operator Please) burst into their set with “Hold Tight” and “Leave, It’s Over”— also delighting fans with their rendition of The Killers’ “When You Were Young”. Indie pop quintet Tully on Tully then took the stage, with frontwoman Natalie Foster in fiery orange they started the set with “No Problems”, “Eyes of Glass” and played the rest of their set against a blush-tinged sky. They finished it off with their debut single, “Naked”. New Zealand natives Avalanche City played an awesome set. The folk band was originally a solo project by David Baxter. They played “Love, Love, Love” and other fan favourites.

                As the sun went down, Up Dharma Down turned up the heat and began their set with the haunting track off of their latest album Capacities, “Feelings”— a collaboration with Paul Buchanan (of Scottish band Blue Nile) their set also included hits like “Indak” and “Tadhana”. Festival goer Shay Takeuchi said that the highlgihts of the festival for her were: Up Dharma Down, Neon Trees and The Temper Trap’s set.

                With 30 minutes in between sets, revellers were free to roam and frolic around the grounds to experience live art performances by Anjo Bolarda x Martojaks, Secret Fresh and Thursday Room. Festival goers were treated to free drinks and other cool stuff from various product sponsors. Inflatable slides, bull rides, jousts and a Velcro wall peppered the lush, green open field.

                At around half past eight, Nada Surf was up next. After more than two decades in the music scene, they finally found their way onto our shores. True icons of alt-rock, they delighted fans with well-loved tracks like: “Inside of Love”, “Always Love” and  “Concrete Bed”. Lead singer Matthew Caws sported a salt and pepper ‘do but their music has not aged. And as one of their many beloved songs goes, “It’s never too late for teenage dreams.” (It was a teenage dream of mine to hear them play live).

                Half an hour after Nada Surf’s memorable performance, Neon Trees’ electrifying performance began. Midway through the set, frontman Tyler Glenn ditched his orange jacket and flung it backstage like a burst of sunlight and exploded into the rest of their super charged set that included hits like “Animal” and “1983”. Neon Trees’ performance was a delicious mixture of alt-rock and new wave—even covering the 80s anthem, “Don’t You Want Me” (originally by Human League) towards the end of their set. Tyler took time to give us some sage advice: “Don’t let any a**hole tell you you’re not good enough. Just grab them by the face and whisper: everybody talks…” The screams were deafening. We knew what song was coming next.

                Tyler was a firecracker on stage: twisting the microphone wire around his neck; kneeling and arching his back until it touched the ground. Sweating bullets, it seemed like the only way to cool down was to go for a swim, so he crowdsurfed in the sea of screaming fans. Drummer Elaine Bradley, tweeted the next day: “Playing here in the Philippines definitely needs to happen again. Such a great crowd @wanderlandfest. What a fantastic night!”

At around midnight, headliners The Temper Trap finally took the stage opening with the monster hit “Love Lost”.  Then came “Fader” and a breathtaking performance of “Drum Song”. After a powerful set, they ended with the indie-turned-mainstream anthem, “Sweet Disposition”. It was an ethereal and magical moment when the day-long festivities came to a close under a rain of confetti as Dougy’s tender vocals faded into the night. 

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