Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Concert Roundup: Washed Out + BATHS in Manila

Words by Kix Suarez
Pictures by Nikko Martinez

As it has always been with love, to find out if it can happen, it takes (first and foremost) guts and some luck. Charm would definitely help you get somewhere but it’s sincerity that keeps it going, keeps love there. A couple of years ago, the idea of bringing independent artists to Manila was straight up impossible. It was as if asking for these artists from production companies was a lot like asking for the moon; Unrealizable, unheard of, to a point maybe even blasphemous! It wasn’t until a year  or two ago that the likes of Chi Brotonel’s Intastella Burst HK and Fred Perry pushed forward and took the risk of bringing in some of the most respected bands and artists that may not fill stadiums in Manila but bring in a crowd (that could possibly turn into a riot).
Manila has been very fortunate to have been graced by cult favourites such as TOE, Last Dinosaurs and How To Dress Well in the past year or so and it’s pretty apparent that we’re just at the cusp of something beautiful about to unfold. To begin this year, Brotonel’s Intastella Burst HK in cooperation with Fred Perry acquainted us with the musical styling of Cebu based KaapiN, Will Wiesenfeld’s alter ego Baths and Ernest Greene fronted group Washed Out.

It was a quality crowd. It was fans, the sincere ones. A mix of lovers, friends and missed connections filled the Alphaland Tents quite nicely. It wasn’t by any means crowded but it wasn’t empty either. There was room to breathe.

The Cebu and Cagayan de Oro based experimental indie electronic duo KaapiN opened the show. Michael Nuesca and Rotsanjani Mojica (better known as KaapiN) got straight to playing and drowned the room with their own sound. With owl-like head pieces on and a dimly lit stage, the performance felt like a ritual of sorts with the front men acting as shamans while the audience let go of themselves and surrender to Kaapin’s primal beats and synths. They claim that their music’s an acquired taste but judging by the crowd’s reception, it was a good appetizer for what was to come.

Baths followed shortly after KaapiN’s set. The California Native also known as Will Wiesenfeld was welcomed with much applause and screams. The crowd was giddy as he was quite excited to be playing Manila. The crowd readied themselves as Baths lashed out hit after hit and swayed to the slow songs and went crazy to the singles that went hard.
 Washed Out closed the evening to everyone’s amazement. Ernest Greene led his band and serenaded the crowd with a full set including favourites such as It All Feels Right, New Theory, All I know, You and I, Weightless, Hold Out and the big hit Feel It All Around. The biggest surprise of the night was the cover of Small Black’s song Despicable Dogs. It was a sweet rendition compared to the remix Greene released early on as the bass didn’t over power the song. It was at this point lovers lost it, kissed and danced as if prom was happening.

The concert felt like an unearthed soundtrack from a young romance film. It was youthful and at the same time grown up. It was a lot of things all at once but in gist just a damn good ‘ol time. It was so easy to get lost in the slow dance, more than happy, we’re thankful we have the likes of Intastell Burst HK pushing forth the alternatives, and maybe soon setting the bar for new pop.

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