By Anna P. Dimerin, Contributor INQUIRER.net AH, chemistry. The overwhelming response at the My Chemical Romance concert on January 25 only goes to show that chemistry is not limited to that between two people; it can also spark a reaction between an American rock quintet and thousands of people who just want good music. When I found out that My Chemical Romance will be performing at the Fort Bonifacio Open Field, I immediately devised a plan to ensure I would see the concert. By hook or by crook, I had to go see MCR live. Much gratitude goes out to a dear friend who supplied me a ticket (without coercion or violence). I was all set to go. The concert is part of the Asian leg of their Black Parade tour. I arrived at the venue 30 minutes before 8 p.m., the time it was scheduled to start. I don't know why I bother showing up to concerts early since they hardly ever start on time. But this was MCR, and so I let it slide easily. An hour later, opening act Pop Shuvit came onstage. The band is reminiscent of a Malaysian version of Linkin Park on speed. Pulsating with energy, Pop Shuvit gave audiences a taste of their rap-rock tunes, with a vocalist occasionally singing through a megaphone, and a band member controlling turntables right in the middle of the stage. At one point, Slapshock frontman Jamir Garcia came up the stage for a vocal fusion with the band. Garcia's piercing vocals complemented Pop Shuvit vocalist Moot's rapping. The band's mixture of music is not mainstream yet, and it was a pleasure listening to something fresh. Despite that, their tunes are quite a far cry from MCR's style, which is what the audience came to hear. Finally at 9: 30 p.m., the lights dimmed, and as a banner with the band's name emblazoned on it lowered itself against the backdrop, the audience rose from their seats and erupted in deafening roars. We were greeted with "This Is How I Disappear" as the opening number. MCR vocalist Gerard Way seemed to enjoy watching and interacting with the audience, occasionally requesting for the spotlight to shine on the audience, who, from my standpoint, appeared as a sea of black, much like participants of a black parade. I would twitch whenever Gerard dropped the F-bomb not because of my innocent ears (dear Lord, definitely not because of that), but because of the overwhelming number of children I saw watching with their parents. The band performed "Welcome to the Black Parade” off their third album The Black Parade, and Gerard requested the people to sing along and provide the vocals instead. He was not met with disappointment. Soon after, he'd pump his fists up in the air, and the audience would be quick to follow; such a fine and amusing act of puppetry. It didn't take long before he exercised his newfound power over the people, and everyone willingly obliged. Indeed, the night was an entertaining interaction between performer and audience. What I find most attractive about the band is its theatrics. Musically, they sound like Queen and Green Day rolled into one, with an anatomy supplied with powerful orchestrations, the overwhelming twang of guitars as well as the complementary melodic support of a full orchestra (which would have been sweet had there been one in the concert), and the pounding effect of their drum beats. Given the band's rebellious nature, their songs dominate the "Anti-depressants" playlist on my iPod for a reason. Seeing them live though is a hundred times the experience of listening to them merely through an MP3 player. The concert was also a theatrical experience in terms of mood, reflecting much of what their songs are about -- a strange curiosity and fixation with darkness but, at the same time, the glory of rising against any opposing force. The lineup began with upbeat songs in the beginning with bright lights shining against the band, to a more mellow "Cancer" and "Desert Song" toward the end -- complete with Gerard's dramatics of lying on the stage floor, to be capped off with the explosive "Famous Last Words" as the encore. The concert was nothing short of explosive. The band, despite appealing to a certain niche, pulled off connecting with the audience, male or female, young or old. Indeed, MCR's energy was contagious as they successfully satisfied their fans in Manila.
January 2008 Archives
By Abigail Kwok INQUIRER.net WHATEVER happened to the '90s? I find myself returning to my 90s music collection that consisted of songs from Third Eye Blind, Beck, Tamia, Daft Punk, Radiohead, and Mariah Carey. A good mixture of different music genres, I should say. I just had a sudden bout of nostalgia as I listened to these songs. In the 90s (I was still in high school then), these songs were pretty much definitive of high school life: love, friends, teenage angst, vices, and pop culture. I chanced upon this list from VH1 that ranked the top 100 greatest songs from the 90s. Which are/were your favorites? Browsing through the list, I noticed that most of the bands/singers that belonged there have either vanished from the limelight or shifted to a different musical style altogether. So what happened to some of these bands, anyway? Nirvana, which topped VH1's list for their song "Smells like Teen Spirit," is also known for their lead singer, the late Kurt Cobain. Cobain's death ended the rise of the US grunge band. In 1994, Cobain committed suicide while undergoing drug rehabilitation. Cobain and his band were able to release a number of albums, the most popular of which was Nevermind (1991). TLC's R&B/hip-hop song "Waterfalls" landed at number eight. TLC, for me, was arguably the Destiny's Child of the 90s. The group consisted of Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas. TLC's claim to fame was their 1994 album titled CrazySexyCool that contained hits like "Creep" and "Waterfalls." After the hit album, TLC released a 1999 album titled Fanmail that also produced hits like "Dear Lie," "No Scrubs," and "Unpretty." Prior to releasing their 2002 album 3D, one of the members, Left Eye, was killed in a car crash and the group was reduced to two. The duo has since separated and ventured off into solo careers. And who could forget MC Hammer? The baggy pants (a.k.a. Hammer pants), outrageous dance moves, and catchy songs like "U Can't Touch This" will always be reminiscent of the 90s life. MC Hammer, Stanley Kirk Burrell in real life, has since become a preacher and is a CEO of DanceJam.com. One of my favorite bands of all time, Counting Crows, also lands in the list for their song "Mr. Jones." Counting Crows is a California rock band whose other songs include "Colorblind," "Omaha," and "A Long December." Counting Crows is still alive and active in the music scene and they are set to release a new album called Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings on March 25, according to the band's official website. Destiny's Child debuted in the 90s with their single "Say My Name." The group started out with an R&B/hip-hop sound that appealed to listeners worldwide. The group initially started out as a quartet, with the music video of "Say My Name" showcasing members Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and Farrah Franklin. As the years passed, the group was reduced to three and the mainstays Knowles, Williams, and Rowland made waves in the music industry. Sadly, though, the group has since ventured into solo careers. Obviously, Beyonce is the most popular ex-Destiny's Child member, garnering awards and recognitions all over. Kelly Rowland is also making her own mark. Despite separating, each member of the group still retained that R&B/hip-hop style that made them popular.
Although they didn't make it to the VH1 list, (Editor's note: Corrected. Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life" actually made it to the VH1 list.) Third Eye Blind's "Jumper" and "Semi-Charmed Life" will always be reminiscent of teenage angst, at least for me. The songs' powerful lyrics and catchy beat make me turn to them, until now, for listening pleasure.
In my opinion, the two boy bands Backstreet Boys and N' Sync were the ones that went through the most transformation during the transition from the 90s up to the present. While Backstreet Boys retained its pop-ish music style, N' Sync has since disbanded, with Justin Timberlake making a major transformation, JC Chasez singing about sex ("All Day Long I Dream About Sex"), and Lance Bass coming out of the closet. N' Sync members' made headlines everywhere. The Backstreet Boys, though, simply lost one member -- Kevin Richardson -- but they still managed to retain their style and even released a new album, Unbreakable.
Today, tons of new bands have emerged but the mark made by the 90s will forever remain. Ah, nostalgia. The 90s will always have a special place in my heart… and my iPod.
NEW YORK'S DJ Stretch Armstrong was in town for the Smart MyTV party at Embassy, and INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Erika Tapalla was able to chat with him before the event. Check out this video as DJ Armstrong talks about the New York club scene, and shares his opinion on "pre-mashups." Oh, and Erika calls him by his real name, heh :)
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DANG, I keep missing the performances of the sound-artists of New Media Arts Manila (NMAM). Anyway, here are photos from fellow journalist Jing Garcia from NMAM's Electrostatic Sound Conference held Jan. 2 at Club Dredd in Eastwood. Sorry, Jing, will be there for your next performance :) Here's Filipino-Canadian guitarist Maggot Breeder. Here are Lirio Salvador and Jonjie Ayson of Elemento playing Lirio's chome-plated alienware. The Trojan Whores. Ugong. And here's the Children of Cathode Ray, who performed live soundtracks for the experimental film "/mutation" (pronounced "permutation") by Tad Ermitano, and "Ink" and "Lizard," two classic works by Roxlee, the godfather of Philippine experimental film. The guy on the left, by the way, is Jing. According to Jing, the next NMAM performance will be in April. NMAM performances are supported by Globe, Sony Ericsson, Intel, Microsoft, Asus and Behringer.