Archive for the ‘Blast From The Past’ Category

The music year that was: 2011 in blogs

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

2011 has definitely been one of the best years in recent memory as far as live music events are concerned. A good number of international rock acts went to the Philippines much to the thrill of the local fans and a lot of Filipino-bred talent also pushed the development of the Pinoy sound by releasing their new albums. Here’s a monthly set of events that has shaped 2011.

January  РBamboo and Sugarfree both disband.

Few bands ever got the same level of mainstream awareness, critical acclaim (at least from music award-giving bodies) and commercial success as Bamboo.  Led by their charismatic front man who lent his name to the band, Bamboo was in advertisements, headlining major concerts and winning awards left and right. It was a sad day when the band announced that they will be parting ways. The original members of Bamboo sans Bamboo Manalac ended up forming Hijo Рwith Nathan Azarcon doing the vocals.

Sugarfree fans also had to go through a tough time when they found out that front man Ebe Dancel wanted out. The band revealed that they will only be playing through their already scheduled gigs through February but after those dates, the band would cease to exist as the scene knows it. Sugarfree was together for well over 11 years and it was a shock to a lot of fans.

February - Deftones rocks Manila with a 25-song set.

For many people, the Deftones concert would probably be the best concert for 2011. The band played a very long set in front of a rowdy World Trade Center crowd in Pasig. The mosh pit was appreciative from start to finish whether the song was from Adrenaline or the new album Diamond Eyes. Splintr released an interesting behind-the-scenes article on what transpired before and after the concert. Slapshock and Urbandub primed the crowd before Chino Moreno and company ripped through what was a mammoth playlist.

March - STP brings back grunge in a big way.

The Stone Temple Pilots were one of the biggest names in the grunge genre and in their current form, they are quite possibly the strongest one of the original bands from those eras. The news of STP coming to Manila kicked up a lot of interest. The band played 17 songs in the premiere performance in the country (the Araneta Coliseum) and had Sinosikat as front act. There’s an STP album full of photos on Splintr’s Facebook page.


AprilUrbandub sends a very strong message.

In a nation starved in terms of major concerts by its  biggest rock bands, Urbandub sure did its share in making sure that its fans got the high profile show that they deserved. Set in the hallowed halls of the Music Museum in Greenhills, the band ripped through hit after hit that they have amassed throughout their storied years in the music scene.


May - Taken By Cars’ “This Is Our City” goes up on Splintr.

Taken by Cars went with a very soothing and cool track to serve as a teaser for their second album – Dualist. Interestingly, the album would be hailed as one of the best albums of the year. It’s quite a great gesture on the band’s part to let fans in on the new songs for free via the Splintr website. Taken By Cars would later launch a music video later into the year in Splintr’s yearender party.

June -  3 Headed Dog shares their EP with Splintr fans.

The band 3 Headed Dog is certainly a rock supergroup. Razorback’s David Aguirre and Wolfgang’s Wolf Gemora need no introduction while Danny Gonzales sure did hold his own in Lokomotiv. 3 Headed Dog brought to the forefront of the scene the classic rock sensibilities that could be best experienced live – it was rock in its raw and unadulterated form.

July – Incubus comes back for a third time. 30 Seconds to Mars makes a stop in Manila

Incubus has always been warmly received by Filipinos and the third time was no different. The band earlier went to the country to promote A Crow Left of the Murder and Light Grenades. The latest album was clearly more melodic and far removed from the earlier sound that Incubus went with during the start of their career but the release was still well-received by the packed Araneta crowd. Franco warmed up the crowd with their rock ditties before Brandon, Mike and company hit the stage.

It was a great concert that started off with ‘Wish You Were Here’ and closed it with ‘Nice To Know You’ – both from the album Morning View.

Thirty Seconds to Mars was well on their way to setting a world record when they passed by Manila. By the end of the year, they got to 300 shows promoting their current album – This Is War. The Tri-Noma parking lot sure was a great venue for thousands of 30STM diehards.

August - Korn finally plays a set in Manila.

Given how much Korn influenced a lot of bands more than a decade ago here in the Philippines, it’s surprising that the band has never done a show in Manila. The Korn concert while not happening at the peak of the band’s popularity was still more than a welcome development given the sheer amount of fans they have in the country. As expected, the show whipped up a crazy mosh pit that few concerts could probably top in terms of sheer volume and adrenaline factor.¬† Jonathan Davis promised that they will be back. You have to wonder how long Filipino fans would have to wait til the next time…


September - Happy birthday Mr. Jack!

It was the birthday of good ‘ol Mr. Jack [Daniel's]! This great show at Handle Bar during the end of September combined the Chosen 7 – Blue Boy Bites Back, Kelevra, Paramita, Playphonics, Mr. Bones and the Boneyard Circus and Stories of Now in an unprecented number of collaborations and jamming experiments. It was definitely a unique show!

October – Supergroup Kapatid reunites for one night.

Local rock supergroup Kapatid re-united for a one-night only gig at B-Side – a venue that is fast becoming one of the most preferred rock venues in the metro. The band infused the scene with a good helping of funk-infused rock during the early part of the decade but have fell into inactivity in recent years. Just the same, the band proved why they were one of the most sought after live acts from back in the day. With a line up can consisted of Karl Roy (P.O.T.), Nathan Azarcon (Bamboo), J-Hoon Balbuena (Kjwan) and Ira Cruz (Bamboo), how can you go wrong?
November – Slapshock releases their seventh album in 15 years.

Love ‘em or not, there’s no denying that Slapshock is an enduring force in the local rock scene. Few bands can stand next to the band in terms of dedication to create albums year in and year out. The band released their seventh studio album in 15 years of existence Kinse Kalibre during the month of November. Slapshock’s first single ‘Ngayon Na’ was also well received.

December – Splintr ends the year strong with Eat Your Beets!

By the end of December it was sure clear that we all had a great year of music! Starting from the excitement brought about by the Deftones concert that were carried through the Korn, Incubus and 30STM shows, Filipinos sure had an awesome 2011. Splintr capped off the great year with an undeniably strong yearender – Eat Your Beets. Along with sponsors who have been very generous throughout the year, Splintr put together a show that combines the biggest names in the rock scene as well as the up-and-comers.



Judging from the intensity of the performers it sure looks like it was a great party! [photos by May Arguelles]

So there you have it 2011 in just a few words and images. Hopefully you enjoyed the past year as well as we here in Splintr have and here’s to an even more rocking and awesome 2012!

Remember, remember… the 5th of August 2009

Friday, August 5th, 2011

The fifth of August 2009 would probably be remembered for two things – first, it was the day former President Corazon Aquino was laid to rest and secondly, it was the night that Nine Inch Nails rocked the Araneta Coliseum much to the approval of the Filipino audience who was seeing a live show by Trent Reznor and company for the first time. Splintr was responsible for bringing over Nine Inch Nails during the Wave Goodbye Tour and it was very widely anticipated among lovers of rock and industrial music.

Pupil warmed the stage up with a very solid and tight set that absolutely set the mood for a night of great music. After a very energetic but concise set, it was time for Nine Inch Nails to hit the stage. It was a feast both for the ears and the eyes. The lighting and sounds were definitely working hand in hand in creating a concert atmosphere that really transported those who went to the concert. The band sure knew how to push the right buttons. Trent Reznor showed his mastery of many instruments all through out the show. On some songs, he was rocking out with an electric guitar, on others he was dabbling on an electronic music synthesizer and on some, he was even playing the keyboard. He’s certainly a modern day virtuoso who has the killer voice and presence to knock out any song he wants to.

Nine Inch Nails didn’t disappoint. They played a set of mammoth proportions – the set was 25 songs long! You would definitely struggle to find another concert that lasted longer than this.¬† There was incredible variety in the play list, they played the very aggressive “March of the Pigs” and the encore “Hurt” definitely delivered a strong parting shot to everyone in attendance. It was a musical journey across the band’s discography crammed into a couple of hours at what possibly is the premier concert venue in the Philippines.

This all happened August 5, 2009. Never forget.

Blast from the past: Cynthia Alexander’s ‘Rippingyarns’

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

It’s hard to believe but Cynthia Alexander’s second album Rippingyarns is turning ten years old this year. It seems as if it was only yesterday when one of the icons of Philippine folk rock released a bold collections of acoustic ditties with very distinct insertions of different indigenous instruments from all over the world.

Rippingyarns was the much anticipated album after the critically-acclaimed Insomnia and Other Lullabys that featured now-classic tracks like Malaya and Comfort in Your Strangeness. Cynthia Alexander continued with her winning streak with Rippingyarns and she most notably left an impression with listeners with the very catchy and cryptic ‘Motorbykle’ that features one of the most interesting acoustic guitar flurries in recent memory. The song was so impressive that the song came out of nowhere to be named as the NU 107 Rock Awards Song of the Year of 2001. It was quite a bit of news since 2001 hearkened the peak of the so-called rap-metal movement in the Philippines.

There were many other great songs that was from this album – the songs ‘U & I’, ‘Daisy Chain’ and ‘The Weather Report’ all made it to the NU Midnight Countdown as the most requested songs for the week while the unreleased track ‘Intertwyne’ even won for Song of the Year at the Katha Awards. Other songs like ‘Walk Down The Road’, ‘Fly’, ‘Frost and Glass’ and ‘Flowers of Youth’ are also great despite being non-singles making Rippingyarns one of those few albums that you could listen through without skipping tracks.

It might be next to impossible to get a copy of a Rippingyarns CD but luckily, Cynthia Alexander still plays gigs from time to time. Given the way CDs are stocked and shuffled out of the record stores in the country, it would be hard to land a classic CD from ten years ago. Hopefully, you have a friend who was already into good music during that time who would be more than willing to show you ropes regarding that golden age of music.

Blast from the past: Brain Salad

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Brain Salad has got to be one of the most under-promoted side projects in the history of local music especially when you consider the names of the people behind the collaboration. There’s a chance that you haven’t heard of the name Brain Salad but you’ve definitely heard of the bands that joined forces to create this album – Wolfgang and Razorback. The project was mainly headed by Basti Artadi, David Aguirre, Louie Talan and Brian Velasco but many musicians from the two aforementioned bands (including Wolf Gemora, Manuel Legarda, Tirso Ripoll and Kevin Roy) and a host of other talented artists contributed to complete the 12-song “side project” album.

The band even reserved two pages of the inlay just to explain that Brain Salad was just going to be a side project – not a band. True enough, Brain Salad NEVER played a live gig. In fact, the only time that Brain Salad songs were played live was in a small gig at the now-closed Peligro bar in Makati.

Brain Salad is an interesting exploration to the musical competencies and ideations of the collaborators. It was NOT the heavy metal/ blues rock sound that Wolfgang and Razorback were known for. Instead of going the amp heavy route, Brain Salad went for a more textured approach that involved the use of keyboards, special percussion instruments and even an extra vocalist on some tracks.

The first single in the album is the haunting ‘Bulong Mo Sa Dilim‘ – a very somber and relaxing ditty that could lull you to sleep (in a good way) or make you wax poetic and philosophic as you drink bottles upon bottles of beer. Brain Salad certainly wanted to make a statement by releasing this song first. The album will NOT be heavy but it will still be a great release.

Another interesting cut from the album is Concept Human‘.¬† The song tackles the massive consumerist society on a fairly stern by mature tone without sacrificing musical elements along the way. It stops short of being Neo-Luddite but it does make you think. The song was released 2001 – way before all the technological advancements of the last decade and yet the song’s message still resonates to this day.

Inches‘ is another winner on the album. Emotions on helplessness, depression and just a general feeling of lack of purpose are explored in the song but the feel of the song is rescued into something more favorable and optimistic by the end.

Honestly, all the songs on the Brain Salad album is worth reviewing and listening it. It’s a shame that it wasn’t pushed aggressively when it was released – it was released the same time that Black Mantra came out. For those who have the album, I hope you take this post as a cue to wipe the dust off your CD cases and give the Brain Salad album another spin. It’s certainly one of the best albums of this generation and you’re very lucky to have one of the few copies out there.

Blast from the Past: Battery

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Since a lot of Filipinos are observing Lent, let’s refer to the pages of history and re-familiarize ourselves with a great band who didn’t just rock hard but also wore their faith on their collective sleeves. The band was a tight unit comprised of Mike Turner, Miguel Ortigas and Johnny Besa. Battery was formed around the time when the rock movement was slowly shifting to a more urban sound – there was good deal of rapping going on on a lot songs and old school rock was left in the hands of old reliables like Wolfgang and Razorback.

Michael Turner won as NU 107 Rock Awards 2000′s Guitarist of the Year and his win cemented his legacy as one of the most unique front men in the history of Pinoy Rock. Much of the hurt of the music lies in Turner’s faith and devotion to his god. All the songs of Battery had a significant religious slant – the lyrics were so dead on and that there’s no more debating whether the intention of the words were religious or not.

Christian rock music is rarely good so it’s definitely a plus to see a bad ass band like Battery who can rock as hard as any other band in the country. Their biggest hit was the song ‘Come To Me‘ – nominated for Song Of The Year back in the NU 107 Rock Awards for 2000 . The lyrics are really quite simple and easy to remember:


You come to me

when I can’t see

you comfort me when I call

Yahweh,  come to me.

It’s very hard to find a copy of Battery’s first and only album so you better ask your friends who were actively buying CDs during those days for a copy. There are also a handful of videos available online.