No-frills music, frenetic energyBy Pocholo Concepcion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two recent concerts captured the essence of a great performance—authentic musicianship, pure passion and frenetic energy. In other words, a no-frills show that focuses on nothing more than the music.
NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City
One doesn’t have to be a fan to be impressed with The Wanted, one of two British-Irish groups (the other being One Direction) said to be leading a resurgence in the popularity of boy bands. What sets it apart from the likes of old heartthrobs such as New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys is that almost all the members of The Wanted play their own instruments onstage.
Too bad only a few hundred showed up at the NBC Tent to witness how Nathan Sykes, Tom Parker, Siva Kaneswaran, Max George and Jay McGuiness demolished the concept of a boy band that prioritizes good looks over musicality. Notwithstanding the necessity of flirting with the screaming diehards among the audience, The Wanted proceeded to perform its songs with the enthusiasm of a genuine rock ’n’ roll band.
After picking girls in the crowd to snuggle up with the group onstage while singing “Lightning”—two of the members fell on their knees as if professing undying love, the others locked in tight embrace with their chosen partners—The Wanted moved on to show everyone that life is not just about drooling on the cutesy side of teenage romance. With Nathan on keyboards, Max on bass, Tom on lead guitar and Siva on acoustic guitar, the band played songs that delved on one’s inner feelings and enjoying nature (“Say It on the Radio,” “Gold Forever,” “Chasing the Sun”)—even as these tunes did not really divert from youthful pursuits.
What mattered most was that these blokes did not sound like bland, wannabe rock stars who just stepped out of the pages of a glossy fashion magazine. In fact, they seemed to have real knowledge of the funky, R&B flavor in “Till I Found You,” one of the more exciting numbers in the show.
As the adoring fans yelled ecstatically while listening to “Glad You Came,” a hit track from the group’s new album, “Battleground,” we were walking on High Street of Global City, smiling at the thought that watching boy bands was not embarrassing, after all.
Smart Araneta Coliseum
The last time we watched Maroon 5 in May last year at Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center, the venue was not filled to capacity. And though the band played well, it was difficult to
enjoy the concert due to visual obstructions posed by concrete columns.
This time around, an SRO crowd made up of old and new fans of the American rock band were treated to a hassle-free show at the Big Dome—bare bones, straight-ahead music enhanced by the magnetic presence of singer Adam Levine.
The songs bounced from current hits (“Payphone,” “Lucky Strike,” “One More Night” and “Daylight” from the 2012 album “Overexposed”) to past favorites (“Sunday Morning,” “Won’t Go Home Without You,” “Harder To Breathe,” “Misery,” “This Love”)—all of which defined the solid interplay that Maroon 5 has come to be known for.
James Valentine’s funk-inspired riffs laid the groundwork for Levine to depict love and its complications in a teenage voice complemented by his perky, sexy strut.
The band recaptured disco’s heyday without sounding mechanical—live drums and bass pounding on simple but energizing beats.
As early as the second song, the band cranked out the teasing vibe of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” as a prelude to the night’s party mood.
The hypnotic reggae in “One More Night” elevated the euphoric atmosphere. And when Levine shook his hips on “Hands All Over Me,” his sex symbol image was immortalized.
He nearly lost his breath while singing “Moves Like Jagger,” but the fans hardly cared—they were busy shouting and dancing.
Disco never looked or felt this good.
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