Freshmen beat seniors at ‘Sessionistas’ finalsBy Tony M. Maghirang
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The freshmen literally beat the seniors in this year’s “Greenhills Sessionistas” finals at the G-Strip open parking area of the Greenhills Shopping Center recently.
Teen band Kombo ni Vjosh, fronted by a wisp of a young woman and with an 11-year-old on drums, was adjudged 2012 “Sessionistas” champion. The win also included cash prizes, gift certificates and a four-night gig at Tiendesitas.
Kombo ni Vjosh is composed of vocalist and lone female member Dezza Guevarra, drummer Vjosh Domingo, guitarist Ston Velasquez, bassist Echo Sunga and keyboardist Marco Balunsat. The last to perform on finals night, Kombo ni Vjosh initially drew surprise when its youthful members took their places onstage. But after an impressive run on Gloc-9’s “Upuan” in which the vocalist did justice to the main tune and the drummer rapped while hitting the skins, the band quickly made a good impression.
A rocking remake of Bon Jovi’s pop-metal classic “You Give Love a Bad Name” gave the rhythm section and the guitarist their chance to shine. Their final piece, an original composition, was an earnest rock ballad that brought the house down.
Commenting on the band’s performance, the competition jurors—Imago’s Zach Lucero, The Jerk’s Chickoy Pura, and former The Dawn guitarist Francis Reyes—agreed that Kombo ni Vjosh performed excellently and in synch.
Reyes expressed his appreciation that the band members knew exactly what they wanted to do. He said: “You guys will make it in music. But no matter what happens, don’t forget your studies. And please, don’t let this triumph go to your head. Or I’ll be the first to look for all of you and knock some sense into each of you!”
After the show, Pura told the Inquirer: “(Kombo ni Vjosh)… simply outperformed the older competitors. The band’s musical proficiency was very high despite its members’ (young) age and the high degree of difficulty of the materials it performed. To top it all, it delivered a very entertaining set.”
The winning band faced strong challenges from the four other competing groups. Prior to Vjosh’s performance, Kalam uncorked an impressive set that earned kudos from the judges for the excellent moves and voice of the singer and the complimenting instrumentation.
Another finalist, Hype Faith Story, rocked the crowd early on except that it went on too long, dissipating the good things it showed at the start.
Each of the finalists went through semifinal sessions conducted on Friday nights of September. Three finalists, Kombo ni Vjosh, Kalam and Recheil and Friends, competed on the last Friday night semis of the month.
A guest band and a guest jammer were invited to play in the semifinal round. This year, guest acts included Kitchie Nadal, Pupil and Wolfgang. Those who jammed with the aspiring bands were Ian Umali of POT, Mike Elgar of Rivermaya and Renmin Nadela of Agaw Agimat, who mixed it up with the eventual champions.
Last year’s “Sessionistas” champ, Supremo, displayed its winning form with an overpowering set of emotionally charged heavy rock reminiscent of Urbandub in sound and delivery.
The judges themselves formed an informal jam band called The Tito Boys and offered a set of blues and rock and roll numbers. The Juan de la Cruz Band capped the finals night, revisiting some of its anthemic Pinoy rock hits to the delight of the audience.
“Greenhills Sessionistas” is a band competition among students from Metro Manila. What sets it apart from other battles of the bands is that the contestants are given the chance to jam with big-name local artists during each session.
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