This is the start of something big! The ‘Rock Local’ concert at the MOA brought back to the consciousness of people the presence of our local bands. It was a reminder that so much talent abounds in our midst. An event like this was indeed a long time coming. It was something that had to be done to prove that the local scene—I repeat—the local scene is NOT DEAD! It is proof that our local bands are alive and well.
The concert was a mix of mainstream bands, upstarts, and veterans—with those three categories covering all grounds of genres and a few others we need to be re-accustomed to. The bands that showed up performed a set of three to four songs each. Here was the chance for these bands to shine and test the crowd reaction and participation now that they were finally given the opportunity to perform to a capacity crowd in a venue such as the MOA arena. It was not only a concert but a feast for the senses—to see these artists live, to hear their music, and to feel their energy and joy in performing made it a unique and singular experience. There was so much excitement and electricity in the arena following each band that was being featured.
There were bands that suited the varying tastes of the concertgoers. Indeed, there was a band for everyone! The advantage of a major event like this is that it allows some attendees to watch bands they have many never seen perform live or those they may never even have heard of before. Double-exposure! Not only both the bands who performed but for all the attendees as well. Plus, how the bands were distributed in order of appearance was very well thought out that it wasn’t like all the mainstream bands were the last to perform. The chronology of the bands’ appearance was spread out and unpredictable, thus lending much eagerness and excited anticipation for those in attendance. Further, the two-stage set-up guaranteed a fast transition between bands. The intervals after each band was to perform was quick because the respective crews of the bands made sure that they set up the equipment as soon as the previous band was done with itsset.
But it wasn’t as flawless as it seemed. There were some musicians who would complain—literally—on stage that the sound engineers tuned down the guitar so low that it was barely audible for the crowd that, in fact, there were moments no sound at all could be heard from the guitars. There were some mic problems, as well. Those problems became annoying and a headache in the long run. Some of us could not even understand what the vocalist was singing about because of the lousy sound and it wasn’t the fault of the vocalist, but the reverb/echo of their mics, which was so strong it messed up what could have been an excellent/superb performance. Especially worth noting was what happened to the short set of Bad Burn. It was a good thing, though, that the vocalist spoke up and asked the sound engineers to turn on the guitar of their guitarist. Otherwise, the five-piece hardcore/metal act would not have been able to sound right, to say the least, and they would have looked like fools on stage. The absence of the sound specific instrument, the guitar, happened also to Peso Movement when even the vocalist, Japs Sergio, joked with Francis “Brew” Reyes that he could finally hear his guitar work—in their last song.
It was really a bummer to most of us who wished the sound engineers had not tweaked or messed up the sound of these bands! This wasn’t a concert where you try to change the sound of a metal band performing on stage or you try to “sabotage” the sets of others. Strong words I know, but most of these bands may never be able to perform in a venue like this again, so why ruin it for them and try to make the experience unpleasant? Despite those glitches/shortcomings from the sound engineers, our local bands showed heart and were determined to continue performing and make the best out of these mishaps.
I have to give it, though, to the organizers and promoters of this major event—or rather, music festival—that showed how diverse and alive our local scene is. It was one of those things that I have secretly wished to happen. Just to be able to attend something like this that would showcase the wide-ranging talents of our local bands was also a dream come true for them, as they had expressed much happiness/joy to be there. They were so humble, saying thank you to those who attended, expressing their sentiment that the band scene isn’t dead and that whoever said that should attend gigs instead and be in an event such as this one.
My experience last night is something I will never forget. The element of unpredictability was there, which kept me glued to my seat. I finally got to see a few bands that rarely perform these days and that were active before my time such as influential bands like INDIO-I, The Jerks and so on. And to see crowd pleasers—taken by Cars, Mayonnaise, Paramita, Chicosci, Typecast, General Luna, Barbie Almalbis, etc., as well as veterans and established musicians from bands like Hijo, Pupil and Razorback; and new upstarts like S.H.A.G. and so many more bands that fall into different categories/classifications—felt like I had hit the jackpot because I did not have to go to numerous venues over a long period of time.
Hopefully, in the near future, there could be another major event like this one. Or this could even be done at least annually. The MOA Arena isn’t only for foreign artists even though this isn’t the first time a homegrown local artist/act performed in the said venue. The ‘Rock Local’ event was the one where force showed in numbers. These bands owned the venue! They performed as if they had a full set. They did their absolute best despite some problems caused by the sound engineers. They thanked everyone who came and showed support not only for the ‘Rock Local’ concert but more importantly for our local industry, because this night belonged to them and proved our local bands are active, striving and never giving up! My kudos to them and I believe because of this event, which raised greater awareness, there will be more support for our local bands. To all the bands that performed from the early hours of night until the wee hours of the morning, you all did a great job!
Perhaps one day, a few of these bands can headline or become the main event that would fill up the MOA Arena. Because they can and Dec. 15 was a testament to that. If given the chance, our bands won’t disappoint and they all know how to put on a good show! Hopefully, next time they don’t have the same sound engineers who kept messing up the sound of some of these bands (Bad Burn, Peso Movement, General Luna, and Chicosci). It wasn’t an acoustic concert or a concert by some generic, lame and boring artist who was performing revivals and recycling top-40 hits! Wasn’t this a rock concert?! Then, allow it to be… This is freakin’ ‘Rock Local’!!!
To quote what Kevin Roy of Razorback said before performing their last song of the set: “Who the f*** ever said Pinoy Rock was dead???