The kids are all right | Inquirer Entertainment

The kids are all right

The Philippines’ Brat Pack, Memphis International Blues Challenge finalist, launches debut album in concert series
/ 12:40 AM July 14, 2014

This pack, especially, seems to be growing in the best way possible.

Pinoy blues band The Brat Pack launched its independently produced debut album, “Brattitude!” with a bang on Saturday, July 5, at the Roadhouse Manila Bay, Mall of Asia. It was the opening gig of a three-leg promo concert series that took them next to 121 Allegro on July 10. On Thursday, July 16, the series winds up at Strumm’s Makati.

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Composed of Promil wiz kid RJ Pineda—all grown up now—on keyboards, David de Koenigswarter on bass guitar, Allan Abdulla on drums and Xtine Mercado on vocals, the young quartet put on its trademark performance—uniquely engaging, fun-filled—that has earned it a sizeable following here and in the United States.

Brat Pack is riding the crest of its celebrated near-conquest of Memphis early this year, as one of nine out of about 150 entries to reach the finals of the prestigious 30th International Blues Challenge band competition in Tennessee.

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The group has since been in great demand locally. It was picked to perform at a party during the recent World Economic Forum. No doubt, this popularity is in part due to lively “show band” signature performances. This, plus virtuoso solos and creative song arrangements, laced with bits of soul, jazz and good old barrelhouse rock ’n’ roll, have served band and genre well, attracting more than just dyed-in-the-wool blues freaks to their shows.

“The blues doesn’t have to be sad,” explains bass player David de Koenigswarter. “When we play, we make it as engaging, funny and happy as possible.”

Backup brass

 

Backing up the Brat Pack in the latter part of the show at Roadhouse Manila Bay was a three-piece brass section—Nicole Tejedor, Eugene Felix and Robert de la Cruz—and Hoochie Coochie Mikkie/Mykell Bryant Gozon, who collaborated on vocals and slide guitar on one of two Tagalog songs in the album.

Hoochie Coochie Mikkie opened the show as well, followed by the freshly formed young power blues trio Mean Jay, featuring rising 15-year-old guitar sensation Joko Reantaso, bassist Cariissa Ramos and drummer Zachary Zerrudo. And then, still the coolest blues band in town after about 15 years, the Blue Rats, fronted by Clare Lapuz and Melinda Torre on vocals and fueled by its vaunted guitar triad of Joey Puyat, Kedy Sanchez and Andy Locsin, with Tom Epperson on blues harmonica, Johnny Besa on bass and Gilbert Asuque on drums.

Definitive

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The Brat Pack album’s title track, “Brattitude,” best describes the band, David volunteers. “Our music is…a little bit of blues, jazz, rock ’n’ roll and soul at the same time. You might say that ‘Brattitude’ is also our ‘theme song’ and [actually molded] the band. When we composed it, Brat Pack took a different direction—toward music that is entertaining, lively, driven, very exciting.”

Part of the proceeds of the next batch of CD pressings will be donated to Supertyphoon “Yolanda” victims in Tacloban, Leyte. Later this year, the band, in collaboration with the Philippine Blues Society, will spearhead “Leyte Musical Relief,” a series of free guitar clinics to be held in the province’s affected areas.

Funds to be raised from planned album tours abroad are earmarked for the purchase of guitars that will be used in the clinics (and maybe given away to participants).

Explains David, “My family is from Tacloban, and another song in the album, ‘Haiyan Blues,’ recounts the experiences of family and friends who were victims.”

Distribution plans and online sales are still being ironed out, but “Brattitude!” was made available at the two previous concert venues, and will be for sale again on Thursday at Strumm’s Makati.

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TAGS: Brattitude!, Concerts, Entertainment, Music, The Brat Pack
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