There were a few snags as we arrived at the Circuit Mall in Makati for the first Bandwagon Music Market in the Philippines. One, Shalla, who works the night shift, did not get any sleep, so I knew that we would have to skip some of the acts at one point. Two, while driving to the venue was hard, finding the Power Mac Center Spotlight was particularly difficult – although I blame it on the mall for not putting signs. It is hard to get to. I knew it was at the third floor, but we went up the wrong escalators and ended up at a chapel. Turns out we should have taken another set of stairs.
Hello. Niko here. Our review of the GoodVybes Festival, which took place last Saturday, would be a little different than we envisaged. We planned an essay of observations for the first major (arguably) music festival of 2016. We had a man on the ground: one of our contributing writers, Dexter Tan, bought tickets, making good on his vow to see Chvrches once and for all. And he was there.
Admission: my first exposure to B.P. Valenzuela were her tweets, often retweeted by my hipper-than-me friends. It’d be easy to dismiss her as another smart kid with a Twitter account, but then I saw her live and sort of understood the hype. Now I’m closer to getting it. The Neon Hour, her debut full-length, sounds accomplished and confident. It’s her cool coo, combined with the drum machines she’s always played with, combined with a few elegiac spins: unobtrusive synths, a bit of piano here and there. She sits comfortably in between the singer-songwriter and electro molds that define most Filipino indie artists today, and the result is a record that amazes with the surprises it pulls off… for the most part. If I had a minor quibble, it’s the album’s turn towards the bigger world on “Veneers”: the well-intentioned track somewhat killed the momentum and what followed it suffered, at least to me. Still, her subtly veiled lyrics, her delivery, and those little tricks – tip of the hat to the last minute of album opener “early/late” – make The Neon Hour a record that should transcend those tweets. [NB] | 4/5
Friday night’s Jack TV MAD Fest was, arguably, a festival built around the fact that they got Kimbra to perform. I mean, save for the four DJs that followed her – I didn’t watch them for obvious reasons, and also because Rainy and I were really tired – the acts were limited to three songs each. But it was a nice way to be reacquainted with the best Filipino music has to offer: a good mix of established acts and new ones bubbling under, making you wonder what the hell happened to “OPM is dead”? So, in the following paragraphs, my five highlights, plus a quick run through the rest.