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.
Two things struck me when I first saw (and, since I don’t have tabs on local music, heard) Tom’s Story. One, they’re really good live: there’s a musicality and tightness that their recorded songs don’t do justice, and watching them do it is electric, despite (or because of) the lack of vocals. Two, watching them live feels like you’re joining – or intruding into – an exclusive club, because post-rock has always been a hard genre to penetrate for the casual listener. I had those in mind when I finally got to listen to the band’s debut record, which is playful and, well, tight – although, again, you lose something in the recorded setting. It’s the sort of record you can’t listen to while doing something else, though. You need a really good set of headphones (I don’t) and solo time in a spacious room. Tom’s Story takes its time, revisiting themes with increasing intensity as the record plays on, until everything blurs into this one thing. That might have diluted the climax, though – that would be crowd favorite “Mugatu”, the one song with voices. Or, again, maybe it’s because I’m just listening to it on earphones. I swear, when I saw that live, even if I was new to them, and even if it really felt like I was just pretending to know, I could not help but say “hey!” along. [NB] | 3/5
“The next time Reese holds a collage-making workshop,” Rainy told me, “let me know. I want to join.” So, a little over five months ago, we stocked up on old magazines at Book Sale, bought a shiny new pair of scissors, and went to the workshop. Well, only she took part. I was just there hovering around, doing some pre-blogging (that would be our month-long series on OPM classics) and playing with some questions in my head.