Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Whatta Fete!

(updated)

In a way, the Fete is a lot like cable TV; you get over a hundred "channels" but in reality, there are only a handful of programs that appeal to your taste, only a few that you really want to watch. Everything else you either don't understand or don't really like and, therefore, isn't worth your time. Still, you gotta admit, having cable is way better than regular TV precisely because you get all those choices. And that's why once again, for the third year in a row, I found myself in the middle of a massive crowd who turned out for the year's biggest music festival.

I would have wanted to be there as early as I could to see the first few bands, most of which were, of course, unknown. Who knows, maybe I'd have discovered a great new act. But, I hadn't had any sleep yet that day owing to an all-nighter at a friend's place, so my friend Jeng and I met up and had dinner at Megamall at around 9pm before heading out to El Pueblo, where things were already in full swing.

Seeing as events like this always brought out the creative and the attention-deprived individuals out there, I thought it would be fun to list down some of the more innovative, funny and intentionally obscene shirts I saw people wear at the Fete that night.

Smart-ass shirt of the hour: Ass, Gas or Grass. Nobody Rides for Free

Cynthia Alexander, as usual, kicked things off at the World Stage and she was playing one of her signatures when we got there. I had worked out an itinerary for us to follow, and based on the schedule, our first stop that night was the Jazz stage at San Mig Pub to see my friend and erstwhile editor at a magazine I moonlight for, Isha aka Peach aka Pearlsha Abubakar. Like everywhere else there, every inch of space was occupied by sweaty (and some smelly) presumably jazz enthusiasts. Bo Razon and his band were finishing up their set with a show-stopping rendition of "Fever" when we arrived. Isha was off to a bumpy start when she had technical difficulties with her keyboard and the non-appearance of the rest of her band, but everything was eventually straightened out and she delivered a solid performance. I've always thought of her as a jazz singer and pianist with an edge, with her whimsical style and innovative interpretations of New Wave songs, including Dream Academy's "Life in A Northern Town." She also did her requisite Tori Amos cover and a few originals, and eventually, the crowd warmed up to her and cheered her on.

Next up was Sound, and although I've seen them live maybe four or five times before, I have yet to grow tired of their brand of bossa-nova infused jazz-pop. They played songs from their upcoming sophomore album, as well as a couple from their debut. (Once again, I saw and heard not a few swooning admirers of percussionist David Esteban, and, though I know they're all talented and bring something unique to the Pinoy music scene, I had to wonder how many of their fans actually like them for their music). They also did a well-received, jazz-ified cover of Gary Valenciano's "Di Na Natuto," which, in my opinion, was really good.

Smart-ass shirt of the hour: Go Fork Yourself

After their set, we made a quick trip to the Hiphop and RnB stage at Friends where Jeng's friend (who had tagged along with us) met up with her boyfriend who was performing. Female rapper Buttaflava was doing her thing accompanied by a fellow female doing the spinning. Kaliph8 was up next with his Eminem-in-8mile brand of impromptu rap. We didn't stay long; just as we were served beer by Jeng's friend's jersey-clad amour I got a text from another friend who was over at the Alternative stage saying Hale was already playing.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed their debut album, I've never seen Hale perform live before. And so we hightailed it out of Friends, past the sea of warm bodies in El Pueblo, crossed-over the chest-high center street island and waded into more people at the Alternative stage in Podium. Unfortunately, when we got there, Hale vocalist Champ was already wailing the last few lines of "The Day You Said Goodnight." Tsk. Too bad. Guess I'll just have to see them some other time.

Smart-ass shirt of the hour: Great Legs. What Time Do They Open?

So back we went to the world stage to kill time until the next band on my itinerary. We caught up with some of my other friends and we all hung out in front of San Mig Pub with San Mig Light on our hands, listening to the music of Jr. Kilat. I saw him perform once before in Boracay and I can't say much about him except I wonder where he gets the drugs that keep him in near-perpetual ecstasy when he performs. (I'm kidding of course. Or maybe not.)

I had wanted to check out the band Naked Tongue at the Blues stage inside Sidebar, but they weren't letting people in anymore because the place was practically bursting at the seams. So back I went to our place in front of San Mig Pub. A few minutes later, my friend spotted Cynthia Alexander, yeah, THE Cynthia, leaving Sidebar. My friend approached her and asked to have her photo taken with her, and surprisingly, she obliged. Unfortunately, my other friend wasn't as lucky, she rushed off after the first picture was taken. Heh. Was my other friend bummed.

Hello John (picture of stick guy throwing up in the toilet)

After a couple of beers, we went back to the Alternative stage as it was time for Bridge and Stonefree. Eventually, Jeng and I got separated from everyone else and we ended up right in front of UCC coffee just as Barbie's Cradle finished their set. Up next was Narda. I kind of know the band as I was able to interview them about a year ago; they're alright.

Up next was Stonefree. Of course they opened with their monster hit, "Listen." I actually know this band from way back. Miro is a batchmate and they played during our Graduation party at Hard Rock back in 1999. Jeng has a thing for him (buking!), so she insisted we push and shove our way into the crowd so we could see him play better. Good thing the people there were a bit more behaved than, say the rock stage; I'd hate to explain to our friends how Jeng got squished trying to come closer to the stage.

Smart-ass shirt of the hour: Fuck You You Fuckin' Fuck.

I would've wanted to stay and wait for Bridge (who was a bit late. They came from a gig in 70's bistro), but I didn't want to miss Mishka Adam's set back at San Mig Pub. Wahijuara was playing as we squeezed ourselves back in. Finally, Mishka went up onstage. It took a while before she and her band (which included bassist ng bayan Louie Talan) started playing; she even asked the audience for a guitar pick, and instantly, several people scrambled to give her one. One guy even threw the pick out to her all the way from the other end of the room. Of course, it didn't reach her. She did a good job, as usual. She has that languorous voice that's just perfect for all those jazz standards.

We didn't get to finish her set though as Jeng's friend showed up and wanted to see some other bands. We left San Mig Pub and headed to the World/Main Stage. At this point, fatigue was finally catching up to me. But I stayed for a while at the rock stage to catch Razorback (yeah, they're a bit louder than the kind of music I usually listen to, but I like them). The scene was pretty funny: in a sea of dudes dressed in black, one shirtless guy managed to climb on top of the stage and, well, pretty much tried to disrupt Kevin and the rest of the band with his crazy antics. But the security guys tried to stop him and push him back into the crowd. The problem was, the crowd was so thick there was no way the guy would fall back down on them. Besides, everybody in the front row was pushing him back up, so the poor guy was being pushed back and forth in the middle of the stage, with neither side showing any sign of giving up. Hilarious.

Smart-ass shirt of the hour: I'm Fat But You're Ugly And I Can Diet

Afterwards I said goodbye to Jeng and her friend and headed for home. I was carrying a Fete poster, which I tore off the wall at Friends. The ringing in my ears wouldn't stop until late the next day, but overall, I'd say it was a night well-spent. Next year ulit!

16 Comments:

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I'm Fat But You're Ugly And I Can Diet.. that's wicked..

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yeah i couldn't help but snicker after seeing it on some chubby guy's shirt. but then there's always plastic surgery...

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