I planned to stay sober last Friday but was confronted by the fact that I couldn’t stay sober and alcohol and good music are meant to make you feel immortal for a day or two. Anne Sexton couldn’t even stay sober. She talked to me in my sleep telling me I would live forever as long as I write and drink and write and drink. But it’s a struggle to be poetic with or without alcohol.
Last Friday’s gig wasn’t merely about the launching of Kanubis Clothing but it was also about Mindanao bands and musicians, great music, cool prizes given by Tattoo Avenue and Nine Nails and the artistically subtle atmosphere of ZLeaf.
Here are my thoughts about the gig performances:
JKid (Nhorm Quesada)
JKid is a rapper from Cotabato City who finds comfort creating music. He battles his own demons through music and struggles to find inner peace performing the rap songs he originally wrote for the past years.
One of my favorites is the song entitled “Ana”. It’s about a sex worker named Ana who offers sex services to support her grandmother’s medical expenses. It might sound like a typical story of most Filipinas who cannot find decent jobs here in the Philippines so they’re forced to become sex workers. But unlike songs that talk about prostitution and poverty, the whole song is not about blaming poverty and the society.
What I love about the song is how it provokes you to unconsciously imagine the whole scenario as you listen to her story, in his own words. I love the details and the tone of the speaker, giving you an impression that like her customers, he’s also drawn to her, sexualizes her yet a part of him also feels bad for her.
He doesn’t preach, but he tells you every scene pretending not to sound obscene. The obscenity lies not in its language but its images. My poetry teacher’s line will forever live within me – “Show, don’t tell.” Like Marshall Mathers’ songs, JKid’s songs are not the usual rap about sex, twerking women and flashy cars. Most of his songs are somehow related to social awareness and his experiences. To tell a vivid story and provoke emotion in three or four lines is a skill and Marshall Mathers does it all the time. Sad to say, the only thing that some people remember about Em is his “mom’s spaghetti”.
JKid continues to remind me that while rap is also a form of poetry, rap songs should not be criticized based on their meanings but their musical flow and rhythm as well. In literary theory, if I remember correctly, form and meaning are inseparable. In a formalist approach, the literary meaning of a particular literary work can only be achieved through its form and literary devices. When it comes to lyrics of songs, I think it’s inappropriate to criticize songs based on content alone. Don’t forget musicality and rhythm. That’s why until now I still can’t understand why some men from the literary society said that the “The Bohemian Rhapsody” isn’t very poetic at all, saying it is even meaningless. I adore Freddie Mercury and I think the melody, the lyrics, and the musicality are beautiful.
Side of the Moon
Side of the Moon made me more excited to hear Tool live. I was stunned for a few minutes because it was my first time to listen to Tool covers live. Also, maybe I was a bit nostalgic, annoying and drunk. My friend crucified me for a hundred times when I said Tool is alright. I don’t openly worship them maybe because when I listen to music I’m more on the atmosphere, emotions and nostalgia. He wanted me to worship them as much as I worship Marilyn Manson or Nine Inch Nails. Side of the Moon performed well and I believe they left an impression on the audience.
Amana’s music is refreshing and can be nostalgic as well. Gojira, Tool, Deftones and Lamb of God are some of the musical influences of the band’s musicality, although Tool and Deftones have the strongest influences in most of their songs. I’ve listened to Amana’s raw riffs many times, leaving me an impression that they constantly aim to achieve sound progression. For me, there must be a sense of progression in terms of flow and sound in order to add excitement and definitely to provoke. I don’t know with you, but for me, music or art, in general, must be provocative.
Another interesting fact about Amana is that their drummer is a female. You see many female band members playing the guitar but you don’t often see girls play the drums. I think it goes against the common perception that girls cannot understand music and its technicality.
The guitarist whom I know very well is very meticulous when it comes to their music’s flow and musicality. Following Amana’s creative process, somehow there is a struggle to create something unconventional. The band even defies doing covers, all of the songs they play are originally composed. I think that’s the purpose of forming a band, to create and not just to recreate.
My first impression: Psychedelic. And they like effects. The vocalist has a psychedelic aura and listening by the way the vocalist sings takes me somewhere trippy and nice and wonderful. Also, I adore the fact that they play their original songs, I believe it’s one way to promote local bands.
We Killed Samantha
I was already intoxicated when they started performing on stage. The only thing I remember was hearing them play “Omerta” and how excited I was when I heard them play. I feel lucky because the first time I heard Omerta live was played by Lamb of God itself two years ago when they visited the Philippines for the third time. They did “Redneck” and although something was a bit missing, perhaps the very low tune guitars made it difficult to achieve full clarity of sound, the vocalist’s presence was undeniably powerful.
We Killed Samantha definitely killed it.
Forgive me but alcohol disabled me mentally that I didn’t have the chance to hear BackStabells, Die Glocke and Odds and Evens play. What a shame.
Thanks to DemiGods Production and ManDieMuzik for organizing the event.
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