Padstow’s Farewell (Sea Shanty)

Sea Shanties are maritime work songs sung to keep rhythm and make ship work pleasant. These usually talked of a sailor’s everyday life including work, bottles of rum, and longing for home and girls. They are usually sung in a call-and-response format with simple lyrics. With the dream of finding your fortune across the vast sea, communal singing, and musical story telling I don’t see what’s not to like about shanties.

This particular shanty, called Padstow’s Farewell, is about sailing away. I thought it appropriate as we sail away from the past year and into the new one.

It is time to go now
Haul away your anchor
Haul away your anchor
It’s our sailing time

This particular version is from Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. It is my favorite game in the series because of the sailing and naval mechanic and you get to play as a pirate captain and commandeer your own ship.

As you brave this vast new sea that is 2017, remember – like the sailors of old, that there is music to keep you in rhythm as you haul and shove to keep your ship afloat.

When your sailing’s over
Haul away for Heaven
Haul away for Heaven
God be by your side

Here’s a rendition of another shanty by a group called The Eskies.

Why I Attend The Best of Anime Every Year

The Best of Anime is an annual Anime and Pop Culture Convention held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. I first attended BOA on their second year back in 2011 and I have been coming back every year since then. Following my attendance, The Best of Anime, to me, has set the standard for local Anime and Cosplay conventions; and more local conventions are, in a way, following the scheme BOA has set.

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When pop culture gatherings were just emerging in local mainstream, the anime and cosplay convention scene had become very monotonous – when you’ve gone to one, you’ve gone to them all. There were exceptions, of course, but they cycled around barely notable things like celebrity guests, local in-scene bands, themes, or media coverage. And everyone apparently shared the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” notion; not realizing how an improvement could benefit the scene.

What I immediately noticed from attending The Best of Anime, was the initiative to stray from the norm and create an improved local con culture. However, they don’t just plaster the change up front; they ease participants into the changes compelling them realize the improvement on their own.

A good example of what BOA has brought to the table is the change in venue. Back then, almost all otaku and fan gatherings we’re held at the SM Megatrade Halls. These were tiny halls that were filled with as many booths as possible to catch up on venue costs; cons were literally just one long line around the venue. The SMX Convention Center on the other hand, allows for a systematized division of stage, booth, food, and cosplay areas.

The Best of Anime is one of the few conventions that encourage con-goers to be more interactive with the event. Compared to single focus cosplay events, BOA holds several competitions and activities, that even non-cosplayers get to enjoy; such as a karaoke competitions, battle of the bands, dubbing workshops, and gaming booths. They also give out awards for small-time presenters, booths, and co-organizers that take part in the event. Likewise, BOA supports healthy interscholastic competition with the Inter-School Cosplay Competition.

Of course, The Best of Anime is not without its showcase of talent. BOA boasts a roster of outstanding local and foreign talents every year. Among the celebrity cosplayers attending this year are Misa, Jun Kaise, Sara Tousa Bao, and Yau to name a few. This year’s musical lineup includes Haruna Luna, INKT, Uchusentai Noiz, Gracenote, and Tanya Markova.

I attend The Best of Anime every year because it doesn’t pretend to be something else – it is a legit Filipino Anime Convention with Pinoy organizers, Pinoy talent, and Pinoy attendees. With BOA, what you see is what you get; it encourages each attendee to be a part of the fun. It supports the secondary presenters and co-organizers as much as the big ones. I Attend The Best of Anime every year because I enjoy seeing the local con culture grow.

The Best of Anime will be on the 17th and 18th of this month at the SMX Convention Center. Click through to their website to learn more about the event and to purchase tickets. You can also follow them on Facebook for updates and announcements.

PVRIS [First Impressions]

For about almost a year now, everyone and their mothers have been trying to get me into PVRIS. PVRIS, pronounced Paris, is a rock trio made up of Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, Alex Babinski, and Brian McDonald. I’ve been reluctant, to give them ago because I’d prejudged them as ‘another Paramore clone’ while listening halfheartedly from a friend’s crappy mobile phone speakers.

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I finally got around to actually listening to them after noticing that they’ve been appearing more recently the suggested videos on my YouTube home page. Here are my thoughts on the first three videos from that section.

SMOKE

The intro feels kind of lacking, I feel like vocals jumps in too soon, which is not exactly a good or bad thing. This track has a decent enough groove to get me nodding my head unconsciously. The vocal refrain before the breakdown is a nice, refreshing touch. The lyrics are a step above the usual pop garbage, but it doesn’t really do it for me. The song ends as abruptly as it starts and I’m left here, confused.

The video is just as bland as the song. Though the effects were fairly technical, nothing really stood out. If I had the chance to do-over my PVRIS experience, I would’ve listened to My House first.

FIRE

This track is noticeably more viewed than Smoke. The musical style fits in more with the poppy rock sound of today. Fire is a power track that fails to follow through. Though it is a treat to get a taste of Gunnulfsen’s power vocals, the song just gets old by the second chorus.

The video looks like it’s trying and failing to cover up a low budget production. Which I can’t entirely for, as it is a big feat to make a video for every track of an album.

MIRRORS

This track surprised me with the glitch-rock elements at the beginning and I was totally hoping that this song would go that route. It’s a slow number, sure, but it does hold a kind of strength that makes it a decent enough track for a repeat. Of the three I first viewed, this one is my definite favorite. I enjoyed the emo-esque lyrics as well as the chant/pipe organ rhythm. The video was also an obvious step above the other two and was enjoyable to watch.

One thing that bothered me, however, was the lo-fi effects at the start of the second verse. It stuck out like a sore thumb and confused the hell out of me.

Now that I’ve had my first listen of PVRIS, I would have preferred them a Paramore clone instead, at least the All-We-Know-Is-Falling Paramore. In writing this, I realize that I may have been too rash with my critiques, after all, the largest criteria I judge bands by is how they perform live. So I looked up the first result of a live performance and came across My House performed live at the 2015 Warped Tour. Though there is no doubt that the band is musically talented, and they do know how to play a crowd, I don’t think I’m completely sold on them yet.

I’m not completely closing the case on PVRIS just yet. I look forward to something I could jam to with their future releases. They already have the huge following and I may be the only person on the fence about them, but I am still hopeful.

Band-Centric Anime Series For Your Watch List

I don’t remember a time in my life when music wasn’t present. Through the years, I’ve learned to appreciate various genre of music. I’ve taught myself to listen to new music and understand why some appeal more to me and why some don’t.

Of my experiences with music, being able to create it was one that developed my appreciation for it. One of the reasons I got into playing was the rush that comes with being able to create a complex sound with a band compared to playing alone. In a band, I feel like the passion and love for music is shared and multiplied among the members. Since then, the unity, camaraderie, and synergy of any band have appealed to me.

Here are some of band-centric anime that you should totally get into if you share the same passion toward music and creating it. I have only included shows that have watched and enjoyed. I haven’t watched every anime in the genre and if you think there should be a show that should be in this list, a comment would be much appreciated.

 

Sound Euphonium (響け! ユーフォニアム Hibike! Euphonium)

Sound! Euphonium, compared to the others on this list, deals with band concepts in a larger scale. The series is about the Kitauji High School Concert Band Club and their goal of competing in the national tournaments.

The main reason why Sound! Euphonium made my list is because of the way they touched up on an issue I related to regarding bass instruments. Bass instruments generally act as a supporting role in most pieces and are most fun to play when accompanied with a band. The series also covers arguments among band members, which I believe every band goes through. The show lightly touches upon the subject of having a future of being in a band which is a great thing to think about.

The show isn’t too highly technical about music and is easy to get into due to its light-hearted nature. The art is smooth and moe as with any other KyoAni projects.

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (ベック)

Beck tells the story of a band working their way through the Japanese Rock scene. Although the series is often called out on its subpar animation and inferior art, I believe the show makes up for it with the music. The series is peppered with amazing rock soundtrack consisting of anywhere from the classical hard rock to blood bumping brit-punk.

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is presented in a fun and slow paced slice-of-life series that reinforces realism. Many may put the series off for its inconclusive ending, I thinks it’s quite fitting as music itself is just as ambiguous.

Beck fails hard at the visual department and it takes a little effort to get over that fact. It is sincere as a slow-paced slice-of-life series and more so in the aspects of band life.

Kids on the Slope (坂道のアポロン Sakamichi no Apollon)

Jazz is a very complex and layered genre of music and I believe that Kids on the Slope has done justice to the music art form, as well as the culture. The show is set in a time where the popularity of Jazz is waning and is being overtaken by Rock and Roll.

The series was able to perfectly present the struggles and challenges of growing as a musician as well as a person compared to any other series on this list. The main characters, Karou and Sentaro, are often shown interacting, and even communicating, with each other through playing music. Though individually talented musicians, they discover that they can create something totally different together.

The series is directed by Shinichiro Watanabe who also directed Cowboy Bebop. The animation is smooth and the art style is clean. It features an amazing soundtrack and it encouraged me to look into Jazz.

K-On! (けいおん! Keion!)

K-On! Is a fun slice-of-life series that is focused toward the friendship aspect of being in a band. It reminded me of the feeling I had when I joined my first band that had been built from friendship.

The series show how it is sometimes difficult to be in a band with your closest friends because you often tend to forgo practice with hanging out and having fun. Sequentially it highlights the synergy factor that comes from friendship and closeness. How even without practice, nothing beats being well in-tune with each other (excuse the pun). It also shows in a somewhat

It is made by KyoAni; Similar to Sound! Euphonium, and it has that same cutesy animation. The show has plenty of tear-jerking moments, which I am a sucker for. In a cheery way it also shows how members of a tight-knot band support each other in and out of their music.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I don’t usually post these kinds of things on the blog, but recently, I’ve been nominated by ladyleemanila for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who inspire and bring sunshine to their readers and fellow bloggers through their posts. I am grateful to the handful of bloggers who follow my blog and think it’s something worth reading. Seeing at least one reader makes blogging about something I am passionate about worthwhile.

There are some rules that come with being nominated as a Sunshine Blogger, including answering a set of questions asked by the person who nominated you and nominating other bloggers for the award. I don’t think my current WordPress circle is big enough to complete the second task so I’ve decided to skip it.

Here are ladyleemanila’s questions for her nominees and I hope my answers tell more about who I am:

 

  1. What superpowers would you like to have?

I know I wouldn’t be alone when I say that I have spent a more-than-decent amount of time thinking about the answer to this question way before anyone has asked it. Hands down, I would like Wolverine’s healing factor. It would grant me near-immortality and I wouldn’t worry about injuring myself.

  1. What is your idea of having a good time?

A good time for me can be a lot of things. One of them is having a smoke out during a cold night. Another is listening to a new album driving aimlessly around the city I grew up in, late at night, with the windows down.

  1. Share a quote you like.

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. -Lemony Snicket

  1. Why do you blog?

I blog because I hate the way mainstream media tells the masses the local music scene is dead/dying. I am passionate about music and I care about local artists. More people need to be aware that there is more to local music than the bullshit mainstream media is feeding us.

  1. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you are reading?

I don’t generally listen to music when I read books. However, I do listen to alternative rock, post-hardcore, indie and the like when I read comics, articles, web comics, graphic novels, and blogs.

  1. What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?

I went through an emo/punk phase during highschool (who hasn’t?) and has since shopped for black clothes. I wouldn’t say it is what’s most comfortable, it’s just the majority of my wardrobe.

  1. What are at least five places you’ve enjoyed visiting?

Very recently, I enjoyed having visited Shibuya. Another is my hometown, Lipa. Baguio, Puerto Galera, and Bangkok are among my favorites.

  1. If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colors would you use?

Most of my childhood was spent playing video games, so I’d say mostly blues and whites to emulate the light radiating from the screens.

  1. If you had to change identities and start over, would you be someone completely different, or about the same?

If I could start over I wouldn’t change much. I’d just focus more on what I would do instead of thinking about the approval of others.

  1. Do you have a signature dish? If not, is there one in your family?

I am a one recipe guy in a family of amazing cooks. If there is one dish I am confident in making, it’s cottage pie.

  1. What do you seek long term, fame and/or influence, wealth, or happiness?

If I had to choose from the three, the smartest choice, I believe, would be influence since it usually entails the other two.

Again, I would like to thank ladyleemanila for nominating me, I really appreciate it. Give her a follow if you like poetry and photography. Her content includes various writing and photography challenges.

Fiona- Better Together Single Launch

Catch Fiona – an independent, QC-based, five piece rock band – drop their single, Better Together tomorrow at Route 196.

The first time I saw the band live was back in September of last year when they opened for Tanya Markova at the 70s Bistro. For an unsigned band, these guys can really play. This really no surprise, considering they were the grand winner at Sky Cable’s Bikes, Boards, and Bands back in 2014.

Musically, Fiona is very cohesive. It is evident how much the band has been playing together. Although their sound isn’t relatively rare, it has resonated to the right crowd. With a more than decent social media following, I believe the band will soon be off to greater heights.

Fiona, like most bands I tend to gravitate toward, plays a great live set. They’ll give all they have when it comes to radiating energy to the crowd; you can always expect a show when these guys are around. Mikki, frontwoman and vocals, stomps like she’s wearing Gene Simmons’ demon boots from the start of their set to the final note.

Catch the Better Together single launch at Route 196, tomorrow. Door charge is P250; it comes with a free bottle of beer and a copy of their single. Expect to see other local bands including December Avenue, Talata, 88 City, Mithi, and  Tanya Markova.  Don’t miss your only chance to get a physical copy of the single!

Fiona is very active with their social media so please support them by following and liking them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sky Is Everywhere 5: First Breath After Coma

The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them. It’s funny how this very Valentine’s-appropriate adage comes from the mind that brought us The Shining. However, when you think about it, it does kind of make sense. Stephen King wouldn’t be one of the best horror/suspense novelists if he did not understand the consequences of over saturating the audience. Still, the line between hackneyed clichés and contemporary direction is very thin and artists have always been thinking of ways to innovate the local creative scene. It takes a brilliant mind to conceive and execute a masterpiece and an equally brilliant mind to appreciate it. Break free from a stereotypical Valentine’s Day this year at Sky Is Everywhere 5: First Breath After Coma.

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Sky Is Everywhere is an outlet for local film makers to share and celebrate stories through short films. This year, Sky is Everywhere will showcase 20 short films following this year’s theme, First Breath After Coma. More than an channel to share their art, the event also creates an environment for creatives to share ideas. Get together with film enthusiasts from various walks of life looking to enjoy a night filled with art and inspiration.

This Valentine’s why not share your love for the arts and the local artists at Sky Is Everywhere 5: First Breath After Coma. The event will be on the 13th of February, Saturday at the Blackhouse Grill in Tambo, Lipa City from 7pm. Follow them on Facebook to learn more about the event and others like it in the future.

Imago- Anino

So everyone’s still abuzz from last Saturday’s Rakrakan Festival. Well, everyone from my side of the scene at least. And there’s this one song that had me thinking more than any others that was played during the event. This is Anino by Imago.

Chances are you’ve come across this song more than a couple of times. This came out when people’s main source of MVs were MYX and MTV. The song is still my favorite Imago track and is what got me into them.

When the drum intro started playing from the Move Stage, I had to stop and think for a whole three seconds before rushing towards the sound. The thing is, this song was originally performed by Imago’s then vocalist, Aia De Leon. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe Mayumi is an awesome addition to the band, I was a fan back when she was still part of Evening Tea Time (a Japanese cover band, but that’s a post for another time), the song just meant something more to me. You can’t blame me for pushing myself into that crowd with a bit of prejudice, but the moment the vocals started rolling in, I couldn’t stop myself from singing along. I was drowning in nostalgia, jumping around in a crowd of sweaty people, screaming out what air was left in my lungs, and was enjoying every minute of it.

Imago performed a sick set. Their sound has evolved and members came and went, but at the end of the day, they are still the same band. They continue to inspire OPM enthusiasts and music lovers in general through each passionate performance. Support them through their Facebook page. You can also learn more about them and upcoming gigs at the SoupStar website. You can also check out my Instagram to see my photos I’ve taken at the event.

Rakrakan Festival 2015: Bands to Look Forward To

It’s a little less than two weeks until one of the country’s biggest rock music festival. Rakista Radio’s Rakrakan Festival has been celebrating the local rock scene with a rock music festival since 2013. 70 awesome local talents playing on 3 stages, what more could you want from an OPM rock festival? The event will also host a skateboarding exhibition and competition, a street art competition, and an all-indie merch bazaar.

A countdown of the 70 participating bands started late October. Currently, the countdown is at number three, with two bands still waiting to be revealed. You can see the full line up and schedule here. I decided to make a list of five bands to look out for during the festival and what to expect from them.

  1. Franco
    Franco is a Post-Grunge band originally from Cebu. The band started as a supergroup but has disbanded in mid-2012, and now has a new lineup save for front man and vocalist Franco Reyes.

What to Expect:
Look forward to throwing up your horns to steady and solid rock. Let the soulful vocals put you in a trance. Franco is awesome live. Expect sick adlibs and solos from Paul Cañada. The occasional fan chant and hand clap moments aren’t unusual in a Franco set.

  1. Galaw Tao
    Galaw Tao is a local NU Metal band. I first caught these guys live at last year’s Rakrakan Festival and again at Drive Me to Juliet’s album launch. And they are all you can expect from a metal act: growling and screaming vocals, hardcore riffs, solid drum lines, and a bit of groove sneaked in here and there.

What to Expect:
Two words: Mosh Pits. Don’t be surprised if a pit starts two seconds in while they are setting up. Also, Kim Io’s sexy hair.

  1. Urbandub
    Urbandub is one of the best bands in the local scene. They’ve quickly reached mainstream success since their inception back in 2000. It’s a shame that their original bassist, Lalay Lim had to leave the band to pursue other priorities; she was one of the best bassists in the local scene.

What to Expect:
Look forward to heartbreaking lyrics and awesome music that everyone, and I mean everyone, will sing along to. If you aren’t singing, you’re in the wrong stage, maybe even the wrong event.

  1. Tanya Markova
    Your favorite shock pop clowns are coming again this year to give you your dose of darkness.

What to Expect:
I’ve seen the band play live several times including last year’s Rakrakan Festival and you can always expect a show with these guys. All the members are so animated it’s just so refreshing to watch. Also, selfies with the crowd when they play Picture Picture are always fun. It’s always a treat to see what Iwa Motors will be wearing. Be sure to cop a front row spot for these guys.

  1. Sandwich
    This is honestly my all-time favorite local band. I’ve wanted to write a review for their latest album, Debris, but I just never got to it. I might in the future though. I’ve seen them several times live and each performance is no less than stellar.

What to Expect:
Sandwich goes back, and I mean way back. Their style has transformed and evolved throughout the years so don’t be surprised to see everyone, from your rocker tito to hipster QC kids, elbowing their way to a front-row spot.

These are my top five picks from the 68 bands that have been revealed. There are still two bands that haven’t been announced yet, I’ve still got my fingers crossed for Pedicab. However, 5 bands do not make a rock festival. Here are some more awesome bands that will be playing:

Mayonnaise
Hilera
Manila Under Fire
Flying Ipis
Taken by Cars
Imago
Join The Club
Drive Me to Juliet
Save Me Hollywood

This year’s Rakrakan Festival will be at the Globe Circuit Event Grounds on December 19th, Saturday. Be there and mosh your way across thousands of fellow rakistas and scream your lungs out to your favorite songs and support the scene and your favorite local artists. Make sure to follow Rakista Radio on Facebook and download the app to learn more about this event and others like it in the future.