Original Pinoy Music (OPM) goes where the local bands are.
That simple yet powerful declaration is one I personally attribute to the late Jeff Valisno, a close friend in the media circuit who offered his two cents’ worthwhile we were conversing about the local music scene a few years back, or shortly before he suddenly died at the young age of 36.
As I recall it, we were kind of frustrated that bands have not returned to a flourishing state for quite a while. This decade has no clear flagship bands to boast like Eraserheads in the ‘90s or Bamboo a decade after.
Things have changed so to speak and it dawned on me that strength in numbers over individual pursuits has become the name of the game. Thus, last Dec.10 at The Music Hall (in Metrowalk, Ortigas) when Viva Records presented to music media four of their signed band acts in one occasion, that made sense.
Of the four, it was basic instinct I would find the synth-flavored music of Brisom most interesting as I am into new wave, too. Band leader Brian Sombero looked back to inadvertently hearing a lot from that decade of decadence. “I listened to the best groups of the ‘80s: New Order, The Cure, The Police, and all those bands. I was opened up to these great artists and that’s what’s playing in the background while I was growing up.”
Interestingly, Brisom’s new single “Hagkan” is a synth-drenched, mid-tempo ballad that can’t be confused for a classic British act cover.
Next on stage was BennyBunnyBand which hails Grin Department as their main influence. The electrifying three-piece band of Benny Giron (ukulele and vocals), Ess Bobadilla (bass), and Jhenico Dela Cruz (drums) justified calling their genre Kuneho Rock as Giron’s energy couldn’t be denied. He went down the rabbit hole, but with some good music and vocal harmonies to guide him back up.
The third act, Feel Day may not be as upfront as the first two but made up for good chemistry as a chill collective. “Salamin” reflects that in a good mix. Songwriting is a strength, too, and this group bagged the PhilPop 2018 2nd Runner-Up award for interpreting “Ako Ako”, written by the band’s frontman Jek Buenafe.
Then there’s This Band which already hit the number one spot on Philippine Viral 50 charts and even broke into the Global Viral Charts on Spotify. Their breakthrough piece “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na” is now theme song of a film bearing the same title.
The band went through various male singers before finding lady singer Andrea Manzano whose voice can pass up as a clone for KZ Tandingan’s. It’s a compliment and it may be the main reason why they transformed from that band to This Band. Andrea’s male backers are Euwie Loria (rhythm guitar), John Macaranas (drums), Michael Galvan (bass), as well as new recruits Melvin Carson (keyboards) and Raymart Gubat (lead guitars) who debuted on the single “Hindi Na Nga.”
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