My current muse-of-a-band, Effinboiche, held their last gig last Saturday in Malate. I was there, and I gave Alex my book project.
Book project? See, I’ve had these ideas for compiling photos in a not so usual manner for the past few months. Pity I haven’t started printing even a small fraction of my photos, and the hundred or so prints I do have, pre-digital, are now unattended in shoeboxes. My affiliation with RFilipinas had me consider other practical ways to handle the situation, like inkjet printing on a paper-based album instead, or the actual making a coffee table type picture book. I wanted the photos from my China stay to be the initial project, but this was the time my feet constantly itched for gigs.
After a handful of online conversatons with Alex Fuentes (unarguably one of the cutest frontwomen of local rock), after random discussions with super-fan Joby Orosa, and knowing the band’s fate -as Alex is slated to leave for the US on Wednesday- the idea hatched: I wanted to go a la Cameron Crowe in his ‘Almost Famous‘ flick here, shooting chockful of photos-that-tell-stories, the kind that could convey how the collective copes with their situation, considering their growing popularity and fanbase, the radio airplay, gigs to juggle, etc.
The project was ambitious, but the day job, the tight schedules, and the unfortunate proximity, all of that was in the way. What started as a photo-docu idea had to be cut real lean, and what was left a few days before the project should be submitted for book printing was a handful of gig photos I took of the band. I was 50% satisfied with the material I had, but I just had to be a little creative (re layout) to make the output good enough. Good enough as a sendaway gift for Alex.
I had the book in my hands last Friday. The hardcover reminded me of the cheap thesis binding back in college, the printing wasn’t as flat, as the photos were all converted to black-and-white as desired (it was shiny/glossy), and the cover was an ugly pasted colored printout. This was it, and there wasn’t any time left for revisions.
Saturday was hectic. There was a full day’s work, a camera club meetup, and a baby shower. Oh, and during the social gatherings, I showed them the photo book. Yes, they noticed my photos were 99% Alex, and a wise-one from the camera club concluded I was in it because I was lovestruck. I had almost the same reactions from old college girl friends’ boyfriends from the baby shower. Sure, I’m hella charmed, but I don’t have inner demons to fight with on this one, but it also helps that I’m almost 12 years older.
I dragged myself to Malate around 11 in the evening. Joby was there early, and I was glad that around that time, plans for the night seem intact. The show venue was full, but ventilation was pretty bad, that I had to go outside for some air. Maybe I needed time to prepare, maybe I was nervous, maybe I was sad; I wasn’t sure of a lot of things around that time, but the plastic bag with The Effin Project book had to change hands that night.
I saw the band just outside, and Alex was quick to greet me. She asked me to sign a notebook with colored pens, I told her I’m giving her something. For about a quick minute after seeing the front cover of her guitar in a blue-black print, and leafing through the first pages of photos, uncontrollable tears welled up.
Awww. And I noted uncontrollable as Alex made a comment about crying in public.
The band was up on stage a few minutes after that, and I selected an odd position to stay put to shoot pictures, but I did anyway. The overall vibe was very positive, the performance solid, and the energy infectious: probably the best Effinboiche show I’ve been to. No encores, but Alex did her vocal part for The Best Mistake an Angulo (the band performing right after their set) song.
That was it. It was easy to realize that this was the second time I watched the last gig of a band (first was Narda’s): an utterly depressing fact I have to deal with for some time, I suppose.
As of now, I’ve decided to be considerably less active in covering the local gig scene, the part of it I deem worth covering that is. I sure don’t want to be confined to the label ‘rock photographer‘.
NAIA Centennial Terminal; October 17, 2007
Bye Alex. Be back soon.