This photo, an easy and obvious favorite for this year, was taken at the annual Revolver Productions event called Bikini Night, where female fronted bands would, well, you get the idea.
The past year was when I would take home a few choice shots from a gig, and just stick with it. It was also a mix of covering older bands, and making my entry into local heavy metal, both which not a lot of gig photographers cover, but I’m more than glad to indulge myself in it.
Shonen Knife (Japan)
I ditched the wedding reception of my college best friend for this. I was pissed most of the time because the closest I could get with my camera wasn’t as close as I wanted (shot above was already at 70mm). I had no media pass to shoot in front of the stage, either. Shot above took care of that mood though. I had a tape of the band you see, and I bet a good chunk of the audience just went there because 1) it was a free concert, 2) they know the band did a cover of Top of The World, 3) they’re Japanese, 4) its a cool thing to watch. I’m mighty proud of this paparazzi photo, too.
I had a 90s indie-pop phase, and I even emailed Johann, the other half of Club 8, back in the dialup internet days. I told him I heard a song of theirs played during a comedy skit (Bulagaan) in a noontime show (Eat Bulaga!). I’m not much of a fan anymore, but I don’t want to regret not going to this concert. I was near the stage, but not near enough. After a song or two, I decided to just cross the barrier, and shoot in front of the stage. Organizers didn’t object, and I was a happy camper shooting with a borrowed camera.
I didn’t know who Warbringer was, only that they were under the mighty Century Media label roster (label-mates include longtime favorite Napalm Death), which was enough to convince me to watch. This gig wasn’t organized by some big prodcution company, it was the metal fans that brought them here. The music was thrash metal, and any rocker of my age would be glad to have a familiar serving of the sort of metal we grew up with.
Renknowned saxophonist Tots Tolentino is a member of our camera club, and he gave an open invite for people to watch this big band jazz collective. I went, and was more than happy that I was witnessing something not a lot of people are interested to watch anymore, but would easily kick any band off their pedestal for being just too awesome. Shot above also received compliment from one of my local photography idols Eric Sales.
Manila Symphony Orchestra
Another top-calibre musician, violinist Joseph Esmilla, another member of my camera club, was a guest conductor for the Manila Symphony Orchestra, and had invited a few of us to watch. I didn’t have any expectations for it to be a grand photo-op, but it was my first time to watch a classical music performance, so I still did bring the camera. I won’t pretend to understand much of what transpired, but it was a very inspiring experience, something that I won’t hesitate to take again.
SHOT ON FILM
It was owning a few rolls of Neopan 1600 that made me do something I’ve never done before: shoot a gig on film. This photo was from a just-opened bar, where they had a few one-color stagelights, and all I had was an all manual Spotmatic SLR, and a Takumar 50mm f1.8 lens. Some of the photos from this series also made it to photographic paper, on my first attempt at traditional, non-digital printing. Those photos were then given to Armi, subject above.
I was on an apparent gigs-on-film high, after seeing the promise of the first shoot. This time, I shot with better lighting, less people, but I made the mistake of using a Jupiter 12 f/2.8 35mm lens on a Fed 2 rangefinder, sans a 35mm viewfinder. I hate to crop, but one has to sometimes. I am awed by how wonderful the lens is, though. Note the flying cut guitar string detail from the shot above.
Now this was where I had the best lighting, since it was set on a proper soundstage, and was being recorded for internet broadcast. Armed again with the hand-me-down, all-manual Spotmatic SLR, the same 50mm f/1.8 Takumar lens (all probably made in the early 80s) some rolls of Fujicolor 400 film, I’m always surprised at how the focus is spot-on, and how not-bad the shots came out.
Loubelle (Descant Gott)
Ode to LaLuna
The photos above were taken from an all-female fronted metal bands gig, which may take the top spot of favorite gig of 2010. Descant Gott didn’t play due to lack of members, but since the band vocalist Loubelle was already there, she jammed with other metalheads, and though I’ve seen her band beofre, I didn’t know she could be this, for lack of a better word, brutal. Oremuz was again at their mesmerizing state, and the all-girl melodic metal outfit Ode to Laluna left a good and lasting impression on me, that I decided to follow them at some of their succeeding gigs.
While everyone was doing their gimmicky Halloween parties, I witnessed fire-breathing, fake blood spitting, and real severed goatheads suspended on a stage somewhere in Kamuning.
MASTERS OF ROCK
Cocojam is of almost-legend status, rocker kids these days should know that. It was pitiful that I was the only one photo-documenting this event. See, I wasn’t going to just dismiss this opportunity, even if Rolly (vocalist/guitarist/songwriter) didn’t have the voice I’ve only heard on recordings.
I haven’t seen Jun Lopito play yet, but I was sure of one thing: he will not disappoint. Aside from playing lead guitar for Coccojam, he made that night by playing the ultra-cool Pure Soul, a mild radio hit back in the 90s.
The Youth were superstars back in my high school, but I only got to seem a decade or so after. I saw them twice this year, and at that last gig, I decided to just keep the camera mostly hidden and just enjoy what I’ve missed all this time. Hearing them play Takbo, and witnessing a fight break out in the audience moshpit made miss the 90s so much more.
Oddly, for most I guess, I loved the Yano phase sans Dong Abay. Songs like Tara, Kaklase, and Paalam Sampaguita are local song gems. Remaining original member Eric Gancio retained the sound, and he was still legitimate punk rock, Pinoy-style. However, at this gig, this version of Yano stuck to the more popular songs, which did disappoint me, because, fact is, Eric is no Dong. The big consolation was that they did play Paalam Sampaguita.