Monday, September 11, 2006

The Road to Red Horse Beer Muziklaban 2006 Grand Finals

This was the first picture taken from the moment we arrived at Starmall, Las Piñas for the Red Horse Muziklaban 2006 Semifinals . The band just came off a grueling 2-hour trip from Pasig while listening to Slayer's Reign in Blood, with their hit single "Angel Of Mine" ("Angel of mine/Monarch to the kingdom of the dead!") and Sepultura's Arise ad nauseum.

Like the previous round of Muziklaban, bands were asked to arrive early for briefing, at around 1:30 P.M., even though the competition itself would begin at roughly 8 P.M. The band had a lot of time to kill, where they spend most of it goofing around, and to visit the nearby Internet shop flooding their YM and Friendster accounts with messages asking people to vote for them via text message *coughcoughlameandpatheticcough*

As of this point, at around 6 P.M., half of the band were tipsy after drinking a glass of Red Horse Beer with their empty stomachs. But just before their share of beer, all of the bands were asked to have their prerequisite 5-minute soundchecks in order to get the feel of what to except from their crappy (oops...) equipment. The bands who just had their soundcheck were greeted with applause and cheers from the other competing bands. However, by the time Descant Gott finished their soundcheck, everyone was silent. The bands who were cheering before didn't cheer this time. Only our friend who was with us throughout the entire event belted out in desperation, "WHOOOOO!!!!!" After this, I thought to myself, this is gonna be interesting...

Fast forward to the time when we played. It was around 11:30 in the evening, and people were jampacked in front of the stage with their sweaty bodies. By the time we were delivering our first song, the crowd roared in approval. I was taken away by the reaction of the people. As usual, I fucked up a lot of notes, but surprisingly, it did not matter. I have never played in front of such a huge crowd before, and to get this kind of reaction from people is extraordinary. Plus, the shot that was taken by our friend was awesome. Her shot made us look like we're really good, but the fact is, well, nevermind...

After the set, we just chilled out. Actually, I can't remember anything much at this point, except that the band gets to advance to the 2006 Red Horse Beer Muziklaban Grand Finals, and I was able to get tons of free backstage beer. Plus, each of us got a free Muziklaban shirt, and a 20% discount from items at JB Music.

Weeks before the Grand Finals, we had our gig at Mayrics. First off, I can attest to you with all my heart and being, that we are not, I repeat, NOT a lazy band! However, due to academic priorities (Jay and Loubelle), work schedules (Joji and I), and whatever (Carlo), the band was forced to make do with their remaining gigs prior to the Grand Finals and treat it as preparation for Muziklaban. As a result, we did fairly well. I think. Wait, I made a mistake with the last note of our song, thus destroying one of our stronger sets for quite a there.

A week later, and we're at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Open Grounds at Pasay, waiting for the Red Horse Beer Muziklaban 2006 to reach its 'exciting' finish (more of that later). Again, the remaining bands were asked to wait for the whole day, starting at 10 A.M. To make matters worse, the bands were trapped in this open wasteland where the ground was muddy because of last night's rain, and the scorching heat of the afternoon got us sweaty and smelly. And the gig hasn't even started yet. Even the camaderie that the bands shared prior to this afternoon was slowly set aside before of the frustation of waiting and doing nothing.

To give you an idea of how the evening went before we were summoned to the stage for our set, it has something to do with the new pair of shoes we got from Converse. See, the day before the Grand Finals, each of us were given a Converse All Star pair that was part of the deal after getting past the Semifinals leg of Muziklaban. Just to show you how much we were stoked to get the pair, the drummer and I wore the shoes at midnight and jogged along the halls of Robelle House where all the bands were staying, and we barged in on the rooms of some of the competing bands, most notably Kamia and I.M.O., and ran around their rooms flaunting our new pair of shoes. Of course, they have their own pair, but point is, I love my new Converse shoes!

Now, the Muziklaban organizers told us to wear the new Converse pair on the Grand Finals, since Converse is one of the sponsor for the event. If not, the band would be disqualified from participating in the event. Crappy rule, I might say. Still, in this case, rules are meant to be followed, especially when the P800,000 is within our reach!

However, walking through the Open Grounds immediately soiled, nay, defiled our brand new shoes! The feeling of desparation sinked in as everybody walked in the mud, which all of us did not except, while trying to keep their pair of Converse clean. The disappointment was palpable, as everybody, well, I, struggled to keep my composure under the heat of the sun, just because of a bum shoe.

And it didn't stop from there. Before the event started, which were spearheaded y opening numbers from Monkshood, 13th Issue, Mayonnaise, and the almighty Fuseboxx, the rain started to pour hard. Real hard. Not only were everybody's shoes destroyed, but we got, how do I say this, wet. Real wet. Great.

Unfortunately, this would serve as an ominous sign that cost us a good performance during our set in the evening. While we were setting up after Black Heaven's set, a great progressive rock act at that, drops of water were seeping from the roof, and the stage was quite wet. Still, by the moment we played the opening guitar lines of "Forgotten Paragon" to the crowd i.e. the ones who were moshing just below the stage, they completely went apeshit.

Seeing people get into the band's songs has an effect on you. Suddenlym I was just banging my head like I've never banged it before, I'm doing things on stage that I don't normally do. Suffice to say, we slayed on our first song.

The next three songs were shit, so it's not really worth mentioning...Well, just to give you an idea, the distortion sound that came out from the amp I was using started to sputter up until the end of the third song. I tried kicking the effects that I was using, trying to turn the cables around, but the sound continued to sputter. Even though I was able to fix the sound before the fourth song, it was too late. That was the end of it for me.

The series of events after our set became a haze. But if I remembered correctedly, Hard Boiled Eggz won the Grand Prize (Congratulations!), and...there.



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