Contributing Writer Jules Ruizol shares her nostalgic night at Route 196 during the bar’s very first gig for 2019.
Last year, I was working the night shift and it hindered me from seeing gigs. I was totally in the dark with regards to the local music scene.
No wonder I thought music in 2018 sucked.
Trends from 2017, like future bass, trap and tropical house, continued to saturate Western pop and dance music. And my longtime guilty pleasure, KPop, was becoming less “K” and more Western (I could go on to explain why but I’ll save that for anyone who’s up for a friendly discussion or debate).
2018 was unoriginal, uninspired and lacklustre.
I knew I had to start the year right.
Many people in my age range would agree that the mid- and late 2000s gave us an influx of soundtracks that continue to be belted by every drunk karaoke singer at the barangay. Nostalgic yet cringe-y.
There is an unspoken judgment among music snobs: that they can’t take anyone who still listens to music from the 2000s seriously.
But I’m here to beg you to destroy this prejudice. You can’t shame people for having an affinity for past eras. I mean…when most of current music sounds like a repetitive variation of three to four chords and every pop vocalist sounds like an asthmatic hipster, there’s no place to go but backwards.
So you can only imagine how over the moon I was to find out that Indie Manila is paying tribute to one of the most creative, fun and innovative albums in OPM — The Itchyworms‘ Noon Time Show.
This album came out when I was 12 years old, in 6th grade going to my first year in high school. Even though the Internet (who remembers Friendster and Yahoo! Messenger?) was already widely used, my classmates and I would still look up and study chords through Song Hits.
I had forgotten how much of my younger years was spent listening to Noontime Show. Back then, I wasn’t a huge fan of the emo and pop punk genres, so this album for me was a breath of fresh air, something I didn’t think I needed until I had it. I had no idea music could sound like this, that it could be as creative, fun, quirky and witty as this. Through Noon Time Show, the Itchyworms introduced a wild concept to my young brain: that music can sound fucking great without taking itself too seriously.
I guess that’s why The Cohens‘ set was my favourite of the night. These dudes were born performers and knew exactly how to entertain and have fun. I’ve only seen them live twice (the first time, coincidentally, also included the Itchyworms in the lineup) and I definitely enjoyed them the second time around. They sounded more confident and more soulful, a sound that suits them very well.
One of the reasons I went to this gig was Oh, Flamingo! They have a special place in my heart since they were my introduction to the local indie scene. I missed seeing them live and I did not hold back from letting them know by claiming my spot during their set: front and centre. It’s no surprise how good they were, but seeing them again for the first time in a long time felt like an out-of-body experience.
I still can’t decide which one is better, their cover of the impossible “Salapi” or how they covered the Itchyworms without really covering them when they performed “Two Feet” using the “Love Team” riffs and then singing the Showtime theme song during the chorus.
And as if I wasn’t already devastated enough, Zsaris entered the platform and decided to melt our hearts and faces off. The one-woman act brought everyone, including Itchyworms themselves, out of their wits with her raw, emotional and stripped down version of “Falling Star.” Ms. Zsaris, if you’re reading this, this new fan of yours would like a studio version. I need to listen to it again.
In the middle of the set, The Itchyworms surprised everyone with “Production Number,” reminding everyone that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is not the only long, epic, crazy and impossible piece of music that exists.
While many people would argue that nostalgia is overrated, one cannot deny the power it holds. Sometimes you need to look back in order to move forward…especially if the past sounds more colourful than the present.
Indie Manila will continue to take music lovers back to memory lane with their album series so stay tuned for the next one.