Wednesday, September 3, 2008

3 days of music & arts

I literally waited one whole year for the 4th Backdoor Ventures Arts & Music Festival, held at the SM Megatrade Hall from August 29 to 31 (click the image to see more photos). Last year's edition blew me away, when for the first time I caught live some of the best Filipino bands of the moment. Rock legend Joey Pepe Smith's finale on the second night was the icing on the cake.

This year though, I was not able to go on the second day because it was Eraserheads reunion day. The people who were there on the second day must have had a smashing good time, with bands like Coffebreak Island, The Chonkeys, and again Pepe Smith and Wally Gonzales closing the night. Woohoo!

Still, the first and third days were great, with memorable performances from The Dorques (whose music recalls that of The Jesus and Mary Chain), the psychedelic stylings of Syalam, The Bembol Rockers, the fabulously goth The Late Isabel, and Olivia, a newcomer who is truly a Pinoy Jazz revelation, backed by some of the best Filipino musicians. Two of the most well-received performances were by Kjwan and Queso. For many though, the highlight would be The Dawn, who closed the first day. They performed on the eve of the Eraserheads reunion, and I was (again) starstruck upon seeing The Dawn bassist Buddy Zabala (which always happens to me whenever I see an ex-Ehead).

The music and the musicians were generally great, but I briefly got worried that the Festival seemed to be repeating itself. The band line-up was almost identical to that of last year, the only glaring difference being the absence of Pinikpikan. Even the Halili-Cruz Ballet and Teatro Flamenco had the same dancers (and almost the same repertoire). Heck, some of the booths were even at the same exact spot as last year. The first thing the organizers should avoid is for the event to get boring and predictable. A bit of a shake-up will do wonders to next year's edition, which I am now eagerly looking forward to.

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