The jazz, blues, electronica/goth/new wave, reggae/ska, hip-hop/R 'n B, and world music bands played in clubs and bars within Metrowalk.
Best of these venues: the Elbow Room, which had the blues bands. I swear I could have stayed here all night, with their cozy and squeaky clean interiors, the crowd, and the aircon that actually seemed to work that night. A glass of red wine here though cost me almost the price of the bottle at the supermarket, but frankly I didn't mind. It's just too bad I missed The Bembol Rockers since I was doing the rounds of bars and schedules were not followed.
The absolute worst of the venues: hands down Love to Laugh (is it a comedy club?) which hosted the reggae/ska bands. The place defines the word "tiny" as it was so small and so narrow that I thought it was no wider than the corridor outside. What's worse, they even asked for a cover charge from those who wished to enter. I pitied the reggae nuts and skinheads outside (who outnumbered the guys able to get in) who had to content themselves looking through the glass walls of the club, and it may be spring in Paris but it's still summer in Manila so it was scorching even at night. I mean, c'mon, you cannot hold a reggae/ska gig in a place like that. Where should the rude bwayz and girls pogo and skank?
Aruba hosted the jazz acts. Very strict dress code here and they really refused to let people in when the place was already getting uncomfortably full. When a bunch of people got out, finally they let me in. But of course those people would go out; SinoSikat had just finished their lone set and I was greeted by an empty stage. I also managed to squeeze into Metro Phi which hosted the new wave/goth/electronica acts. The place was alarmingly packed, but the music was hot!
I initially planned to just stay at the world music stage. Not so much of a stage, more like a veranda. I don't understand why among all the venues, Yoohoo (or Pulp magazine) did not provide any special lighting for this gig. The bands played in the dark! With acts like Kadangyan and Brigada, the place was truly bound to get crowded so when I decided to go out for a while and decided to go back, the gates were already closed because the place was already full.
Memo to Pulp: should you decide to sponsor this thing again next year (and maybe you should because it was a huge success what with the huge turnout), please PLEASE have another big stage to showcase the reggae/ska and world music bands. I'm sure their loyal followers wouldn't mind mixing it up with one another, and you have done it before. And isn't Fête de la Musique supposedly a showcase for bands like them?
(Click on any image to see more photos.)
On CNN iReport:
A short clip of Unitiima's performance:
A short clip of Kadangyan's performance: