Bicol X Strikes Back: It’s Not About the Haters
There is a popular Filipino saying that, “Kapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.” (“If somebody throws a rock at you, throw bread back at them”). In Bicol X’s case, they threw a gig.
When there are likers, there may also come haters, especially with fame. As Bicol X has become a renowned music production for holding the most rocking gigs and showcasing the most “oragon” bands, amidst their success, creeps some haters. That is why for Bicol X’s Bicol X Music 5, they had a subtle approach to haters in their theme, which was “Bicol X Strikes Back”, held last Oct 17, 2014 at JD’s Point Restaurant and Bar.
Bicol X had been lying low for some time though, not having any gig for two months since July. Usually they have some gigs every month, which, aside from their counteraction, is the main reason why their theme is so. It is their grand return after a period of rest. And they rocked that gig so hard as if it was their lover they haven’t seen for quite a while.
“Our gigs are not about the haters. I don’t compare our scene to others. It just became our counteraction to the haters. But it really is not for the haters,” said Noel Addison Agnote, one of the co-founders of Bicol X, brushing them haters off and just continuing with what they do best.
Bicol X Strikes Back was a pre-launch party that was to showcase 14 bands whom are some of the most talented acts in the local music scene such as: Bicolano Rappers Organization, Scars for Maria, College Format, Naturalismo, The Doldrums, Code of Chivalry, Muchass Grassas, Jack in the Box, Krear Bathala, One Hour Recover, Pennies4Jane, Prey, Indigo, and Perdition. They were the chosen ones to be part of the Bicol X Compilation Album to be released next year; a nifty concoction Bicol X is cooking up, that’s something to look forward to.
Alongside the gig was also the release of such ingenious creations of shirts from four Bicolano clothing lines namely, Eleventh Hour Clothing, Ezkill, Morbid Pumpkin, and Urag Wear. Besides these shirts’ awesome designs, the fact that they’re Albay made makes it totally “oragon” and something that we Bicolanos could be proud of. Bicol X merchandise were also sold with discounts on some selected items. They were some pretty fair deals on some sweet items.
Tickets were sold for the affordable price of P 80, pre-sale and P 100, at the gate. I can say that it was worth the price for it came with a free beer, and it’s one hella good gig as what Bicol X usually brings; an event where in you can enjoy great music and booze-up.
Unfortunately, two bands, Pennies4Jane and Krear Bathala weren’t able to show up for some reason. But in their absence, two bands, Red Buttons and 32-20 Barrel Blues joined in to substitute and opened the gig.
First up was garage punk band, Red Buttons with a performance bursting with energy. It’s amazing how so much energy exuded from a band that’s composed of only two members. The venue came alive. They played their original compositions, “Run Forrest Run”, which is about being LATE- being late at work, love, etc. It was influenced by the movie Forrest Gump; “Adventure Time”, which is just about the cartoon Adventure Time; and “Dream Sequence”, which is all about fragments of a dream and remembering them during day time. The words are randomly written just like in a dream. The inspirations for their compositions come from random things.
Then there was a change of mood as it turned more toned down and relaxed as 32-20 Barrel Blues followed with covers of “Gimme One Reason” by Tracy Chapman, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison, and “Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin, that made the audience dance and sing along in their seats as they were feeling the music.
The bluesy feel shifted to a head bobbing moment as the unique bunch among the lineup, Bicolano Rappers Organization took the stage with their original compositions, “Entablado” by Thrilla deKalibre, Silverbone, and Chunkee; “Fly High” by Chunkee; “Paskong Wala ka” by Thrilla deKalibre feat. Mikidee and Breezy Jane; “Tara Na Sa Albay” by Oragon Departamento of Bicolano Rappers Org. Personal experiences are what their songs talk about. In composing their songs, they make use of poetry and influences from other genres. Their genre sets them apart as they’re the only ones who does rap, thus bringing a different flavor.
For the next band, not scars, but screams were what they got as alternative rock band, Scars for Maria got some ever loyal fans cheering. They played two of their original compositions, “Para Satin to’” and “Puppet’s Diary”. Usually, the songs that they write are about experience and emotion. They also played a Mad Hatter Day Cover entitled, “Finding Atlantis”. The crowd obviously loved their performance.
College Format did two Goo Goo Dolls covers, “Slide” and “Name” then it was followed by “So Many Times” which is one of their original songs. This college rock band’s songs are inspired by movies, and for them, their songs come from the heart and are powered by emotion.
It all just came naturally like a group of 5 friends creating good music together for reggae band Naturalismo. They played rock reggae versions of Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak” and The Youth’s “Mukang Pera”, and their original composition, “Albay Ayahay”. Naturalismo is all about creating music that is very natural and they’re naturally good at it; already making waves despite that they’re new to the scene only having joined this 2014.
The next band, The Doldrums performed their original compositions, “Love Song”, which is about how love transcends incompatibility; “Idiot”, which expresses rage at how females can be discriminated against, in the music scene and otherwise; and “Don’t Comfort”, where in the (female) narrator speaks about her capacity to be hedonistic, too, sexually and otherwise, in defiance of society’s assumption that females are naturally or supposed to always be “well-behaved” and “self-sacrificing.” Their songs are so deep as what the band’s name says, itself. According to their drummer, Thonz Abrera, doldrums mean the most calm yet the deepest area in the sea. But their performance was nothing calm. It was so lively as they made audience dance and sing along with them.
But right after, was when the crowd went nuts as they moshed like crazy to performances of the real riot starting bands, Code of Chivalry, Muchass Grassas, Jack in the Box, One Hour Recover, Prey, Indigo, and last but not the least, Perdition. Although I don’t know if it’s just that the alcohol already kicked in but even so, those bands were kickin’!
The knights of post grunge/progressive metal, Code of Chivalry rocked with their power to protect the weak and defenseless through their songs and melody. An interesting trivia about this band is that their name was taken from, “Code of Chivalry”, a world known moral and honorable system w/c states that all knights should protect others who cannot protect themselves and be of service to others. A Greyhoundz cover, “Taya” was played by the band, and two original compositions, “Fight” which is about battling daily challenges igniting inner flame and winning and “Reborn” which is about personal reform the need to rise from ashes.
Reggae band, Muchass Grassas gave a performance that brought the audiences to Zion with covers of “Piso Pisong Panaginip” by Tropical Depression, “Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley, and “Collie Herb Ma”n by Katchafire. They also performed their original compositions such as “Legalize It”, “Maryjane”, and “Under the Influence,” which made the audience high. Most of their songs are based on true stories and experiences.
As usual, Jack in the Box gave a hyper performance as what they’re known for. They did two Soulfly covers, “Bleed” and “Downstroy”. They also played their original composition, “Lies,” which deals all about the corruption ensued in the Philippine government. Current events are what this NU metal/groove metal/progressive metal band’s compositions tackle.
A fusion of punk rock, grunge, and alternative took over the place as that’s what sums up One Hour Recover as their music is a combination of each other’s influences, and their music’s main ingredient is collaboration. “Cassettes and Cigarettes”, “Poison in Disguise”, “Sandali”, and “Seven to Surf” were some of their original compositions they played. Most of their songs are about life and their personal experiences. They also played a Rancid cover of “Roots Radicals”.
Groove metal band, Prey who has become a voice for the bullied, performed their original compositions, “Bullied” and “Vengeance” both all about bullies which is mostly what their songs are all about. They also played a cover of Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell”.
Not even distance could keep the next band from performing. They are electronica/post hardcore band, Indigo who travelled all the way from Daet, Camarines Norte to Legazpi just to play their original compositions such as “Endless Tears,” which is about love and hatred, but in the story of the song the love of the boy overpowers the hate he feels towards his girl; “We Are, What We Are!”, which is about teenagers and bands who want to change the world through music. No wars and negativity, just music and love; and “Haters, Cute Monsters and Aphrodite”, which is a story about those who are musically inclined, who still carry on with their passion even if there are many people against them (haters) and then meets some people who are being pretentious after all just so they could use bands for their own sake (cute monsters) and the beauty of the world, music, and the talent God has blessed us with (symbolized by aphrodite). This band really loves music and making music. And it seems that the crowd really love their music as well.
Raw and Passionate is what I can say for the last band, Perdition. This metalcore band isn’t exactly sugar, spice, and everything nice. Perdition is all about hate and rebellion but they don’t write those kinds of songs just for the fact that they’re a heavy metal band. As said by their vocalist, Tim Florece, “We wrote these songs because it is coming from a real place, a real dark place, and as cliché as it sounds, if you’re succumbed in darkness, in order to see things once again, you’ll have to find the light. I think that it is the essence of our songs, a warning, a gentle tap to the shoulder, telling us that things are not as beautiful as we see it now. We all have to be vigilant.” They played their original compositions, “Forever Your Assailant”, “Solitary Confinement”, “Prophets of the New Disease”, and “Blue are the Skies of an Opening Day”. They rocked their guts out as usual and made a blast of a finale, as they are, according to Florece, “Like a predator, salivating as it stalks its prey, we are as well hungry for our songs to be heard by many.”
Overall, to put it in one word, it was: epic. A group of extreme Bicolano bands that all came together to share their talent and some of their original music, joined by extreme clothing lines with original designs that originated in Bicol in an extreme event that everyone enjoyed.
They are two things to be proud of in the Bicol scene, musicians that, although already renowned and accomplished still remain humble and amidst adversaries, stay strong and carry on with their passion, which is what is admirable about them, and clothing lines that are products of skilled fellow Bicolanos.
About the author
Marisse is a freelance writer currently residing in Camalig, Albay. Her passion for writing was developed when she was recruited to be a writer for Aquinian Herald, the official publication of Aquinas University of Legazpi where she took up AB Communication. There she wrote news, poetry and features and eventually got promoted as features editor. That is how she has grown into this passionate writer she is and until now, still continuously grows as she pursues a career in writing. You can message Marisse at her Facebook account