Atot For A Tot

ATOT FOR A THOUGHT GRAND OPENING NIGHT

A Wickedly Tasteful Delight to the Sight and the other Senses

KRISSA J. RECUENCO

 

SEPTEMBER 27, 2014

An ordinary night for some but an extraordinary night of art, music. and friendship for others.

With the grand opening night of ATOT FOR A THOUGHT, Fartworks by Jopermeister Red, people experienced a wickedly tasteful delight to the senses.

Atot For Atot Poster

Atot For A Thought Poster

ATOT FOR A THOUGHT is a collection of artworks by Jopermeister Red. The artist (born Joper John Ofrasio, Legazpi City) coined the term “fartworks” comparing art as ideas/concepts that once let out may have a certain effect on people.

Joper with his fartworks

Joper with his fartworks

According to Jopermeister:

“iba’t-iba ang reaksyon na matatanggap mo, may matatawa, may maiinis, may patay malisya, etc. For every action there is a reaction, and with my fartworks, it’s something na sa unang tingin mo e simpleng drawing lang but after seeing them, may something smelling pala sa illustrations that will stir their thoughts.”

The said art exhibit depicts everything about life in general. The fartworks presented themes, which include peace, love, empathy, and enlightenment. Fartworks, according to this multimedia artist, is not a boxed idea, a cornered room, or a solidified law. It is instead an open area that asks the person gazing to stir their thoughts.

Jopermeister Red hopes that through his art, others may silently yet deadly release their own fartworks as well. He is very grateful that his creative works have an impact to the Albay art scene, one he considers a “Sleeping Lion.”

The ATOT FOR A THOUGHT Art Exhibit, displayed at The Thinking Cup (one of the best hangouts for bookworms here in Albay) opened last September 27, 2014. Those who attended the event got the first dibs on the amazing fartworks (which were put up for sale, by the way) and were also treated to chill unplugged music featuring some Bicol X bands namely One Hour Recover, Mic Berdin of College Format, and 32-20 Barrel Blues.

Joper and Ryan of One Hour Recover

Joper and Ryan of One Hour Recover

Aside from the acoustic performances, the event also featured tattoo sessions with renowned Bicolano tattoo artist, Argie Granadillos, and poetry reading from Frederick Maurice Lim and Christopher “Yatoy” Carretas.

Frederick recites poetry, Serafin Timog accompanies him

Frederick recites poetry, Serafin Timog accompanies him

Argie Granadillos doing his thing

Argie Granadillos doing his thing

Topping off the night is the bonfire after party enjoyed by fellow guests and art enthusiasts.
Everyone who came to support the exhibit got more than the visual rollercoaster they were hoping for. They all definitely experienced the tasteful delight brought about by the great works of a passionate Albayano artist, poets and musicians.

ATOT FOR A THOUGHT: Fartworks by Jopermeister Red ran through the whole month of October at The Thinking Cup. We hope this exhibit will jumpstart more art exhibits in support of Albayano artists who deserve to be recognized for their talent and passion.

About The Artist
Jopermeister Red (BORN JOPER JOHN OFRASIO)
“Joper is all about expressing himself. He is a visual artist, individualist, songwriter, punk, art director, production designer, and filmmaker. He also is a member of various bands – XIV, Sardines From Mars, and Jack in the Box. He is one of the brains behind Bicol X and also the sole creative guru of EZKill Clothing. He believes in peace, love, empathy, and enlightenment. For Joper, all it takes to make him happy is cheese, sili, and coffee. Not necessarily in that order.”

About the Author
KRISSA J. RECUENCO aka KELLY works as a radio jock for 94.7 SPIRITFM LEGAZPI. She is an event host, a music enthusiast, freelance online content writer, and an events coordinator. A self-proclaimed mutant (being a Marvel kid) her powers include eating nonstop at Hepa Lane and enjoying days of movie and series marathons. While we’re at the subject, she is an obsessed follower of the TV shows The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and the anime Slamdunk. She loves dolphins, rainbows, Keanu Reeves and crispy isaw. You can contact Krissa at her Facebook.

Editors note: If you’re interested at Joper’s art, feel free to contact Ezkill.

Fartworks on Display

Fartworks on Display

 

Joper with his Fartworks

Joper with his Fartworks

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Bicol X Strikes Back

Bicol X Strikes Back: It’s Not About the Haters

 

Marisse Francia

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.

red buttons

Red Buttons

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.

32-20 Barrel Blues

32-20 Barrel Blues

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.

Bicolano Rappers Organization

Bicolano Rappers Organization

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.

Scars for Maria

Scars for Maria

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.

College Format

Mic Of College Format

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.

Naturalismo

Naturalismo

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.

Doldrums

Doldrums

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.

Code of Chivalry

Code of Chivalry

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.

Muchass Grassas

Muchass Grassas

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.

Jack In The Box

Jack In The Box

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”.

One Hour Recover

One Hour Recover

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”.

Prey

Prey

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.

Indigo

Indigo

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.”

Perdition

Perdition

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

 

Doldrums

DIY-ing the Music Scene, Creating a Music Community

Weng Laguilles

There is something unsatisfying about the term “music scene” whenever I think about what is happening in Albay. Think about it. “Music scene” just gives a sense of detachment to music as an experience. Being a “scene,” one relates to music in this way as a spectator of some sort. “Music scene” just sounds like a bubble with a life of its own, determined by select key players, and ordinary people placed in the scheme of things as outsiders looking in.

If there is one thing I know about Albay, though, it is that people never want to just be outsiders looking in. They want to be – and are always – involved. You have people watching gigs especially because they are friends with the band playing; you see college students volunteering to organize gigs; you find musicians helping other musicians form a band or fill in for a band’s missing member; you find organizers marrying musical events with other forms of art; you find people excited at posting pictures of themselves during gigs or wearing promotional merchandise; and you even hear of parents taking their children’s band to the local recording studio. Everybody wants to be – and are always – part of the “music scene,” one way or another. Can you call still that just a “scene?”

Slamdancing at Bicol X Strikes Back

Ecstatic Crowd at Bicol X Strikes Back

I prefer the term “music community,” now that I have come to learn more about Albay. At the risk of sounding romantic, I think this captures the experience more accurately. It invites images of people owning the music scene and of breaking down any division between who is and is not part of it: what Albay has is a do-it-yourself music scene, thus, a community.

There are three points at being a community that I would like to elaborate on: first is a shared sense of identity, second is common sense camaraderie, and third is inclusive openness.

The first point is most apparent with how musicians appeal to the broader public through their songs and with how organizers conceptualize projects and events. How many local songs have we heard singing about being an Albayano or Bicolano? You’ve probably heard Buckyard Boyz claim, “I’m from, we’re from, you’re from Albay! We represent the city of smile,” or Mind of Clay challenge listeners in one of their songs, “Uragon ka baga!” Some of the more prominent groups and production outfits also have our cultural identity at the heart of their conception: “Albay Rappers Club,” “Bicol Boys and Bicol Girls,” and of course, “Bicol X.” Countless gigs have also revolved around some sense of shared identity: the compilation album “Tanog Tabaco,” is one example; the recent “Bicol Electric Fest” is another.

The second point is this common sense camaraderie, which I term so for how it does not require dramatic relationships, but a basic sense of sensitivity about what could benefit not only oneself but others. Over the years, the need for local musicians to be heard is constant, but the responses have fortunately built up on each other. The continuous effort at recording songs is one prime site for this. Once, we only had bands recording their own songs individually in their homes or home studios. I remember Pepsi Paloma Experiment and Mudflow to be among the first ones to produce their EPs. Then, with acknowledgment that other bands have songs worthy of recording but don’t have the equipment or skills to record them, Club Molotov set itself up to the challenge of coming up with a compilation album of Albayano bands – by bringing these bands to Naga City, the nearest place you could find a recording studio that time. Today, learning of how costly it can be to bring bands to another province for recording, and with a long-term vision of sustaining the potential of producing original local songs, Bicol X sets up a recording studio in Legazpi City. Believe me when I say that these are no coincidences; for the people behind these distinguishable points in time are more or less the same people, they who are conscious about what the community needs – because they themselves are part of it.

Thirdly, there is an increasing force of inclusive openness. Music here is diverse at best: you have punk, reggae, metal, hip-hop, blues, alternative, pop, and so on. The fact that there is diversity does not only indicate the array of talents here; it also indicates the space bands feel there is for different sounds to flourish. The same goes with bands’ hometowns. It is harder to generalize now where bands come from; more are just coming up from all over Albay and its nearby provinces. Organizers themselves consciously support this diversity, as they often underscore the different genres of the bands they feature for gigs as well as the different towns and even provinces they came from. And I shall not neglect to mention that more women than before are involved at different levels in the music community: you see them organizing events, you notice them on the dance floor or the moshpit, you hear them hosting gigs, you learn of them doing artwork for projects and events, and you witness them headlining music fests.

Of course, like all communities, ours is far from perfect. There are always rough patches here and there. You have misunderstandings between groups, conflicts between bands and organizers, struggles with radio stations, difficulty with venue owners, and so on. The challenge for musicians to write more and better songs remains too, as well as improving their skills. But perhaps, it is these challenges that propel the music community through time. They remind us to appreciate what we still need to work at, prompting us to look back at what we might have done right and what we might do better. And so we do them, together.

We are a music community, after all
Bicol Music

Lost In Bliss

About The Author
Weng writes songs and plays the guitar for The Doldrums. She is also among the founders and organizers of Club Molotov. She considers herself a feminist, an atheist, and an academic. She likes well-spiced and fresh seafood, which makes her feel fortunate having Legazpi City as her hometown.