A take home for anyone who attended the Karpos Live Mix 1.1 is, whether empty or full, a heart that’s changed. Each of the performances had a heart string to pluck, leaving everyone entirely vulnerable to music’s undying charm that either heals or destroys. Everything seemed orchestrated to produce something beautiful that night― The evening greeted us with stars and post-rain coolness in the breeze wrapping us, you could hear rising mumbles of anticipation from outside; an evidence of the high spirits from the crowd inside. We were all welcomed by the wonderful stage set up where three large LED screens were laid out, intricate lights were screwed tight onto the high beams, and complex looking speakers were positioned carefully to give us the fullest experience that we could ever have of music, which by the way definitely gave justice to the numbers thanks to our brilliant sound engineers and the rest of the production team.
The show was opened with fresh music from a new budding artist named Elise Huang, who is apparently the sister of our very own Nathan of Nathan & Mercury. This sheer musical talent clearly runs in the family. Accompanied by her band, they played a few songs that left us all in awe of her strong runs and tight transitions that would make you do that face. Having their own sound, I can’t wait to see them introduce their flavour to the ever so hungry indie music scene of Manila. They’re definitely so full of potential and promise, leaving us all wanting to hear from them more this year. I personally hope to see them play more often in our local gig places and see them gain the traction that all these great local bands truly deserve.
The next was a savoury 90min set by Tom’s Story, the only one of its kind in the local music scene; an instrumental band who plays the songs in a way that leaves the crowd singing along to melodies. I cannot explain how perfect that set was! With The Manila String Machine, a string quartet, weaponizing the songs to pierce through your emotional guards, and adding the hypnotic background video perfectly complemented their songs. They made the whole experience of listening to music so tangible.
To end their set, new music and experimental songs were played comprising of electronically manipulated sounds that introduced us to a new wave of their music that we are all excited to hear more of! Also, we give credit to Clara Benin who stepped in to accompany with the guitar in one of the songs. All in all, they most definitely gave us quite a ride through their melodic storytelling.
And of course, the darling of the night, Reese Lansangan, took center stage being the last to perform. She started with a song that takes us back to her roots, playing her earlier songs with nothing but her ukulele. She then switched to her guitar and was accompanied by The Manila String Machine and played Home in a version that would haunt me forever as a beautiful dream. Towards the end, she was accompanied by renown artists in the independent music scene: Gabba Santiago from Tom’s Story as her drummer, Josh Villena of Autotelic (who came straight from a gig!) as her electric guitarist, and Josh’s brother Miko Villena who played the double bass and bass guitar. New songs were introduced live as old ones were also relived and transformed. I think most would agree with me on this: the performances were so intimate and candid that it made everyone emotional and just as attached as she was to her songs.
The whole night was perfect and will remain a memory that I would always treasure as a lover of music and its live form.
Nothing else could make me just as proud to be a Filipino as to see how our local music scene has been soaring and producing competitive quality music for years now, truly deserving the attention that it is being given now and more.
With that being said, Mabuhay ang malayang pag likha ng sining! Mabuhay ang Pilipino! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!