The Magic at Soma Sessions

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I’m writing this at around 1 o’clock, early in the morning, listening to songs, trying desperately to recall everything; but nothing can replace the magic of the night I witnessed and heard.

I am never new to the place; albeit the fact that I have been there as many times as I have fingers in one hand, and have witnessed a lot of moments unfold there, but nothing really compares to this.

I am talking about Indie Manila and HOMONYM’s Soma Sessions at the Green Sun. Soma Sessions cause it was situated inside the hotel’s (Green Sun) restaurant, and it was a session that promises an exclusive set for artists to do stuff that they normally don’t. Artists that are not used to stripped-down long sets. Really, if you’d look at the line-up, you’d mostly see some of them rocked up and ready to go with their instruments set to make your head bang, but not this time.

Last time, they had Reese Lansangan and Loop (and I sincerely regret that I wasn’t there) I made no quarter going to the session they had after that, which actually had Typecast in it.

I can go on and on about how I have been a fan of Typecast since “Infatuation is always there” and how I came from Laguna and how they came from the same place too, but I wasn’t able to meet them up to now. One of them, in fact, was a schoolmate of mine when we were in Highschool. But I’ll stop here, ’cause the night offered more than me fan-boying over a band I always wanted to watch and hear live.

So there I was; I have known that they’ll be there for this session only a few days before, so I made no quarter in making an effort in going to that event. I even had a friend set-up to go, and with our plans made I was looking forward to a night I did not usually have.

My friend actually did not come. But let me tell you what she (and you) missed on that night.

It was a very intimate set-up. All the lights were, of course, set up in front of the stage to highlight whoever the artist playing, but the rest of the place had a mid-dark feel for added pleasure. The place kind of dictated that to be there, you must dress the part. Not too much overkill, but to at least look decent. I actually came to the place wearing my favorite band shirt on, but I changed quickly to a collared long sleeve shirt so I won’t look like a sore thumb. (that and I look like a shmuck in a t-shirt).

With a beer in hand (for a whopping 90php per bottle) I braced myself for the music. And I was really looking forward to it all – all the artists that would play that night were personal favorites of mine, especially the artist featured that night. But let’s go thru everyone.

I have always been a fan of Argee Guerrero since “Tonight We Sleep” but it is the first time that saw him play as “I belong to the zoo“. I haven’t seen him in a singer/songwriter setup (although there was once an Indie Manila subdued session where he played such, again one of those gigs I regret that I didn’t go to), but I was not less impressed that the songs he launched as I belong to the zoo are this calming, and still had that identity unique to who he was, and faithful of TWS. That led me to finally add him to my Spotify, and I am actually listening to it as I am typing this. His set is no less than a perfect appetizer for that evening.

The next artist Lined-up for the night was stuck in traffic, hence Lions and Acrobats took over the stage for them. NOW. I got acquainted with the OPM Indie Scene since September of 2015, and one of the first bands I listened to was them. So I know that they can play an acoustic set, since I researched them on amplify and got a copy of “Cloud” from that site, and sang “Orange” over and over with my shower head as my audience. I saw them in an acoustic set once tho, but they did not mean for that, and then it was impromptu because the rest of the band members ain’t there. This night we listened to songs from their new album, and some of their old ones. YES. YES, they sang 1/6 and Norma Jean Mortensen on an acoustic setup. Backed-up with awesome guitars, Icoy’s voice dominated. That made my music lover heart really really happy.

Run Dorothy always had that place in my heart since the first time I heard them play. While the band voiced out that this is a first time for them to play on such a set up, and that it’s quite a challenge for them, they did magnificently. With Dee’s expressiveness (which makes her a dear for music photographers shooting them) projecting emotion as her voice hit every note of their song, they more than made up for their tardy. Playing their songs from their recently released album, with a sound that’s unique from their recordings, I actually want to hear more of it. Probably next time tho, it won’t be that hard for them.

So the fourth set of artists playing that night is no other than Typecast. How this even happened, I won’t ever know; I’m saying this because it’s rare that I get to see them lined up not just along with the previous acts that performed but in an Indie Manila Gig. Like what I said, whatever string was pulled, I don’t know. I’m just glad that it was pulled.

The 300php with free beer meant a lot of awesomeness and a night where you would probably leave drunk, it won’t be just the place and the liquor. The experience is what counts. and having to see a band almost re-enact their campfire session songs without the fire and the wilderness, and in a fancy place to boot, is no short of wow.

Why wow? Maybe it’s the fact that I get to finally see a band with the longing as intense as being hungry because you didn’t eat at all for the day. That I almost updated my social media every hour that led to that moment. And I was close to tormenting my friend that she wasn’t there, just as much as I was making a big deal of all of this in social media. For me, it really is a big deal.

The night stuck to me as much as dried gum on cloth; for when they sang the songs that I once sang along with my friends and by myself when I am lonely, that one of the artists I look up to (Icoy) was singing along with the crowd when Typecast was playing their classics, that their rendition of Rivermaya’s Himala was just so good and melodic, and when they decided to change their last song from their original “Last Time” into a cover of Dashboard Confessional’s “Stolen”, my heart was swept away. It didn’t even sound like a cover, it sounded really close to dashboard confessional that I think anybody might guess that it’s not Steve Badiola singing, but Chris Carrabba. It was just perfect. And I forgot everything else.

It wasn’t just my heart that got swept; after the music ended, a woman approached the band to mention that her boyfriend (which suffers from brain cancer if my memory serves me right) was celebrating his birthday on that day and that he was a fan of their music. So the lady surprised boyfie by bringing him here. And oh was he so glad to be at the moment. Pictures were taken, hands were shaken, and everybody left happy. Such is the magic of these moments, that one will really not forget this night.

Such is the magic of these moments; one present there will really not forget that night. For what it’s worth, and for all the memories created that night, nothing more can top the night I met this band. That music does make their heart smile. That a place in Magallanes had that spot for this types, and that a person, whose heart and mind is bent towards music and people, made this happen.