Music review: Parokya live, best Pinoy blues

By Jackie Dosmanos

Posted at Sep 30 2012 04:27 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2012 07:54 PM

Parokya ni Edgar

"Inuman Sessions Vol. 2"

You know what people say about XXX rated films: you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all. Same is true with punk and, to some degree, heavy metal. You’ve listened at least to the original pioneers and you can almost hear how the next wave down to the nth iteration would sound like. Think of Ramones punk transmuting into hardcore then today’s pop-punk.

That said, the harder, faster side of Parokya ni Edgar still buzz-saws between ‘70s punk and ‘80s hardcore. Their sweet spot for balladry remains steeped in the slow-core sentiments of “Harana,” which first saw daylight in 1997.

This grungy soft-hard-soft oscillation figures prominently in "Inuman Sessions," a collection of their best hits in concert; or their better-known songs that fit well in singing- along in drunken stupor.

The band shifts gear usually when they do covers (the rap-metal fusillade behind “Ordertaker”, for instance.) In "Inuman Vol. 2," there’s also the band’s jam with rapper Gloc-9 that veers away from the typical soft-loud-faster-louder sonic template.

The déjà vu each song brings in this live package gets replicated in the DVD that merely provides visual props to sonic mayhem. Guess you had to be there and a little bit tipsy to gain a fresh perspective on the band. Otherwise, here’s Parokya ni Edgar like you’ve known they’d sound like live in the comfort of your home.



Even band composed of vocalist Dyanne Licudine, guitarist and sound designer Jam Bumanlag and bassist Coco Saupan won the Muziklaban competition in 2008. Four years have passed before the trio released their debut album and Evanescence cast its long shadow on their first release.

Their drum-less tracks resound with progressive tendencies, kind of shoe-gaze lite, topped by the Licudine’s vocals that can scale heights in the Gothic rock tradition.

The delivery is heavy dripping in dramatic twists and turns but it feels pre-programmed and routine rather than involving. There are attempts at incorporating street-beat in such cuts as “A To F” and “Electrodyne” and they fade just as soon as the threesome merges into a power-driven singularity.

It took some time, yet Even’s revenge lacks killer punches to rise above the roaring herd. The band is currently on a club tour with Slapshock.

1st Philippine Blues Competition: “The Road To Memphis”

Sponsored by the Philippine Blues Society, the contest started with 35 Filipino blues bands vying for the right to represent the country in the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

The winner will follow the path taken by teen-age band The Bleu Rascals trio who wowed blues fans in Memphis last year.

When the smoke of battle cleared last Friday at The Alpha Tents in Makati City, Kat Magic Express bested the other finalists, Ian Lofamia Blues Band, Lady High and Katha.

The champs are composed of SinosiKat’s Kat Agarrado on vocals, bassist Louis Talan (Razorback), drummer Vic Mercado (ex-Bamboo), guitarist Sammy Asuncion (Pinikpikan )and Wowee Posadas (Hijo) on keyboards. The all-pro line-up delivered a compelling version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You” and a rampaging blues-rock rendition of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Wanna Make Love To You.”

Two original compositions done in a deft mix of blues and soul may have tipped the balance in favor of the Express over their bluesier and less seasoned challengers.

There was also Agarrado’s shimmering presence onstage, with her body-hugging glittery evening dress adding a sensuality to the band’s blues experience. She affected a soul diva at one turn and a howling blues mama, the next.

All told, Kat Magic Express is on the slick side of the blues compared to the earnest but surprisingly mature attack of young amateurs Bleu Rascals. There’s no doubt Kat Express have the chops and experience to make music that can meet any competition head-on.

The real challenge is: Can they make waves in the home of the blues?