Thursday, December 30, 2010

Come ‘Hele ‘or high water

Come ‘Hele ‘or high water

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Razorback as sharp as ever
By Paul John Cana Contributor Photos by D’ye Sison

Two weeks after it was originally scheduled, the special one-off unplugged set of Razorback finally happened Saturday night. With a backdrop of gracefully gliding stingrays and various other marine life, the five-piece of Kevin Roy, Brian Velasco, Tirso Ripoll, Louie Talan and Manuel Legarda (imported from brother band Wolfgang) ripped the Laot auditorium of the Manila Ocean Park apart with a blasting set of old favorites and brand new songs never before played in front of an audience. Ondoy and Pepeng may have postponed the show, but there was no way the typhoons could have stopped this Hele ng Dagat gig from pushing through.

“We’re not sure ourselves how this happened,” Talan said during a casual chat at White Moon Bar upstairs of the venue prior to the show. “Our manager Patrick got in touch with folks from Ocean Park and [radio station partner] Jam 88.3 and decided to do something here.” The marine park was an odd choice for a venue for one of the country’s hardest rocking bands, but fans came in droves nonetheless, filling the tiny venue to capacity. But it did make for quite a scene: a hard rock band playing an intimate set in the midst of soft lights and aquatic creatures swimming along, unmindful of all the ruckus.

And the band did create quite a ruckus. The show was advertised as an unplugged set, but two songs in—classics “Sumabog Na Naman ang Bulkan” and “Voodoo Who Do?”—and Ripoll and Legarda traded in their acoustic guitars for electric shredders. The only sign the set was a departure from the loud and wild show the band is known for was that the guys were all sitting comfortably down on plush velvet seats onstage. Otherwise, the sonic assault was trademark Razorback. You had to wonder if all those fishes were bothered at all with Talan’s pounding bass or Velasco’s powerful, insistent drumming, but it was all good. Even Roy didn’t let up with his vocal prowess—the guy proved he’s still got the most incendiary set of pipes anywhere around. In between the vocalist’s trademark witty banter with the audience and gulps of San Mig Light and Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks, the guys satisfied the audience’s thirst for the band’s signature rock stylings. Other songs echoing around the fish tanks that night were “My Banyo Song,” “Diwata,” “Rabid Tongue,” “Nakaturo Sa Yo” and “Tikman Ang Ulan.” They also performed a couple of covers, including Lennon’s “Jealous Guy,” and a few originals off the upcoming album titled Three Minutes of Glory that the band says would hopefully be released next month.

“We’ve always been around, we’ve never really gone away,” Roy said. “We’re not one of those bands that have regular weekly gigs.” Unlike many other groups currently active in the gig circuit, the boys of Razorback have pretty stuck to their guns throughout their 19-year career and have remained respected pillars of the Pinoy rock scene. And to celebrate their almost two decades in the business, the band will play a special anniversary show at 19 East this Saturday, October 17. And this time, the band promises a full electric set, with all of them standing up. And something tells me everyone else will be standing up with them there, too.

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