Valentine and I
February 15, 2006
Valentine's Day, and I was home, but that's okay. I texted Charlotte and got to talk with her long-distance. More so, I sort of celebrated Valentine's last Saturday, when I had my first gig as haLf man haLf eLf.
At last, I have now my own little workspace in the room where I stay. I started organizing my computer files. The Internet connection is already working, although it gets disconnected once in a while. Tito Ren said that we better return the router that I bought at Computer Boulevard and then just let MTS (our Internet Service Provider) do the works, so that the technical support would not be a problem. Better! Since the computer store has a no-return policy, I'll just exchange the router with a 160GB hard disk drive—what I need for my ever-growing files.
This morning, MTS returned our call; a staff is scheduled to install the new, official router on Monday.
I began reviewing the printout of the lesson notes that I keyed on the computer last night. After lunch, I finally took Examination Two of my homestudy, online. The result? PERFECT again! I was relieved, because I was unsure of three of my answers.
At last, I have now Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop installed on my PC, courtesy of my friend Jason. I started tinkering with some photos, trying to recall all the Photoshop tricks that I learned when I was still an editor at Diwa Scholastic Press.
February 11, 2006
"I thought that was Ian!" commented one Caucasian girl.
I said, "Ian who—Ian Veneracion?"
"Who the fvck is that!" she blurted.
Around lunch, I was already excited about the gig. That would be my first time to perform here in Canada, my first time to be back on stage to make love with my favorite music in public. Believe me, at this moment, while trying to relive in my mind the night I performed in a band again, I'm kind of teary-eyed; perhaps because, as friend / fellow vocalist Charmie commented on my Friendster gallery: "Welcome back to what we love to do best!"
My best-friend, former Half Life Half Death lead-guitarist Rain e-mailed to congratulate me, saying: "It's nice to know that you're back in your elements. You belong to the stage, as a performing artist. I'm happy for you...."
Yes, music—especially New Wave music—has become a very significant part of my life. It has always been my loyal companion in virtually any emotional state I'm in—happiness, sadness, nostalgia, ponderous, brooding....
I was glad also that Tito Ren and Tita Lucy with some of their friends—Tita Mimi and Tito Moses with their son, JR—and my friend Lhoy Cruz and her husband, Eugene, as well as former Diwa officemate/friend Connie Tuazon with three of her friends and her son, BJ, with two of the latter's friends, were able to attend the event.
Jason with family picked me up at around 6:30 and off we proceeded to his house, where we had a final runthrough of our set. I was glad that everyone was ecstatic about the concert—a good omen.
We arrived at the venue, Pampanga Restaurant, on Henry Avenue, at around nine. I was amazed to see that there were lots of people, as evidensed by the lack of parking space in the vicinity. The night was cold and breezy; the snow made the streets white and bright. I was sky as a kite.
Entering the venue reminded me of those moments with Half Life Half Death during our heydays—when people couldn't help but gawk at me. Everywhere I go, with my New Wave attire and hairstyle, even long-haired fellow musicians seem to feel as if they are reverted to their normal selves.
We were the last to play, but fortunately I was able to captivate and mesmerize not only the remaining audience but also the other bands. Almost half of the entire audience had already gone by the time we went up the stage. It was already past midnight. I was oozing with adrenaline nonetheless. I really gave my best shot. I sang my heart out and played the keyboards with zest.
There were some Caucasians in the audience who went to the dancefloor during our set.
"Your hair is fvcking awesome!" shouted one of them.
By the way, I hereby express my gratitude to the following persons for giving me a very impressive introduction: Ardie Sarao, who co-hosted the event, and Jimboy, the drummer of Night Troopers as well as the president of F.a.m.o.u.s. (Filipino Association of Musicians & Other Unknown Singers)—who produced the concert; and Jonjon of Aftertouch, who manned the mixer, for assisting me in setting up the keyboards.
The fellow bands which I was able to watch perform were Night Troopers, Codigo, Resurrection, Studio 69, 2MSU, and Jason's FourSight.
Night Troopers' playlist included "Keep the Faith" (Bon Jovi), "What It Takes" (Aerosmith), "Working for the Weekend" (Loverboy), and Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" and "Bark at the Moon." They had a very energetic set. The vocalist, Rommel, rendered easily even Steven Tyler's high notes. Jim, the president of F.a.m.o.u.s., is the drummer of this band.
Codigo played some The Ventures and The Beatles. There were a number of elderly couples who graced the dancefloor to the delight of the people waiting in line for dinner.
Resurrection and Studio 69 both played contemporary Alternative Rock radio favorites the likes of Green Day, Nickelback, Linkin Park, and Maroon 5.
2MSU, a mix of Filipino and Caucasian members, played Nu Metal stuff. The drummer pounded impressively like a crazy, speeding train. The vocalist and the guitarist rocked and rapped in distorted angst.
Because the night was becoming late and the remaning audience becoming restless, the three-piece FourSight (a.k.a. Fhamathou) had to cut down their set, leaving them to play "Gabay" by Siakol and two original songs.
Finally haLf man haLf eLf wrapped up the Valentine's concert in pure ecstasy, with a soulful and blasting set comprised by "I Melt with You" (Modern English), "Just like Heaven" (The Cure), "Today" (The Smashing Pumpkins), "Buhay-Karnabal" [a song I originally composed in 1999, with my other former band, Dream Kitchen], and "The One I Love" (R.E.M.).
As I walked down the stage, several members of the audience as well as some fellow musicians congratulated me for an act well done.
Our next gig will be on May 27, 2006, at PCCM (Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba), on Keewatin Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Next week, Emong Payaso and I will resume our recording project, the 3-song EP The Woes of Emong Payaso, which I hope to finish in time for the May concert.
This EP will contain three pieces of interrelated music:
"Mahiwagang gitara ni Emong Payaso"
"Parang karnabal—ganyan ang buhay ng tao"
"Walang tigil ang palabas sa entablado"