Blog Posts by Francis Brew

  • Moonpools & Caterpillars: fresh and timeless

    A truckload of 90s kids showed up to watch the three reunion gigs of 90s faves Moonpools and Caterpillars: April 8 and April 11 in Amber, The Fort, and April 9 in The Outpost in Cebu City.

    Although essentially inactive as a musical unit since 1997, save for a pair of benefit gigs in the US last year, Moonpools and Caterpillars delivered the goods as they performed tunes mostly from their sole and still-much-loved major label release "Lucky Dumpling”—throwing in Juan de la Cruz Band’s "Beep Beep" for good measure.


    Back to the 90s. (Photo by Francis Brew)

    Fans were either teary-eyed or in a “I-can't -believe-they're-here!” state, and those fans included opening acts (April 8) Moonstar 88, We Are Imaginary (formerly known as Your Imaginary Friends), and The Pin-ups. There were four opening acts on their April 11 gig, including Chicosi and Barbie Almalbis.

    If anything, the gigs revealed a timeless band: the songs still sounded fresh, their enthusiasm uncolored by cynicism and the fans who showed up gave back many times over.


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  • No tricks, just soulful indie pop from Brisom

    Listen to Brisom's EP “Perspectives” on Spotify.


    Brian Sombero is tense.

    Normally an affable bear of a man, he barely cracks a smile moments before his band’s EP launch in Craft. He has many friends and well-wishers this night (including solo artist Rizza Cabrera and Kjwan who will open and close the night respectively) but his expression seems more apt for a poker table (which he plays competitively, in fact).

    Where is the guy who will either crack a joke or show you, despite your protests, his latest magic trick?


    Where he’s from

    Sombero is hardly a newcomer.

    He led an indie-rock band called Menaya which released a couple of albums driven by his pop-approved melodies; he is also gifted with a clear friendly tenor voice and is a tasteful guitarist.

    Menaya broke up in 2011; in 2012, he became one of the 60 campers in the 7107 Music Nation Elements Singer/Songwriter camp and formed his new band called, well, Brisom.


    Where he’s now

    Their EP “Perspectives” is a departure from

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  • Moonpools & Caterpillars vocalist turns emotional before the PH press

    They're back (sort of)

    “We’ve got hours and hours of road stories, but I can’t…” guitarist Jay Jay Encarnacion stops and holds back. He draws the eyes of his bandmates: his wife/vocalist Kimi Ward Encarnacion, bassist Tim DePala and drummer Gugut Salgado.

    But he does offer hints. “Some of them are the sickest games… like ‘Guess That Smell.’” There was also another incident of licking a friend’s worn-out Dr Scholl’s insole as penalty for losing a game of, most probably, pusoy dos.

    And that was enough to make the press in Katsu either howl in laughter or feel like gagging on the food they just had.


    In hip playlists brought in Moonpools and Caterpillars for three gigs.

    There is a lot of levity and joy in the band but they actually broke up in 1998, after being dropped by their record label in the middle of their second album.


    Video produced by Francis Brew


    Their only major label effort, 1995’s “Lucky Dumpling” remains a critical favorite and the band has been compared favorably with Belly,

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  • The 1975 plays Manila malls this weekend; reveals One Direction connection

    “You don’t really need to be signed to a major label to make things happen,” says The 1975 vocalist/guitarist Matthew Healey.

    His bandmate drummer George Daniel interjects, “Universaaal…We’re signed to Universal…”

    “Well, that’s contradictory to what I just said but…” Healey shoots back, drawing laughter from the press in the Fairmont Ballroom 1. “Never take advice from bands, artists… stay in school!”

    Experimental but pop accessible

    Rejection from major labels from the past seven years (the band has been together for 10 when the members were still in their mid-teens) probably still stings for Healy, but his actual advice is simple: just do your best to have a really good band.


    And that is exactly what Manchester-based quartet The 1975 is: experimental yet pop-accessible, 80s-sounding but very 2014, and, as evidenced in the press con, highly articulate.

    They know exactly what they are doing: influenced by diverse artists from Michael Jackson to Talking Heads to My Bloody Valentine to

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  • Yael owned the night, but people got to listen to other strains of rock

    Rock-oriented mall shows, in general, tend to be loud yet cold affairs—audiences hanging over railings, trying to nurse feet and arms, or just wondering what infernal racket is ongoing.

    Yet, in the Ayala Terraces Fairview mall, you could feel the attentiveness and anticipation from hundreds of smiling mailers, hanging on every note and syllable from the afternoon’s featured bands.

    Francis Brew: Who wants this guitar? (Contributed photo)It probably also helped that Yael Yuzon, frontman of main act Sponge Cola is playing one of his last gigs… as a single man. Hearts (female and female-oriented) are broken, but they wish him well.


    Gave away a signed guitar

    The gig was put together by musical instrument store Lyric to promote 50 years in the business; their branch in Ayala Terraces Fairview is their 31st, making them the largest chain in the country.

    Sponge Cola is one of their brand ambassadors and the band autographed an ESP/LTD Viper electric guitar which was given away before the band’s performance. (Jessica Mae Lazaro won the coveted

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