My journey in 2013 as a music photographer is summarized in the 15 photographs below. Although some of the photos may not necessarily come from the best gigs, I take the best of whatever it is I’ve been to. These photos are especially memorable to me because they evoked feelings of nostalgia and in some cases, became a catalyst for change in the scene.
I saw an artist I waited decades to see, encountered one who plays on the soundtrack of almost everyone's favorite TV show, enjoyed the music of a star embroiled in a controversy or emphasized Filipino-American ties. There were pictures to capture the end of something great, a semi-reunion of sorts, daring public stunts and the fun and danger of a few gigs.
Many moments big and small will always be part of live music, whether it’s pop, rock, hip hop and electronic music. These happen to be some of mine in 2013.
1. Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Big Night Out in Singapore (January 2013). (See lead photo above) She has a signature spit that I was able to capture at the beginning of the set. Full story and more photos here .
2. Gotye featuring Kimbra at Laneway Festival Singapore (January 2013). The song "Somebody That I Used to Know" won two Grammys: best pop duo and record of the year. To be able to have these two artists on one stage and hear them sing it live is amazing, since both just happened to be touring the same festival this year.
3. KamiQuesoHoundz bar tour (February 2013). Never have I seen venues as packed as when Kamikazee, Queso and Greyhoundz went on a bar tour. B-Side and Saguijo seethed with bodies, primed to go wild, due primarily to the ongoing effect on the wildly successful Queso reunion in 2012. Full story and more photos here.
4. MUTEMATH in Singapore (March 2013). Vocalist and keyboardist Paul Meany is known for his air-bed crowdsurfing stunts. Even in a venue with seating, such as their Singapore gig, the band surprised everybody by pushing through with the stunt. Kudos to the tall guys in the crowd who helped make it successful. Full story and more photos here.
5. Kevin Roy of Razorback in Singapore (March 2013). Due to venue restrictions, a fan was stopped from standing up in front of the seats to enjoy Razorback's show. Kevin Roy quickly jumped off stage to hug the man and thank him as the rest of the crowd cheered on to support the gesture. Full story and more photos here.
6. Dizaster vs Loonie (April 2013). It was a rap battle that made history. Filipino rapper Loonie went head to head with world-renowned Dizaster, who caught the hearts of the audience with his knowledge of Filipino culture. That evening, we knew that the Philippines was on the world map. Full story and more photos here.
7. Deftones moshpit (May 2013). When Deftones performed for the second time in Manila, our own rock stars went back to their roots and moshed with the rest of the crowd. Ian Tayao, Reg Rubio, Jay Contreras, Macky Brillantes, Paolo Rosal are all in there, somewhere. Full story and more photos here.
8. Eraserheads rehearsal for a reunion gig in Singapore. (June 2013). For another overseas gig, Eraserheads rehearsed in the basement of Raymond Marasigan's house. This was the closest we could could get to a real live concert from them, locally, at least. Full story and more photos here.
9. The xx (July 2013). One has to experience The xx’s hauntingly complex atmospheric music at the time they came over: the weather wasn’t particularly hot and it seemed like a ritual, a soundtrack to a season in our lives. Full story and more photos here.
10. Robin Thicke at MTV World Stage (September 2013). Just off the controversial twerking performance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAs, Robin Thicke performed "Blurred Lines" at the MTV World Stage in Malaysia. Hearing the song live was a treat and lived up to the party vibe it had.
11. Metallica Live in Singapore (August 2013). It was 20 years since Metallica last visited Asia and as soon as the news came out that they were flying to Singapore, I knew it was something I couldn’t pass up. The band performed their classic songs, satisfying diehard fans in Asia who waited for two decades to see them again. Full story and more photos here.
12. DJ Qbert in Manila (September 2013). Legendary Filipino-American turntablist DJ Qbert went to Manila to hold a workshop for aspiring DJs. He headlined the Thre3style showcase where selected Pinoy DJs were given 15 minutes to mix at least 3 genres of music and impress the crowd with their track selection and the judges with their slicing and juggling skills.
13. Out of Body Special despedida gig (November 2013). Time Magazine called Out of Body Special one of Asia's best bands in 2008. Sadly, the group held their last gig in Il Ponticello last November, performing two sets to a packed venue. The gig was recorded live and will be released soon.
14. Kjwan at a pop-up gig at Baywalk in Roxas Boulevard (December 2013). People walking past the Banchetto were unaware they were going to experience a live concert. One by one, the band members started setting up their instruments and started performing while passersby stopped to watch.
15. WilaBaliw in Baguio (December 2013). Ian Tayao performed with WilaBaliw to rock-hungry Baguio folk. The small venue was so packed, some of the audience had to share the stage with the band. Even in such cramped quarters, Tayao still did his signature flip to the shock of some of the audience.
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