Rock Music’s femmes fatales

by Nickie Wang

When I received an invite to watch General Luna’s soft launch at the Hard Rock Café a few weeks ago, it didn’t interest me much. I thought it was just another indie band which name is derived from the founder of the first military academy in the country, or probably its members all reside in San Mateo, Rizal where a six kilometer road is named after the first Philippine revolution hero.

General Luna, the band, is actually an all-female group composed of five hot chicks. With their killer looks, the first impression is the ladies are just Pussycat Dolls wannabes, but onstage you will agree that there is something appealing about them, apart from their sex appeal.

Last Friday, I had the chance to see General Luna perform at the Teatrino Bar in Greenhills. Before the group brought down the hose and made its fans, mostly men, hooting, I was able to ask the band members some questions backstage. Of course the first question was what led them to call themselves General Luna.

“Well it’s a very long story but to make it short, our band name was inspired by the lunar eclipse we saw when we were on a road trip,” said vocalist Nicole Asensio, who is determined to make a career in rock music despite having been trained in classical music and opera.

Asensio furthered that it (the name of the band) is also a combination of two balanced concepts: General being masculine and Luna, feminine.

Unlike other groups that get disbanded after a year or so, the group has been together for some time now, two of them have known each other for 15 years.

“That what makes our group different from the other bands. It’s easy for us to wok because we already know how to deal with each other since we are all girls. And it is actually more of an advantage than a disadvantage,” cleared Asensio.

The band vocalist quipped that none of the members act like girls anyway, so it’s easy for them to work with anyone else in a world dominated by men.

Other members of General Luna are Alex Montemayor on bass, Audry Dionisio on rhythm guitar, Bea Lao on drums, Caren Mangaran on lead guitar. According to them, the band was born out of luck and perfect timing. Just as they were starting out, Warner Music was scouting for a group that can add rock ‘n roll a new flavor.

Serious work was exhausted to put together General Luna’s self-titled debut album with the help of some topnotch artists and songwriters. Among them are Typecast front man Steve Badiola for the single “Red Heaven,” Mayonnaise vocalist and guitarist Monty Macalino for the song “Nandito,” and Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree who wrote the lyric for “Maria.”

“We have collaborated with a lot of musicians for the album, we needed their help. As a new band, we are still finding our own sound,” Asensio admitted.

Aimed at sharing their music mainly to today’s generation, General Luna is very fortunate to be in the time of glory of handy-dandy Internet. With the use of the famous Youtube channel via GeneralLunaTV, anyone can easily access videos of General Luna’s latest gigs and TV appearances. The channel has already gotten more than 60,000 hits since it was put up last March. With a rather notably fast pace, people are discovering the talent and the undeniable beauty of the femme fatale band which is evident with their fan page on Facebook, already 7,000 strong after only a few months of inception.

Rocking October

Can you imagine a party without music and drinks? Of course these two have been the permanent fixtures in every occasion and are both considered life of the party.

This month, market leader San Miguel Brewery once again brings the much-anticipated music and beer festival, Oktoberfest, with loads of surprises. Meaning, it is on a mission to outdo the beer festivals held in the previous years.

Oktoberfest 2010 kicked off in Metro Manila at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on Sept. 10. Event sponsor Microtel Mall of Asia served as the actual projector venue of a series of 11 audio-visual presentations that harness the same technology used in big events in New York, London, Paris, Sydney, and Tokyo.

Parokya ni Edgar, The Dawn, Freestyle, Slapshock, Mayonnaise and Spongecola headlined the celebration together with Bloom Brothers, Gloc 9, Maneuvers, Philippine All Star dancers, Mocha Girls, and Kitty Girls.

SMB president Roberto N. Huang spearheaded the ceremonial toast, together with the officials from the Department of Tourism and Pasay City Mayor’s Office. SMB endorsers Dingdong Dantes, Marian Rivera, Isabelle Daza, Georgina Wilson, Derek Ramsay, Djanggo Bustamante, Efren “Bata” Reyes, and San Miguel Beermen PBA cagers were also there to join the celebration.

The San Miguel Oktoberfest also kicked off at Paseo de Sta. Rosa in Greenfield City, Laguna on Sept. 11. It will also be staged in SM City Davao on Sept 17; Robinson Starmills Pampanga on Sept. 18; and at the Parkmall Cebu on Sept. 24. Sustaining parties will be held in 15 key cities nationwide.

All of San Miguel’s eight multiple award winning beer brands, plus the limited San Miguel Oktoberfest or Oktobrew, the first-ever all-malt, low alcohol beer, will likewise be offered in all Oktoberfest parties.

Apart from the trademark big parties; SMB has prepared various surprises to extend the Oktoberfest experience. Oktoberfest babes will do some rounds visiting more than 10,000 houses for the On-the-House Raids every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of September and October. If the raiding team spots a case of San Miguel beer in your home, you will get the limited edition Oktoberfest goodies.

This year’s San Miguel Oktoberfest also introduces the 9-Ball Billiards Open. Approximately P1 million worth of cash prize will be given away to winning players who will participate in general Santos City, Dagupan, Bacolod and Manila. Interested players simply have to buy three packs of the San Miguel Oktoberfest Limited Edition Pack and present a proof of purchase at qualifying rounds and venues.

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