by Nickie Wang
American band Gin Blossoms was the anti-thesis of the loud genre that was dominating the music scene when the band started making records in the early and mid ‘90s. Nevertheless, its guitar-driven melodic pop-rock music produced hits that, surprisingly, can make you sing along unconsciously.
The band released three albums and had several hits in the mid ‘90s, before breaking up in 1997. Five years later in 2002, the band reunited, released a DVD, resumed touring, and promised a fourth album, which most of its greatly anticipated.
When Gin Blossoms performed at the Araneta Coliseum on Nov. 18, we were part of the large crowd that yelled and scream from the top of their lungs. The quintet blazed on the stage hit after hit.
As soon as the band performed the opening number “Follow You Down,” people seated in the patron and VIP area immediately stood up and gathered in front of the stage. Being that up close to the band was a perfect view but it let us see that the musicians most teenage girls used to adore (not just for their talent) don’t look any better than their heyday.
Vocalist Robin Wilson styled his hair in way to cover his receding hairline but we must admit that it soothes him because he still looked decent enough to endear the crowd. With a black tee and black denim pants matched with black-and-white sneakers, Wilson was a charmer reaching the hands of the audience as he leisurely stroll on the stage. He complemented them for saying “thank you very much” after every song. Right from the time he stepped onto the staged the vocalist was able to build a strong rapport with the audience, even with those seated at the general admission area. Imagine, Wilson was even able to sign some autographs while singing on the elevated platform. That’s a rarity these days most especially for foreign artists visiting the country.
Though they physically look older, the vigor was still there and it’s easy to say that they still sound the same, or even much better compared to their sound in their younger years.
“Mahal ko kayo lahat,” the vocalist told the sizeable crowd at the Big Dome, “Manila is an incredible city and you people rock. We’ve been traveling to many places but this place is the friendliest.”
“Til I Hear It From You,” “As Long As It Matters,” “Until I Fall Away,” “Allison Road,” “Found Out About You,” and “Hey Jealousy” were the most applauded numbers. For two solid hours, the band was able to make the crowd on their feet singing along most of the time.
The real reason why Gin Blossoms travel to Manila and later in Cebu, was to promote its latest album entitled No Chocolate Cake. At least five tracks, including the carrier single “Miss Disarray,” were performed at the concert. And those were the moments when the crowd was just staring at the quintet dropping some applause to appreciate the unfamiliar songs. The truth is, the tracks from the new record don’t sound appealing at all, they sound as if they were patterned from a single melody. But who knows, the record might become a classic. If they don’t, we really just have to tag the quintet “that ‘90s band.” Most of the members don’t mind being called that way anyway.
The MYX incarnation
Ten years ago, MTV Asia wanted Studio 23 to broadcast the programs produced by the media giant 24/7, but ABS-CBN’s sister company couldn’t keep up with its demand since it was also giving way to other popular and top-rating shows imported from the US. Subsequently, the music channel partnered with Nation Broadcasting Corporation to launch MTV Philippines as a 24/7 music channel on UHF channel 41.
To fill in the vacated airtime slots, Studio 23 made a decision that led to the birth of a music channel tailored-fit to the taste of local viewers.
“The first impulse [for Studio 23] was to look for another partner—another foreign music channel—to fill in those [programming hours MTV left]. But after we have assessed everything, we realized that before we can have our new partner, we have to pay fees for royalties and licensing their names,” says MYX channel head, Andrea Allan Alvarez.
After some deliberations, they had come up with the idea of producing a music block for the network. Presto, MYX bannered with the slogan “Your Choice. Your Music” was born.
Unknown to many, MYX, like any other armless neophyte had its most difficult challenge on what direction it must take. Apart from the fact that MYX didn’t have the access to music videos people see on MTV going up against the international media network was “a crazy idea” since it’s already offering a variety of programs and religiously followed by a captive market.
“Many liked the original incarnation of MYX. But obviously, it didn’t capture the market MTV was dominating back then,” Alvarez admits.
MYX didn’t directly right gear up to compete with existing music channels then. Instead of providing the same kind of programs, the channel centered on alternative music and panned the spotlight on local talents.
MYX turns 10
Alongside MYX’s success as a full-pledged 24-hour music channel, major events are held to bring the music channel closer to the hearts of Pinoy music lovers. There is the annual MYX Music Awards, MYX VJ Search for the newest hot jocks on TV, Summer MYX Fest and MYX Slam Jam.
On Nov. 18, MYX celebrated its decade-long dominance on the Philippine music scene through called MYX Mo!. The phenomenal music event was held at SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds and featured almost 50 local music artists, was attended by more than 40,000 people.
“MYX Mo! is our way of thanking our viewers for supporting us and for making MYX the no. 1 music channel in the Philippines. Yung aming slogan na “Your Choice. Your Music.” Pinaninindigan talaga namin ‘yun. We really do our best to make our viewers feel empowered,” Alvarez exclaims.
In the musical bash, various artists from different genres performed. OPM artists and bands like Chicosci, Kjwan, Sponge Cola, Callalily, Imago, and Rivermaya to name a few, showcased their hits. Yeng Constantino, Ogie Alcasid, Sam Milby, Richard Poon, Nina, Carol Banawa, Noel Cabangon, Kitchie Nadal, Barbie Almalbis, Nyoy Volante and Jimmy Bondoc were among the artists that performed during the main show.