Foreign acts dominate Manila concert circuit

ALTHOUGH Chris Brown was a no show at the Philippine Arena New Year countdown event, concert aficionados will have a long list of options as international music stars are set to dominate the local concert scene in the first quarter of the year.

After the award-winning breakthrough British band, Bastille, rocked Manila on Jan. 5, another rock band will perform at the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 24. Called The 1975, this English indie rock band based in Manchester with a predominantly teenage fans.

One Direction in Manila 2015

Michael Bublé who will usher in the love month as he serenades concertgoers on Jan. 31, also at the MoA Arena, follows The 1975.

But there’s no better news, especially to teenage Filipinos, than hearing The Vamps, Boyce Avenue, Christina Perri, Ed Sheeran, One Direction and Incubus in their concert one after the other.

The Vamps in Manila 2015

The Vamps will have its concert on Feb. 1 at the MoA Arena, Boyce Avenue on Valentine’s Day at the Big Dome, and Christina Perri on March 5 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ed Sheeran, the multi-platinum selling artist that popularized the songs “Thinking Out Loud,” will bring his guitar and his chart topping singles onstage at the MoA Arena on March 12.

And of course, the most anticipated concert to hit the local scene—One Direction on the Road 2015 concert tour—will happen on March 21 and 22 at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.

To say that fans are crazy over 1D is an understatement. In May last year, when Manila was announced as one of the pit stops of 1D concert tour, the limited VIP tickets that most fans wanted to buy were sold out in less than three hours.

On the local scene

It seems that local artists are not up for any big concerts this quarter as only a few singers have announced their gigs. Probably, they already expected that concertgoers would only be preparing for concert to be staged by foreign acts.

Martin Nievera, the first OPM artist that performed in a concert this year, kicked off  2015 via his Big Mouth concert at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura last Jan. 3. The “Concert King” filled up the 1000-seater concert venue with the help of a couple special guests like KZ Tandingan and Morisette Amon.

Apart from Martin, Christian Bautista and The Company are the first OPM artists to announce their concerts happening in February. The crooner will join Matt Monro Jr. and The Fabulous Sounds of The Platters on Feb. 14 at the PICC Plenary Hall and at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila on Feb. 16.

Meanwhile, The Company will join forces with Joey Albert in a Valentine concert titled Our Love Songs (OPM Greatest Hits Live). Catch them when they perform at the Music Museum on Feb. 13.

Whatever happened to Kuh Ledesma’s appeal to limit the number of foreign bands and musicians that stage concert in the country, one thing is for sure—there’s still no rule in place and this immediately tells us that people wouldn’t want a concert dominated by local performers.

In 2011, the pop chanteuse called for the immediate regulation of concerts by major international acts. She said lawmakers must study how to protect the interests of Filipino artists who are being challenged by concerts of international singing stars.

Kuh’s appeal didn’t fall on deaf ears because last year, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat filed House Bill 4218 or the OPM Development Act of 2014, which requires foreign artists to pay equity tax before having a concert in the Philippines.

The bill said that the tax collected would be a compensation for the lost income of OPM artists due to the absence of audience and sponsors for their concerts. Again, this boils down to a simple question asked many times over: Why most local concerts don’t sell? The answer is also simple—concerts, more than the name of the featured performer, is all about experience and concertgoers will always look for better experience, which only a few Filipino artists can provide.

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