The last quarter of the year always sees a number of live gigs from local rock and alternative bands. Almost at every corner of the metropolis, concert venues witness an onstage invasion of loud and head banging music.
On Nov. 15 at the Nescafé Soundskool Finals, thousands of rock music fans flocked the ULTRA for a musical festivity that featured the biggest local bands performing alongside with the country’s most promising groups.
Now on its fourth year, Nescafé Soundskool is a band competition that serves as a training ground for new generation musicians who want to make it big in the local music arena. This year, the competition gathered the best college bands from all over the country. From one thousand band entries, the organizers meticulously selected thirteen novice groups that competed for a cash prize amounting to P250,000 and a recording contract with Sony BMG.
This year’s call “Handa ka na bang sumikat?” was answered by the finalist from South East Asian College ’s Letter Day Story. The band that lists New Found Glory, Boys Like Girls, +44, Eraserheads, Kamikazee, and Rivermaya as its musical influences, is composed of Aldrick Yu on vocals, Chris Anthony Vinzons on lead guitar, Oliver Agustin on bass, and Emil Arabit on drums.
The quartet, mentored by Spongecola, stood out with their unique musical flair, striking stage presence and their playing with precision. The band wowed the audience and the judges with a showmanship that lasted until the end of its performance (which most of the finalists lacked).
One discernible characteristic of the band was that it performed as a group unlike other finalists whose footmen took the stage like solo performers. Yu, Letter Day Story’s charismatic frontman, was able to connect with thousands of audience present at the ULTRA and yet was able build a connection with the rest of his band mates.
The band’s final performance made up 65 percent of its score. The other 35 percent was taken from preliminary rounds on Nov. 14. The people who made the tough decision in choosing the best group of the entire competition were Soupstar Entertainment’s Darwin Hernandez, Campus Radio’s John Hendrix, Nestlé Philippines, Inc.’s Yayin Bangcoro, and Sonny BMG’s Jinno Mina and Vic Valenciano.
Other finalists include St. Scholastica’s College’s Grace Note, Jose Rizal University’s Project, and the University of Santo Tomas’ Hooligans from the Greater Manila Area region; Lyceum Institute of Technology’s Maracore, Calayan Education Foundation’s Flaurah, and Wesleyan University Philippines’ 7th Skool from the Luzon region; Eastern Visayas State University’s Skalivur, University of Cebu’s Barorents, and STI Tacloban’s Sounvile from the Visayas region; and AMA Davao Campus’ C-Shifter, St. Mary’s College’s Keyk, and Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan’s Teachers Stand Together.
These aforementioned promising bands underwent a mentorship program in Boracay on November 6 to 13 with the countries topnotch bands that include Bamboo, Parokya ni Edgar, Kamikaze, Hilera, Pupil, Sandwich , Sugarfree, Itchyworms, 6 Cyclemind, Callalilly, Moonstar 88, Chicosci, Urbandub, Up Dharma Down, JR Kilat and Cueshe.
Nescafé Soundskool was not just all about discovering the next big bands; it is also about giving music lovers the rare treat of watching the biggest names in music perform live.
The four-hour nonstop event was opened by Calla Lily performing the Soundskool theme song. The band was accompanied by bouncing dancers in masquerade. The production, which was complete with impressive lighting effects, received a thunderous applause from the audience.
During the competition, mentoring bands performed their greatest hits before introducing and collaborating with the finalists. Some of the most explosive performances were delivered by Spongecola, Sandwich , Chicosci and Hilera.
After the first half of the event, Kamikaze dished out a satiric performance that made everyone laughing and jumping up on their seats. It was quickly followed by Parokya ni Edgar with Chito Miranda roaming around the venue while delivering the band’s rock novelty hit Akala.
Kamikaze and Parokya went back on stage and entertained the audience with the musical parody The Ordertaker.
Before the announcement of the winner, fans were delighted with a pleasing finale performance discharged by ace band Bamboo. It performed some of its now classic hits Noypi, Halleluiah, and Tatsulok.