by Maryam Fatima Chawdhury, BiliranIsland.com
The Provincial Councilor’s League, in cooperation with The Naval Institute of Technology and Tau Gamma Phi presented a concert featuring the nationally-renowned band, Cueshe, and several local bands including Agianan sa Kahayag, Melophobia, PopKorn, Naughty Ka, Fire Exit, and Black Wizard last December 22, 2007 at the Naval Gym.
“We have such great talent” Mrs Roselyn Espina-Paras stressed when asked why they let local bands perform alongside a national band. She added that coming from a musically-inclined family, she personally believed it was best to develop local musical talent.The 6 Local bands that presented before Cueshe competed against each other during the battle of the bands competition held last October at the Naval Gym that she also sponsored.
Prior to the performance, Agianan sa Kahayag guitarist, Karl Lucente, said that he wasn’t interested in Cueshe, and that they were only after the opportunity to front act to a big-time band. “They’re (Cueshe) OK, it’s just that we have different music. They’re geared towards the masses, while the purpose of our music is to awaken people to the truth of Rock”
The local bands played a variety of genres, from ska to experimental rock, with a limit of 2-4 songs each. By the time the last local band was on their 3rd song, several impatient members of the audience were screaming for Cueshe.
They started off by playing their hits, which the audience sang along to. Ruben, their vocalist/guitarist, was obviously a favorite among the girls, who had started weeding their way to the front of the stage to take photographs. Jay, the other vocalist, entertained the audience with his mike-stand grinding. Then they started playing a John Lennon song, Jealous Guy, included in their second album, after which Jay announced it was the lead guitarist, Jiovan’s birthday, and they started playing a variety of Old Rock classics, and even a medley of Queen songs at one point.
In an interview, Cueshe revealed that they all had different tastes in music, and alternative pop became a melting pot of sorts for them. They originally played hard metal, until they decided it wasn’t going to put bread on their table. Blame it on lack of appreciation or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their original plan was to go to Manila, sell an album, then try their luck overseas. They did not expect the single “Stay” to get popular, because first of all, they themselves weren’t satisfied with it. So they stayed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Jay says they’d performed all over the Philippines, and had gone through so many playlists and genres that it had also, in a way, molded their music. When asked what they thought of the label “boyband”, Vince (bassist) says they don’t give a damn. Besides, they literally are a boy band now. Their original vocalist, as it turns out, used to be a girl (who is currently the vocalist of Pandora). They were all very grateful for the warmth of the reception here at Naval. They considered their performance here as one of their best, partly because they had just been reunited with Jiovan, who was still recovering from Chicken Pox.
When asked what they thought of the local bands, Vince says “It’s the spirit… how you interpret a song is most important”. Apparently, spirit is considered one of the most important factors in their song writing. In this case, spirit in the form of alcohol. The formula was beer+hanging out+personal experiences=magic. They draw inspiration from personal trials they’d gone through. When asked if they’d ever had a person who was inspiration for a song show up at a gig, the boys laughed and wondered aloud if Vince’s dead father had ever shown up at a gig.
After the concert, the bands all proceeded to Biliran Garden Resort, where they had dinner and chatted about what they all had in common: music, beer, music, girls, music… etc., with tips on how to make it in the real music world from the “kuyas” of Cueshe.