Good Things Happen Before Midnight
by Maria Romero, February 18, 2019 8:22pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
January 23, Wednesday—middle of a busy week. I have two articles due and another three articles due the next day. Then I got an invite from Echoes PH, a Manila-based independent platform and community for musicians, to attend this year’s first installment of “Before Midnight”, a monthly nightcap in Warehouse Eight, La Fuerza, Makati. The event puts together 25 people in an intimate setting of a co-working space, a perfect place to house creative people. I expected it to be a bummer for an ambivert like me. Coming to a gig in the middle of the week would mean I would sacrifice hours of sleep. But I’m glad I didn’t let my scared chum get the best of me. For a reserved person, “Before Midnight” changed my definition of intimate gigs.
At around 6:45 pm, people were already filling up Warehouse Eight, an artsy hub home to Kwago’s Book Bar—a small library selling foreign and local books, and locally-made zines. A sign “Come as you are” welcomed everyone. Upon entering the co-working space, a pile of zines and Philippine Literature books including one of my favorites, a signed copy of Lualhati Bautista’s Sixty In The City, caught my attention. One turn in the corner and a huge mural saying, “Creativity requires influence” greeted me; reminding me to free myself that night to ignite my creativity as I meet creative people from different walks of life. The second floor had a conversant vibe with carpets and bean bags laid on the floor as if convincing me to feel at home.
I only have my beer gut, dancing sneakers, and good vibes with me that night. At first, I was hesitant to mingle with the other gig-goers. Thanks to my first shot of the “Before Midnight” roving tequila, my extrovert self was pushed to come out. Two more shots and I am all out—singing and dancing with new friends. But behind each person’s unique stories to tell, all of us shared two things that night: the unwavering love for creativity, expression, and music, and the need to break free from a tiring week.
The whole music set up reminded me of live music sessions bringing music lovers together in one intimate gathering like Sofar Manila and Stages Sessions. Only this time, artists were hidden behind teasers and revealed only on the day of the event—adding excitement and setting it apart from every other gig today. At around 8 pm, Kayla Dionisio and Czyka Tumaliuan officially opened the event and introduced the night’s performers: Peaceful Gemini, a hip-hop and R&B artist, and Sasaya, a seven-piece pop-rock band to start the night.
For a writer like myself who hardly functions without music, their performances brought me back to my feet. The strumming and drumming created an atmosphere giving me that familiar feeling of serenity. Other than booze and beats, another highlight of the night was the baos (mini buns stuffed with Peking duck meat and plum sauce) and duck meat from Cheech and Chong HK Roasts, a newly opened eatery offering Hong Kong-styled food.
After the night’s performances, the stage opened for a jam session and everybody went freestyle. Some volunteered to sing and play the guitar, but I chose to eat and down some tequila leftovers at the pantry area with my new friends. Everybody had the best time. On the stroke of twelve, the spell was broken, and everything will be as it was before, just like in Cinderella. So, at exactly 11:59 pm, everyone was ready to go home with happy hearts. This gig would definitely make our fairy godmothers proud.
My only way out of a hellish week was a night of good food and music with good company, and “Before Midnight” served me more than just that. This gig unleashed the extrovert in me while providing a platform to discover creative communities and people around me. For me, attending intimate gigs meant allowing myself to openly share with people with the same passion for arts and music while enjoying the homey vibe of the co-working space I would surely come back to.
Now I understand why Ted Mosby of How I Met Your Mother was always blabbering about how nothing good ever happens after 2 am. He was right. Since attending this stripped-down concert, I started to believe best things happen when the clock’s a little shy from midnight; when 25 people in a small room downed bottles of tequila as they danced along live music, and stereotypes and social status no longer exist. I never knew a four-hour gig with visionary people could inspire me to finish everything in my to-do list that week. When my creative fuel is slowly burning out, I will look back on that night to flare up the spark.
“Before Midnight” raised the bar higher in the line of gig production. It happens only on Wednesdays. Every night is unique in its own ways so if you want to catch a break, sign up here. Next gig happens on February 20. 1,750php gets you in with a special dinner, surprise artists, unlimited beer, shots of tequila, two fiction-inspired cocktails, and a night for your diary. Whether alone, with significant other, or with a bunch of friends, everyone is welcome at “Before Midnight” because there are no restrictions for a good time.