Confessions of a Regular Gig-goer
by Maria Romero, March 18, 2019 3:00pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
It all started with a spontaneous trip to Route 196 for an anniversary gig. It was headlined by Reese Lansangan, Run Dorothy, and Tom's Story who, until today, are on top of my favorite playlist. The gig's official poster said performances will start at 9 pm so I was there at 8, which was a mistake because the show started at 10:30. It was my first time at a bar and I have watched enough movies to know that it's small, dimly lit, and loud. I felt anxious just by thinking about how I’m supposed to survive in that place with lots of skin-to-skin situations with complete strangers. I was excited but scared and was repeatedly chanting this in my head: If I make it out alive tonight, I can make it out elsewhere.
To tell you honestly, I thought of backing out once I saw the people jam-packed in a place oozing with the smell of beer and cigarette. But just like everyone else, I was hungry for live music that night. So, I powered through my fright.
When I entered Route 196, I tried to “play it with heart and drink with care”, just like what the infamous phrases at their wall said.
My love for music began in Grade School at the time when Emo was the genre of kids in the scene, FM Static's "Moment of Truth" played everywhere, lending a songbook was our love language, and coming to a live concert was the ultimate dream. Those days where golden. Since then, music has become a part of me—it's like I'm the protagonist of my own movie and the music I'm listening to are the movie's official soundtracks.
Now, I’m thankful I have the time and resources to see my favorite bands. Attending gigs—whether an intimate, stripped-down, or a big one—keeps me sane. As cliche as it may sound, live concert experiences are life-changing for me. It's one thing to stay at home, listening to a playlist or watching a pre-recorded or live-streamed concert online, but being one with the crowd in a small bar or a huge venue is my best way to detach from my stressful reality.
Going to gigs isn't all about letting my hair down and dancing along with the music. Every live show taught me lessons. Bad attitudes of some of my fellow gig-goers taught me pain, the long queues outside the venue taught me patience, and each artist’s moving performances taught me passion. It empowered me to be true to myself by opening to new people with the same passion as mine.
Gigs also taught me to sometimes chase the opposite of what I want which allowed new ideas to come so I can view the world from a different perspective. Now, I learned to enjoy the thrilling moments getting out of my comfort zone offers. Through that, I gained confidence and I know that with my simple gesture of streaming local songs and attending gigs—I'm grateful to contribute to our local music scene.
Curating a music show is not a walk in the park, not to mention the unexpected predicaments that may arise on the night of the event. But why do gigs always start late? Is it because music productions want to make sure bands will perform their best for the audience? Why are least popular bands ahead of the lineup? Is it because popular bands are making way for new artists?
In my three years of actively attending local gigs, I have seen different music productions approach live shows with different styles. But all those gigs left me with questions which have only been answered until I came upon a unique gig last February 23—the Linya-Linya Land.
Linya-Linya Land is indie front runner Gabi Na Naman Production’s and local t-shirt brand Linya-Linya’s latest collaboration and biggest music year opener fronted by 16 of Philippine’s finest musicians in one stage at the Century City Mall in Makati.
The show’s unique set time is something that set them apart from other local gigs because big bands are scattered throughout the night. Bands like Sandwich and Pedicab, who usually play around midnight, were already rocking the stage at 5 pm. That means attendees were already filling up the venue early not just to savor live music but also to enjoy its mini bazaars of local products in the area. The show’s venue was also something I appreciated as it was located in an event area inside the mall, which was safe and has valet parking in case you came with a car; it was also easier to pin its address for ride-hailing apps.
Unlike usual gigs which starts late and has popular bands as last performers, at Linya-Linya Land, people were all on their feet from start to finish. All these are something I have been dreaming to witness since my first night at a gig.
The landscape of the music scene has changed since the time when spots like Club Dredd and Mayrics were the popular music hangout places and gig flows were not as organized as today. With the success of Linya-Linya Land, I hope more music productions will follow-suit to either attract people who have stopped attending gigs to go back or to engage curious fans to immerse themselves in the scene. For as long as music productions, artists, and fans will work together to have the best live shows the Philippine music has to offer, then my live gig attendance streak will never stop.
Here’s hoping for more on-time gigs and well-thought-of set times!