Tuesday night last week found me at the performance area of Tiendesitas to check out a series of shows to celebrate Philippine Independence month. Playing that evening were The Oktaves and Rivermaya. I had seen Ely Buendia’s new band play during the launch of guitar icon RJ Jacinto’s album a few months ago, and from what I remember they sounded great. This was a chance to check them out again and see if my initial impressions were correct.
The Oktaves are composed of three generations of rock stars: the three members of rock group Hilera (Chris and Bobby Padilla and Ivan Garcia),The Jerks’ Nitoy Adriano and of course, Ely. The beginnings of the group can be traced to when Ely invited Hilera to participate in the collaboration with the late Francis Magalona called “In Love and War.”
The group, along with veteran rocker Adriano, jammed from time to time until they worked again together for the soundtrack to the film The Asiong Salonga Story during the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival.
“Then one day we got the call from Ely who basically said, ‘Tuloy na natin ‘to’,” Garcia said.
The name is a slightly tweaked version of the band or combo that Chris and Bobby Padilla’s father used to play in when he was younger called Octaves. They released their eponymous debut album under MCA Music earlier this year. Garcia said Ely and Chris shared song writing duties on the album, with each taking the microphone on the song that they wrote.
I was reminded of the Australian band Jet with the first two songs Oktaves played during their set. It was a mix of classic rock a la Led Zeppelin and AC/DC and a bit of American country.
“Langit Express,” in particular sounds like it could be from the American heartland if not for the Filipino lyrics. The layered guitars added to a fuller sound, unlike anything we’ve ever heard from Ely’s most famous ex-band Eraserheads.
While Ely was the consummate frontman, cool and ever poised, it was Chris Padilla on lead guitar that provided character and style to the proceedings. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Hilera show, but Chris was a loose cannon, giving his all to the fans crowded around the stage and who were joyfully singing along and recording the show for posterity.
The Oktaves is technically a side project as Hilera is still playing together, Ely has Pupil and Nitoy—well, he’s still around. But the music they create together as a unit appeals to those looking for good old-fashioned, no-fuss rock. I daresay they’re the best current OPM band today. Catch them if you can and support OPM by buying their album. You won’t regret it.
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Two piece-rock band Japan-droids is coming to Manila for the first time. The Canadian rock duo will play at the Hard Rock Makati on August 19.
Japandroids was formed in 2006 by Brian King and David Prowse. They released two EPs, before recording their first full-length album called “Post-Nothing” in 2008. Because they had yet to find a wide audience, they almost decided to call it quits.
However, in 2009, popular music website Pitchfork.com posted one of their songs, “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” online, which instantly exposed the band to new fans. “The reaction from that single post was enough to convince us to postpone our break-up a little longer and see if any momentum could be built around this newfound notoriety,” says King. “And it turned out that it could, and we haven’t looked back since.”
The band plays a frenetic mix of indie and punk rock that recall Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC. They released their second album Celebration Rock in 2012.
Japandroids Live in Manila is presented by Kindassault. For ticket information, visit <facebook.com/kindassault>Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @pauljohncana