#TKME : Rock n Roll In The Workplace

Work.

It’s a little something we humans do in order to earn a living. Some of us may not be doing it because they’re stinkin’ rich, have a trust fund, a sugar parent (LOL) and what not. But for the good lot of us, we’re probably engaged in it.

Now a lot of people keep work as just it, work. The same people may also consider the people in the workplace, their workmates, to be no more than passing acquaintances who happen to be stuck in the same kind of work they do. Activities and interactions are very limited, if any at all.

That’s not how I operate though – while I keep work as just that, I try to inject fun in whatever it is I do. If I don’t do that, I become bored and I become less efficient when I am bored. The people in my workplace, not all of them of course, are more than just passing faces to me and I consider many to be friends of mine. Over time, a lot have become not just friends in the workplace, but also friends outside of work and into the realm of real life.

I’ve been working with my current employer for some years now, going seven this August and going two years in sales this October. Moving to this department allowed me to meet a lot of people, make friends and even have a band.

 

That’s right, a band.

 

For some reason, I always have a hard time connecting to most workplace acquaintances with regards to music. Mostly, people equate my pink ear gear (is there such a term even?) with modern and evil (LOL) pop music. As soon as they find out that I like music that does not spout “yeah” or “yellow” or “baby” every twelve words, they shy away from me and I get classified as a weirdo. When I do find the kind of people who’re into my style of music, they’re either too old or are not musicians.

 

It must just be me though…

 

The last time I formed a band with workmates was back in 2009, when I got my good friends from the office, with whom I shared a common affinity for rock / metal music, to form a band to play during our then employer’s Christmas Party.

This time around, it was a going to be a little different. For a good long while, I’d known of this girl Karen, who worked as a supervisor in my office. I’d heard from people that she had been in bands before and when we got talking, I found out that she had a wide range of music that she listens to – rnb, pop, rock and damn even Nightwish. She had always struck me as one of the more “cool” people in the office, with her relaxed demeanor and very positive outlook on things.

When the ad came up in our office that the Thanksgiving Party was going to need bands to perform, Karen and I immediately got to talking about what we can do about it. She suggested that we find people to play with us, and honestly, I had next to no idea who to approach let alone what to play. At the time, she had already known that I was a guitar player but I told her that I’m cool with any instrument that I can use.

The first order of business as with any band, is to find us a drummer. What I really had in mind was someone who either shoots blast beats like dragon’s breath, or someone who’s at home with changing time signatures. We did find a guy (Rob) though but he was none of the above mentioned. He is mostly a punk and ska guy, and I thought we probably won’t be doing power metal so we got him on board.

A keyboardist was denied to us because the only guy who played decent keys in the office was already taken by a different band.

We found a second guitarist (Mel) who was much closer in vein to what I was looking for. The guy though is much more metal than I can ever be. We thought it would be cool to have him on board so we have a solid rhythm guy. The other guy prior to him was unfortunately fired from the office – that guy had much more in common with me since he also tinkers with his gear, is a big EVH fan and has far better sightreading abilities.

We found a bassist (Jhun) in the form of a previous team mate of mine who’s mostly into regular rock n roll, and radio friendly stuff.

To round things off, we got a manager (Mark) of ours to do odds and ends for the band, like paying for rehearsal fees and feeding us with street food. In the end, he played timbales and tambourines, rounding us out and giving us an almost Latin-ish, fusion feel.

 

The band’s name (The Karen Macuha Experience, or TKME as we referred to it) was one that was decided on partly by us and partly by our department managers. We threw down all sorts of names like “The Salesmen”, “The Commissioners” (since we work off commission), “After Call Work” (which incidentally is the name of our FB Messenger chat group) and a whole bunch of other things. For some odd reason, I took Karen’s name and spliced “Experience” on it. I was thinking it to be reminiscent of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

At first glance by the managers, there was some resistance to the name, the oft cited reason is that it sounded like a bad sexual innuendo. I spoke to our girl about it, and she says she didn’t think it was, but we still had the managers decide on it if we’ll get a green. We did get permission to use the name because one of the management thought the name sounded classy, and that we cannot avoid it if people think it was an innuendo. He said that if we’re cool with it, it’s all good.

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This was the poster for the band. I look like I’m high on Skittles.

We ended up with a band with deeply contrasting musical tastes. Most of the members aren’t exactly the types who’re into technical music, but for the thing we wanted to do, which was to cover a Sampaguita’s classic song, “Nosi Ba Lasi” and upon final decision, No Doubt’s “Underneath It All”, what we had assembled was probably capable enough to pull off the job.

 

We decided that for the No Doubt number, we would benefit from having a keyboard player to make our sound thicker. But since we no longer had time to be looking around for one, I decided to play the keys and guitar at the same time. I jumped at the chance to do so because I’d always suggested to one of my previous bands that I can try to do that, but I always got shot down. It actually was pretty challenging but I think I made that work out just fine. The keyboard parts were fairly simple so I did the melody, and to keep my fretting hand going, I simply hammered the chords. That also kept me in time with what I was doing.

Since it was decided that the whole band thing was going to be a competition for a whopping Php 5,000, we all agreed that “Nosi Ba Lasi” would be our main “battle” song. However, the original is too upfront so we set about orchestrating some changes to it.

One of the things we wanted done was to make the song feel like it was a live performance of something we wrote ourselves. We tried all sorts of intros to it, but none was working in the manner we wanted it to. I was on a very heavy Van Halen binge at the time since my Kramer 5150 replica was very new to me and fresh back from work done by Papi’s Guitar Shop.

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I cannot stress enough how good this guitar feels after the work done on it. Photo courtesy of Papi’s Guitar.

While playing around with a bunch of VH riffs and licks, Mel suggested that one of the licks I played seemed to match the song – the problem was he didn’t know the title, and I sure as heck couldn’t remember because I played a whole bunch of them. By chance though, I played the arpeggiated chord intro to “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”, and the guy was like “Yeah! That!”. Also around that time we decided to play on song dynamics, which was a fairly simple way in the sense that it was to start slow to build on the intro then segued into the song itself.

Past the ATBL intro chords, we were supposed to continue but using the song’s actual intro chords at a slower tempo, which was a pretty straightforward deal. Over that section, I wrote in a pedal note driven riff that followed the chord progression which went with the same pattern as Slash n Burn’s “Itaas Mo!”.

The song then proceeds as normal although on the most part, I only played root notes or octaves while letting Mel go mad with a galloping rhythm part.

The solo is pretty much the same as the original, except some portions I changed out with my own scale runs. The tapping part is there and I extended it over the vocals a bit with some tremolo picking, again ala EVH.

The next section of the song was something we all came up with – the idea was to bring the song dynamics down some, hence the clean guitar tones. Mel played out the open chords and I did volume swells over the thing. I like to think that I ripped out that part (check it on the vid below, starts at 03:18) from the Live Without A Net version of 5150.

 

After the volume swollen (LOL) part, it was time for some heaviness. We were playing the chorus chords iirc, and all we did was pretty much bash away while I fired off an improvised solo that I made up on the spot, err at least while the video was rolling. The little bass part comes in, which we all decided to totally isolate so it would be totally bad ass. The song proceeded normally past that until the end.

 

Below is the whole song put together as we wanted it to be on the actual day of the party.

 

For a time after the party, I had plans to actually go into a studio and record this version. I’m still thinking about doing so – I just need to work out who could spare me the time to help out with that.

 

Too bad we don’t have an actual video of us during the party, but from the feedback we’d heard, the other departments seemed to be looking at us to utterly destroy them…

…which didn’t happen since we lost out to the competition.

 

 

That’s it for my little story with the band. So far, we have had no rehearsals, but we plan to keep the band together just in case we need to play at a company function again. Sadly, our girl Karen left the office and it’s just us guys sticking it out. Hopefully, we find someone to take up the mic if we’d need to play again.

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Looking back on it all, it didn’t turn out to be so sloppy a job. I was honestly thinking we would not be able to get along musically, let alone get off the ground with a full set of songs. I guess that one can indeed meet similar, like minded people even if they’re dressed up differently than one might have in mind.

 

 

 

PS. I feel like I want to write up a tab for the whole song the way we did it.

 

 

 

 

~

Happy 2nd Anniversary! Woot!

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It had come to my attention that I have now been on WP for the past 2 years.

Hoofuckingray!

I remember when my good friend Cha started telling me to move here just because. Many entries, a journey of heartbreak, redemption and salvation after, I’m still alive and kicking here.

While I hadn’t been quite active as of late, I will definitely pick up the pace and write some more. I have absolutely no idea who’s following my blog, except for a select few with whom I have corresponded with.

If you’re here, you’re reading my thoughts. Thank you, at least you do not have to wait eons for us to merge into the Cosmic AC or Third Impact in order to peer into the world on how I see it.

 

 

~

Game Review : Strike Fighters Legends

I’m a big fan of military aviation. As a child in the 90’s, I used to wake up early in the morning to watch Wings on the Discovery Channel. By early, I mean to say like 0600 which is very early for a 10 year old kid on summer break from school.

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I just have this huge fascination with military aviation and fighter planes in general. I remember watching wide eyed during this show. I was given many books on the matter, the most important to to me was Air Forces of The World, a big thick book published in the 80’s with then current data on the world’s existing air forces. I remember that the back of the book had a glossary that contained an aircraft silhouette guide which I studied religiously.

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This is an example of how the guide kinda looked like, in this case showing an F-5E Tiger II

Time went on and my sister and I owned a then state of the art Playstation, and one of the titles that I played quasi-endlessly was Ace Combat III : Electrosphere. My love for jets and flying is so that even in arcade stores, I always looked for flight sims or combat simulators. In fact even today, if I’ll be playing a game title, it will either be a racing game or a flight / combat simulator.

 

Fast forward many, many years from our Playstation, the only gaming platform I have is my Cherry Mobile Flare X Android phone. One day, I was scouring for games to download when I suddenly remembered an old PC game I used to play – Strike Fighters Project One by Third Wire Productions.

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Sure, many people will tell me there are a great myriad of “better” titles but what made this game stand out for me was its open architecture, with which I was able to make my own aircraft camo or designs and the era of combat jets that it presented.

See, most titles are almost always about current generation aircraft or what could be considered as modern combat aircraft. That means that nowadays, the most featured jet would probably be something in the F-22 / F-35 class. But I’m not really a fan over very modern aircraft. I mean sure, they’re cool, they push the edges of technology and design, but they’re too new, modern, complicated even appear flimsy if you ask me. On top of it, I’m not really too keen on the whole stealth designs but I should say that the F-22 / T-50 are very sexy looking aircraft.

They’re just too modern for my taste.

What I’m really into are more classic designs from the 50’s up until probably the early 80’s. The aircraft from that time period are now regarded as classics although with the aid of updates, aircraft like the F-15, F-16, MiG-29 and the such are still regarded as modern and currently still very combat capable aircraft.

So going back to Strike Fighters Project One – I was on the Playstore, and I just had to see if a ported version of that game for use on my Android phone. I didn’t find the same game but I found something that seemed similar, Strike Fighters Legends which was made by the same company.

I downloaded it and it certainly did not disappoint. Btw, I first downloaded the free version, and because I really liked the game and company, I went ahead and got the Pro version. I’ll explain about the differences later on.

 

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Just like the original game, the game allows the player control over classic aircraft and you start with any of the services available in-game – USAF (US Air Force), USN (US Navy), USMC (US Marine Corps), AdA (Armee del Aire), Russian Air Force (VVS, PVO. AV-MF), RAF (Royal Air Force) and PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force).

The game starts you off in the year 1949 and gives you a basic fighter to start with. Unlike the original game, there is no plot nor setting. It is a straight up air combat shooter but it has some very real twists to it.

  • You have to pay attention to corner speed (C on the hud) otherwise your jet will not be in the optimum combat turn speed.
  • Bullets do not fly at the speed of light – you have to lead your target before you do any squeezing.
  • Ammo is very limited, and you have to make your shots count.
  • Missiles don’t work as well as they do in other games. You can miss by a mile with the slightest miscalculation.

The game allows you about 3 minutes or so of game time, and there is no set objective although I noticed that for the earlier time periods, the game could be over after you’d shot down 5 or 6 opponents. The AI in game are no slouches either – they turn, they climb, they run and they shoot quite well. This is especially true when more advanced missiles are available to them, and they are definitely not gentlemanly and will fire their missiles all at once.

Evading missiles is possible of course, but luck will matter when you have 3 or more missiles incoming from different directions.

I love the realism and straight up business that this game provides. I mean sure, there is no plot, but then what plane junkie needs a plot when he has an F-8 battling against MiGs with nothing but his cannon? Again, this might not be for the casual aviation enthusiast but for a classic military aviation nut, this is almost endlessly playable.

 

The game has pretty much all of the planes I want to fly in. Here’s a list of what appear to be my favorites thus far.

  • F-86 Sabre (A/H) including the FJ-Fury variants
  • F-5A Freedom Fighter
  • F-5E Tiger II
  • F-14 A/D Tomcat
  • MiG-15 Fagot / bis
  • MiG-17D Fresco
  • Dassault Ouragan
  • Hawker Hunter

 

I started out with the freeware game. It works but you have to work your way up from 1949 and use your credits to unlock the next available jet. Also, not all the jets are going to be available. That was reason enough for me to plunk Php 250 to get the Pro version. This one has the same gameplay except all jets are unlocked, and you no longer have to get skimpy with credits to get jets. Simply select the jet you want and you’re off fighting.

Graphics wise, it is simple yet effective. It isn’t too flashy like other comparable sims but whatever it has, it works. The plans are modeled adequately except the cockpit is not clear and there is no cockpit view. The ranging sight dot is a small yellow dot that is often hard find – it often shows up late so I do most of my shooting by feel though the green, fixed crosshair.

 

Here are some sample play-throughs of me playing the game, some are set to somewhat cheesy music with noob-level editing.

 

 

 

Kudos to Third Wire for this amazing game. It certainly helps me keep boredom at bay and lets me unleash my inner Maverick every now and then.

 

My rating on the game? ★★★★★ for everything!!!

 

PS. I play this game with a Shanwan Gamepad given to me as a Christmas present by my wife. The game can use tilt controls but I haven’t figured out how to fly as well I could on my pad…

 

 

 

 

~

Yet Another Public Service Announcement

I tried damn hard for the past few months to do a recap of my year from 2016 til the present (then) but…

  • Too many awesome things happened I can’t even find the words to write for them. Well, it’s not so much that I can’t find the words – I have no idea how to write them down. I’ll tell you all one thing though – fatherhood is turning out to be an insane roller coaster ride, and being a married guy does have its ups and downs. There will always be downs, but that will never stop me from looking at the ups. Call me stupid, but that’s how I see it. There are challenges, a great many number of them and while I don’t have a solution for everything, I’m quite sure time will have one
  • It’s cool attending events as husband and wife, and no longer as boyfriend / girlfriend. I saw our names at a friend’s wedding. It was mind blowing.
  • I’m still working on Aska.
  • I’m still playing guitar in the safety and comfort of our bedroom.
  • My kid is growing up fast af.
  • My wife and I are discovering more to ourselves and our relationship. It’s hard to work on problems, but I know we’ll eventually find a balance and get everything right.
  • Sometime on, I can probably finish Reflections II…

 

Alright, time to go and find stuff to write about.

 

 

~

A Public Service Announcement

To all those reading this blog:

 

I’m alive, I’m well and no I haven’t been secretly writing somewhere else. 2017 just totally gunned off the starting line and I have been very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very busy trying to keep up with it.

 

I took a sort of promotion at work, and I got tied up for three months from January til sometime March. I’ll write about that experience probably because it was wild. I’m back with my old post in the office which is why I now have the time to write some.

I’d been busy at home with my kid who’s now reaching for all sorts of things, and I’m busy trying to keep him away from all sorts of things.

I’d had I think a couple of gigs with Bulagta. Yep, I’m back with the boys full time or at least as much as I can squeeze them in to my schedule.

 

 

Stay tuned, I’ll get back to writing and stuff.

 

 

 

 

Ciao for nao!

 

~

A Look Back : The Shinkan / Urusai Wonderyears

It’s been a long time since I last played a gig with any of the bands I used to play with. My last gig was with Urusai at Sky High’s “Tales from the Unfriendzone” back in February. Since then, I’d been pretty much out of action, thus ending an almost 5 year playing streak with Shinkan, and then Urusai.

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credits to Mr. Carlo De Lacy for this wonderful photo of us

I really miss playing out with my guys and girls, but real life had caught up with us all at this point and I guess it’s time to put down our guitars in order to put down our roots. I got married this year, so did Icel and Marlo and it probably won’t be long before Ivory and Kajo decide to go at it as well.

We’d gone ways down the road from when we first started jamming together. We’d played good shows and while Shinkan never got to play at the event we formed up for (Ongaku) we did get good gigs which as a whole are quite memorable.

 

An exception to my current band-less streak would be the band that our department had put together to play for our company’s Thanksgiving Party. Perhaps I will dedicate a future post to this quirky bunch of guys who came together to answer the call for rock n’ roll – or reggae as I suspect.

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Yes, I came up with the name as joke. I didn’t know people would take it seriously.

 

 


 

 

That being said though, as with any band, there would be high and low points. There would be gigs worth remembering and those we don’t want to even mention. I picked out some of the more noteworthy gigs and songs we’d played for your viewing and listening pleasure. Also, take note that the videos you’ll encounter below may be chronological in terms of order but not of importance.

 

Without further ado…

 

2011 Asian Pop Expo

This is the very first show we’d played in, and was also the first time we met asterysk* in the flesh. It was also the first time they handed us our asses. This was me coming out of my classic rock / prog closet, hence the Michael Schenker-esque leather jacket while the girls wore more J-pop inspired outfits.

 

2012 Revotaku Jam Pack

This show found us playing our first outdoor gig in the cold January air. This was also the first time we came out with the red “Shinkan” band which was Marlo’s wonderful idea because we didn’t have any sort of stuff with us that show us to be a band. The kanji on the band spells the band name, and we have used the same characters ever since. This was also the first show that we experienced major hassles in almost every aspect except when we played our set.

 

2012 Asian Kung Fu Generation Tribute Night

I think this is the first of the many appearances we made at the then already tore-up af Freedom Bar. This also marks the first time that we joined a gig that had a theme going on since all bands had to play one song from Asian Kung Fu Generation, a band that none of us really pays close attention to. It was a lot of fun, and also began the tradition of Marlo, Kajo and myself drinking before a set, often to hilarious results.

 

2012 Otomonogatari

Now this one is really memorable especially for me, for a lot of reasons. This was the first band competition that we joined on and won a respectable 2nd place, and was also the first competition I ever joined that I was picked as Best Guitarist, an award that I still can’t believe I won. It was also around this time that I began my long period of fanboying over the popular anison singer, LiSA. We selected her version of “Brave Song” for one of our pieces, which incidentally was also one of the songs of yet another group, Yui for President.

Beyond that, this was also the day that my wife and I had seen and heard of each other. The memories of this gig is so important to me and my wife that this was where we had our pre-nuptial shoot.

 

2013 One Rock Tribute Night

This show found us back at Freedom Bar, this time playing to the Philippine One Ok Rockers (P.O.O.R) to the music of One Ok Rock, a band which we have absolutely no sense of similarity whatsoever. Although my sister and I listened to the band quite a bit at the time, my bandmates didn’t but we agreed to play the show anyway. This was the first time that I first began my now current practice of bringing two guitars to a show, and possibly changing them out when there is a need for a differently tuned guitar. Marlo took on the bass on this night since we needed his awesome slap and pop techniques, so in order to have Icel play guitar, we decided to teach her our setlist entirely in drop D tuning, which she did quite well considering a six string isn’t her native instrument. I played part of the show on standard (Yuri) then changed out to a drop D guitar (Maya), and this was the first show I started using my Vox wah. Actually, I bought the wah specifically for this gig only, but found that I liked it so much that it remained on my set-up since then.

This was also the night that us guys got so hammered drinking before the show that when the time came for my sister to hand me my other guitar for a swap, I totally forgot about it. LOL

 

2013 Best of Anime 

This was my first BoA appearance with the band – they’d appeared a few times prior to me joining up. The twist on this particular gig was that we needed to play an original song that the band had written and composed. I wanted to come forward with some ideas, but it turned out that Ivory had written one such song (“Rockstar”) years prior and they had already worked on it before I came aboard. That made the job so much easier for us, and all I had to do was provide some fancy guitar parts. At the time, I was learning how to play string skipped arpeggios in the style popularized by Paul Gilbert. Due to my noobness, I was only able to use one pattern in D major that I played up and down all over the intro chords. We had a good showing for our efforts in that while we didn’t win on this one, we did garner a lot of supporters.

 

2013 Ozine Fest 

This was the day we finally won first place in a band competition! Although it wasn’t without due sacrifice – I was supposed to be attending my car club’s Christmas party after we confirmed our set to be at 3pm, but we ended up playing at 6pm much to my dismay. There were a lot of people on that day, and admittedly I played my solo quite half heartedly because my amp suddenly sounded strange after we started playing. All’s well that ends well I suppose.

 

2014 Toycon

This was our first Toycon appearance, and my second time to appear in the said event in about eight years. We were still rocking it out with our usual set list but what made this particular gig stand out was that we played this particular Macross classic, a song that many dub as the song that stopped an interstellar war. I was supposed to be using my then newly acquired Peavey Telecaster (Phoebe), but I ended up switching back to Yuri after I felt uncomfortable with the single coil sounds I was getting.

 

2014 UP AME-X

 

This marked the first time we played at this famed convention series, and also our first time to play at the Word Trade Center Pavillion. Personally, this is one of my favorite gigs because we got to play a good long set with people actually singing along to us. We chose to play this Love Live! classic because at the time, the series and the mobile game was very, very popular. This also marked the first time that I was able to utilize a fully analog effects rig, along with my by then better developed string skipping arpeggios which no longer kept me in one box up and down, that I used on “Yuzurenai Negai”, a song that our community friends seem to tout as our signature song.

 

2015 Otaku Expo 

By this time, we had already become regular guests and performers at a lot of the more popular conventions in Manila. Having won a previous Ozine event, we secured a slot on this one, playing to what I think is the most densely packed audience we’d played to. This also marks the very first time someone outside of our band (Jake) took on vocalist duties along with our girl Ivory. I liked our sound here, and we seem to have become tighter as a band, and a lot of people had responded that Kajo was growing really well as a drummer, and that Icel was doing great on the bass because she was playing “H.T.” quite well – this is mostly due to the fact that the bass and guitar parts all go through the same notes and patterns.

 

2015 Influence @ Biz-Ahr

This is my personal favorite actually for the top Shinkan gig to date. We played a posh and great sounding venue, with ample space to not have everyone knocking into each other due while moving around. We were really in the groove on this particular night, my rig sounded amazing and needless to say, I think we really did well. We were furnished with a new set of “Girls Dead Monster” band shirts courtesy of RV Urban Style, the previous design being the all black Shinkan shirt with the crescent moon logo that we gave out to some audience members before. We also gave away the last of our remaining shirts on this gig, with one ending up in the possession of Sol of Solguilty Project, a famed cosplay and events photographer. This also happened to be Phoebe’s first real gig, and I think she sounded like balls that night.

 

2015 Toycon

This marked our second Toycon appearance as a band, and while we didn’t secure a prime time slot, we still played our hearts out and did well in general. Again, RV Urban Style designed a new shirt for the band and I think Ivory took the time to advertise our generous sponsor. I was still going with my analog gig, and this marked the first time I used my Flying V (Hana) onstage and also the first time I played some slide guitar in a live gig.

 

The Toycon gig is the last time Shinkan played together as a band. Although we’d put down our gear for now, I still look forward to a time that we can all come back together and play out under the lights.

 


 

Now while Shinkan is mostly the band we are best known for, the girls also had a little thing on the side going on. With the addition of Jazz from asterysk*, they called themselves “Dreamsicle”, they sang (occassionally danced) as a group ala Kalafina. The boys of the band then decided to go with an often talked about but never executed plan – form our own sub-unit that played more different styles of music than what Shinkan usually does. After some practice with just the three of us, we decided to see if we’ve got the mettle to do things our way and “Urusai” was born. With just the three of us, we usually played instrumentals but we eventually got around to singing the songs ourselves.

 

2014 Grand Theft Maco

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This was our first gig as Urusai, but before we actually got to play the date, it was supposed to have been a Shinkan gig. People expected the band to be there, only to be taken by surprise that only the three of us boys showed up. Things didn’t quite work out to how we wanted it because I developed a cold then a cough prior to the gig, severely hampering my already limited singing voice (ugh) but I tried as best as I could seeing as how the guys could still belt it out. “Highway Star” is a personal favorite of mine, and I suggested we play this to see if a three piece band can pull it off. The idea for the arrangement we did was an old bootleg recording from a band I used to do roadie duties for, Leaf. Marlo’s suggestion was that we actually play Siam Shade’s “Triptych” for real because up until that point, we only played the last parts of the song as a soundcheck.

The idea was to combine the opening bars of Daita’s “TGE4” version as per Kajo, and spliced it to Siam Shade’s V7 live version – complete with the thrash metal inspired bridge and *gasp* headbanging. Honestly, I didn’t like how I performed the song on this because I was feeling cold and I was struggling to keep my hands going. But did pull it off somehow and we even had the audience going “Oi!” during the bridge. This also marked my return to using my trusty Korg AX1500G and since to get a “beefier” guitar sound, I did a stereo set-up with both amps but to make things interesting, I dialed in the amps different from each other, with one having a more bass / mid setting and the other having more of the harsh treble coming out.

 

2015 Summer Over The Rainbow

This one is my favorite Urusai gig because I think we simply rocked that night. We did all vocal songs, and we wanted to showcase Kajo’s singing. Thing was, he wanted to sing the whole night so what we did was we picked a friend of his as our drummer for that night. So we had Simon on drums, Marlo on bass, me on lead guitar, Kajo on rhythms and we also had Ivory sing one number, and yet another friend, Rainier,  on our last song. Since we were supposed to play a tribute set to Parokya ni Edgar, Kajo took the lead vocals and we sang behind him. This was the first gig that I fully appreciated the sound I was getting with a Marshall compressor pedal, and Phoebe was a screaming mass of wood and steel strings that night. Considering the fact that our drummer isn’t exactly a gigging drummer, our set sounded tight and people sang with us.

I don’t really dig PnE songs per se, so instead of copying the leads note for note, I took the main themes and added my own flourishes to it.

 

2016 Tales from the Unfriendzone

This gig was mostly my idea because I’m a closet Hale fan. My friend Jei was asking around if he can get a band to play a Hale set for his gig which was supposed to be for people without a date on Valentine’s Day. I asked the guys if they wanted in on the action, they agreed and since this was my idea, I have to do lead vocals. This was a pretty amazing set for us and to keep the song order coherent, I tied it up to stories about my then recently ended long term relationship, which elicited laughs from some people and scorn (towards me) from others.

The audience did a lot of the singing that night because as luck would have it, I was coming down with a fever than night and I was losing my voice on some parts. For that particular night, we had Kurt (Riku) from Kamaimasen playing additional guitar parts. The house was packed and we had a really good time playing what people thought was a strange choice for us – people thought we were going to shred that night.

 

 

 

It had been a really long and fruitful journey with the guys and girls of both bands, and I am really grateful that we were able to bind our common love for music, and share it with the people around us. The good thing about it all is that while we’re no longer actively playing together, we started out as a group of friends and we still stick together.

I think that’s a really beautiful thing and maybe, just maybe, we’d be able to get back at it in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Until the next time the lights find us again.

 

~fin~