Cebu punk band Tiger Pussy expands audience via pure word of mouth

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Tiger Pussy. Photo provided by author

MANILA — There’s that sense of anticipation in the air. Cebu’s best musical import, four-piece punk band Tiger Pussy, is in town to launch their new album “Residuals” at Mow’s in Teacher’s Village, Quezon City. This is a band whose growing popularity was incredibly spread via word of mouth which is fascinating in this age of the internet and social media. 

Ron Schlander of the band Nonentities and Counterflow Productions described Tiger Pussy as a band that is more than a terrific live show. Theirs are introspective lyrics that carry a lot of weight and make you think and talk about the music. 

But on Saturday night, November 11, one energetic patron put it a most clever if not hilarious manner – “Zumba by Tiger Pussy!” he exclaimed and the crowd that packed this rock club in the heart of Quezon City both laughed then proceeded to dance, breakdance, do the choo coo train, Zumba, mosh… it’s like a getting a fun workout. 

It would be easy to describe this two-female (lead singer Jan Sunday and bassist Shak Mancao), two-male (guitarist Banjo Tabada and drummer King Villanueva) band as a riot grrrl band perhaps in the vein of Veruca Salt. But they aren’t. They’re more than that. And you’ll have to start with their rather provocative name. 

“Quite intentional,” admits Jan Sunday during an interview an hour and a half before their set. “I like mind games.”

“Essentially, it’s punk,” she adds. “But that’s simplifying things.”

“When we started out, it was just playing stuff,” adds Shak Mancao. “However, there was common ground for our songs – our own lives and relationships with those close to us. Normal stuff. When we started touring Manila, more people asked us what we do and write about. It is the first time that people ask us about the messages of our songs. Some would say, ‘Half of you are girls – what are you writing about?’ It isn’t just the goal or message; we feel responsible as women to spread a message that we believe in. Lalo na if it’s younger women who tell us, ‘you’re so strong; you’re so cool. How do you do it?’ All of us can do it. You can do it if you want to. I guess that is what we are singing about too.”

And Tiger Pussy does it in their own inimitable way.

All three of their releases including the new album, “Residuals” – that is four years in the making and released by Cebu-based label, Bomba Press with the album pressed in Taiwan — are all in English. That’s 11 highly charged dance punk songs – “Of life and what got in the way – work, family, changes in relationships, expanding your horizons,” fills in Jan whose voice trails off for Shak to segue.

“We write songs for ourselves. If people can identify with them, that’s a huge plus for us,” adds the bassist who also organizes local productions back in the Queen City of the South. “It isn’t perfect, but this is us.”

This time it’s Jan who finishes off Shak’s train of thought, “We’re unapologetic about what we sing about.”

From the first single, “No Rhyme” to the angry “Nothing” to the urgency of an air raid siren of a song that is “She’s Dead” to the hip-hop inflected groove of “Damaged Goods,” Tiger Pussy delivers an album filled with intensely personal lyrics to a manic beat and crunching guitars.

Just the sort to sow the Mow’s crowd in a mosh frenzy. Even Shak and drummer King worked up quite a sweat that they must have lost some weight after their 30-plus minute set that even if it was way past one in the morning was still packed.

“I told you it was going to be a party,” declares Schlander to this writer after the electrifying set. 

“For a band that is far from the capital it is unbelievable,” says Shak of the positive response to the band outside their native Cebu (they have received invites to play abroad but they just need to save up on their own airfare). “We don’t even do any marketing or what.”

Sums up Banjo who finally managed to get a word in edge-wise: “Everything – the new album? People liking our music? Playing here and there – it’s cool.”



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