Saturday night live: ’90s rock at Solaire, soul-R&B-dance at Smoking Joint

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Together for the first time in years (front, from left): Jett Pangan, Cooky Chua, Wency Cornejo, (back, front left) Medwin Marfil, Naldy Padilla, Paco Arespacochaga, and Dong Abay.

If the 1970s were regarded as the first golden age of contemporary Filipino music, the ’90s would count as the second one – a decade that saw dozens of bands rise to fame on the strength of their original compositions in albums that fans bought with zeal.

Some of these bands’ early songs were heard first on the then FM radio station LA 105, in a daily program dubbed “Filipino Alternative Show.” At the time I was a DJ on LA for several months, before being asked by Yano’s Dong Abay and Eric Gancio to be their manager. (In turn, I asked a friend, Arthur “Judge Dredd” Pimentel, to help me in the job.)

What followed were some of the headiest, most exciting moments of my life – watching Yano, the Eraserheads, The Youth, Parokya ni Edgar, Color It Red, Put3Ska, Tropical Depression, Kelt’s Cross, Rizal Underground, Orient Pearl, Binky Lampano, Joey Ayala (who brought his band, Ang Bagong Lumad, from Davao to settle in Manila with the Apo Hiking Society’s Butch Dans as manager); other groups that came a few years earlier like Coco Jam, The Dawn, After Image, Introvoys, True Faith, Rivermaya, and Prettier In Pink; the motley bunch of punk bands from the Twisted Red Cross label, especially Betrayed and Urban Bandits; and a hardworking band whose lifespan started in the late ’70s and who’s still active, The Jerks.

The best thing about these bands was that they played live with such raw, electric passion which instantly connected with the audience that went to their gigs at Mayric’s, 70s Bistro, and Red Rocks (later renamed Club Dredd).

Now, for the first time in ages, nine lead vocalists from these bands will perform in a rare concert, “‘90s Live,” on July 22 at the Theatre at Solaire. These ’90s Pinoy rock stars are (in alphabetical order: Dong Abay (Yano), Paco Arespacochaga (Introvoys),  Lei Bautista (Prettier in Pink), Cooky Chua (Color it Red), Wency Cornejo (After Image), Perf de Castro (Rivermaya), Medwin Marfil (True Faith), Naldy Padilla (Orient Pearl) and Jett Pangan (The Dawn).

Let’s see if they still have the fire that made the ’90s a bright spot in the history of Pinoy rock and pop.

(Theatre at the Solaire, Solaire Resort and Casino, Aseana Avenue, Parañaque; tel. no. 888-8888)

Flippin’ Soul Stompers

On a smaller scale but nonetheless still interesting, Bing Austria (Tropical Depression, Put3Ska, Juan Pablo Dream) and his current band, the Flippin’ Soul Stompers, will also play on the same night, July 22, at The Smoking Joint (TSJ) a new barbecue and beer place in Makati that holds regular live gigs featuring new and veteran bands.

I’ve seen the Flippin’ Soul Stompers perform at TSJ where the crowd had a great time dancing. I’d like to watch it again. Come to think of it, if “’90s Live” ends around 11 p.m., there’s enough time to run to TSM and catch the Stompers’ last set. /atm

(The Smoking Joint, Green Sun, 2285 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati)

Bing Austria (in hat with microphone) and his Flippin’ Soul Stompers.

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