Reviews and random thoughts brought about by various movies, series, music, books, travels, social behavior and what not...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Funabashi ROOTS (Funabashi, Chiba)

Tucked inside Honcho's 4-Chome in Funabashi is the Live Hall called Funabashi Roots (船橋ROOTS). Aside from being a rental hall, it also hosts live events (Live@Roots) that gives a chance for some underground indie or up-and-coming bands to get the full 'live concert' experience with its kick-ass sound system and lighting.

It has a spacious ante-room/lounge at the front which serves as a buffer from the sounds produced inside the hall so no sound escapes outside. You do have to remember to close the door behind you as the doors, although heavy set and seems soundproofed, isn't equipped with a door closer.

The finishing inside is almost bare. The exposed ceiling and mechanical ducts above does give this place its underground flair (beside the fact that its is under the ground, its in the basement of a building).

I was able to attend one of Funabashi Roots' 8th anniversary live events. And there are few tables with chairs on the sides, mostly the patrons are standing up, with enough space to dance around or slam and stuff.

And yes,they do have a bar. Located inconspicuously at the rear at the hall, without any fancy design or gimmicks, dishing out beverages. I wasn't able to check their food entrees as we were just handed the beverage menus and there are no tables to place our food if we did manage to get any.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Featured Band: H.M.K.

 
Another band that I got the pleasure of watching at Sokehs Rock is the instrumental band "H.M.K.".

I can best describe their music as a fusion of jazz, blues and funk played with such precision, with such an amazing display of technical prowess, and a harmonic collections of climaxes and hooks that leaves you astounded and wanting more.

And the guitarist is also an accomplished architect. The more I find out about this guy, the more I'm impressed.

Featured Band: Yotsuya Jihen

Yotsuya Jihen (or Incidents Yotsuya) is a jazz-pop-fusion band based in Yotsuya, Tokyo, which I was able to catch a live performance of at Sokehs Rock. Now I am not really into jazz, but their brand of fusion was able to get me riled up during their set.

As indicated in their FB page, they started out as a "copy band', emulating Shiina Ringo's  Tokyo Jihen, but started to do their own thing as time progressed for the group.

To me, they sounded like a jazzed up 'Every Little Thing' with the playfulness of Shiina Ringo's earlier solo work, creating a jazz-pop fusion that they can call their own.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sokehs Rock (Yotsuya, Tokyo)


 I spent a lot of time looking for venues that cater to underground Japanese indie music. And with not much to go on to with, I ended up failing.

Until a friend invited me to this place called Sokehs Rock (pretty easy to spell, but I find it hard to pronounce at first). They don't necessarily cater to the undeground scene but they do offer a pretty spanking place for bands. Its like the 6Underground (at Ortigas) meets Watering Hole (at Mandaluyong)

This cozy venue located at Yotsuya's 3 Chome, just right across the...uhhh...Yotsuya 3 Chome station of the Marunouchi Line, offers good food (I recommend their Mixed Pizza), good booze, friendly service and an intimate setting for where bands can perform.

The venue is a small, which at times the patrons are persuaded into sharing their seats and tables, but I saw that in some cases, the guests are now interacting with one another.

As I understand, Sokehs has its own roster of bands but are open for some events.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rurouni Kenshin (live movie adaptation)

I'm not much of a 'Samurai X' fan, but judging from the trailers, I think the live action movie adaptation of the anime and manga classic,"Rurouni Kenshin" is worth watching.

And I was right. All my expectations were vindicated. And if I may add, I think this movie will not only cater to the numerous Samurai X fans out there but also serve as a good stand alone movie even for people who are not fans, or not quite familiar with the series. And even for those not familiar, there are flashback scenes that explains why the things here are the way they are. As I was walking out of the theater, this guy asks his GF what she thinks of the movie, the girl responds with a hearty "nanka omoshiroi", although it is evident she's nota fan or unfamiliar with the series.

From some of the few episodes of the anime that I was able to watch, a lot of the actors were dead on in the potrayal of their respective characters. Satou Takeru (who I first mistook for Kazuya Kamenashi) was able to bring out the clueless carefree nature of the reformed Kenshin (I love the scene where he skips down the street and sees a wanted poster with his former alias on it, blurting out "Oro!!"), and when he changes to his "Battousai" mode where his voice lowers and brandishes a 'yankee'-ish diction.

But most of the comedy was stricken off the movie to make it in a more serious tone. Most of the goofing around is handled marvelously by Munetaka Aoki, who plays Sanosuke (my fave Samurai X character). Emi Takei also did a good Kaoru, and Taketo Tanaka did a noteworthy and awesome job with his natural potrayal of Yahiko. But Yosuke Eguchi somewhat remolded Hajime Saito and made it his own while retaining some aspects that are found in the anime.

Fight scenes are not that intense but was good...very good. Well planned and well executed.

You can count on this movie adaptation to be one of the movies I would watch again and again.




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Boku no Kanojo wa Saibo-gu (Cyborg She)

This 2008 Japanese movie written by Korean director Kwak Jae Yong features Haruka Ayase as the unnamed female cyborg and Keisuke Koide as Jirou Kitamura, the lonesome college student who celebrates his birthdays alone and buys presents for himself on that occassion.

Its a whirlwind romance-comedy drama of some mysterious events concerning a beautiful girl who he spends time with, falls in love, and never asks her name, even it was time for her to go... a cyborg who looks like her that Jirou sends back in time to protect his past self from a disaster, a grandmother who is actually his mother, and a real human girl who looks like the cyborg and falls in love with Jirou because she "experiences" what the cyborg went through by downloading the memory to his chair which runs on the same concept as the chair in Total Recall then decides to go back in time to pursue Jirou (which would explain the opening scene and the two different personalities of that girl, who went back twice to be with him).

Aside from the crappy title translation (Boku no Kanojo wa Cyborg is literally translated to "My Girlfriend is a Cyborg"...what the heck is this "Cyborg She" crap? Me Grimlock...you Jane...be afraid not...dictionary good), utter disregard for the concept of Time-Space theory ("time will heal itself ..." say what? I think you've been sniffing the wrong shit, man), the movie is a pretty decent thing to watch... enjoyable, funny, and with a dramatic epilogue for an ending. And with most of the situations in the movie, it makes you fall in love along with them...to a certain point. I find it hilarious the way the human and cyborg 'she' overcompensates to make herself blend in with that era's society and culture. Her inquisitive nature, and high intolerance to alcohol. Its like Terminator meets Chobits meets Ghost in the Shell meets Time Cop. There are a lot of scenes in the movie that makes you want to fast forward to the good parts, though.

There are also a lot of references that parodies or pays homage to the 'Terminator' franchise leading me to believe that the writer is either a fan of the series or of Arnold, which adds to this film's comedic charm.





Friday, July 13, 2012

Featured Band: Chunk Dela Cruz

Mixing the eloquence and groove of bands like 311, Sublime and Incubus with the rhythm and power beats of homegrown Pinoy rap metal, Chunk dela Cruz delivers a wide range of Rap-South beach style-Alterna-Rock music that is guaranteed to get you headbanging and moving to their original stuff.

I was first drawn in to this band while I was skimming through reverbnation (i think) and listened to their song 'Takbo', which instantly became a favorite of mine. Another song to look out for is the soulful yet groove-laden 'Peri'.

This group who used to be known as 'Chunk Crew', changed their band name to 'Chunk dela Cruz' to pay homage to the bands from the 90's Alternative band explosion in the Philippines that influenced their growth and development as musicians.

Do check out their site for more news and songs about this band.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Featured Band: RunByNine



Hailing from the City of Taguig, the collaborative group of Axel, Nad, Jon-jon, Aljon and Jade brandish their own brand of groove based Pinoy Metal as they actively gig around the Metro. They are steadily gaining popularity with a steady line of gigs from various productions that cater from heavy alternative to metal bands.

The Runbynine sound is heavy, pounding with a thick layer of groove which you can jump around to. They have two songs that are guaranteed crowd pleasers. The first one is called "Tansan" about a special alcoholic beverage, and "Run", about drug addiction. These songs makes you want to bang your head and shout along with Axel at the chorus.

Their name is derived from their usual practice schedule routine where in they have to ‘run by nine pm” to get to the studio.

Check them out


Monday, May 28, 2012

"Backdraft" Reunion Event on July 14,2012


(event poster by Romano Ramos)
No, its not the movie, but the Filipino metal band that was one of the pillars of 90's Philippine rock/ metal/ music scene. Me and my friends are big fans of this band, even getting together to cover Metallica and Backdraft songs (yung madadali lang ha).

Backdraft was a Filipino metal band back in the 90's whose brand of metal is said to boarder on  "aggressive as well as the progressive."

The band started out with Bim Samson on vocals, Mirt Togle and Ferdie Aquino on guitars, Tyrone Borromeo on bass, and MM Morales on drums during their 'garage days'. Bim was later replaced with Benedict Versoza and Jigs de Belen took over the skins. Later on, they then released the song that catapulted them into fame, S.M.B. (Sad Mad Ballad), in the now defunct rock station LA 105.9 back in early '94. (thanks R.Ramos for the info)

The band exploded into the Philippine music scene with the release of the 90's metal anthem "Anak ng Gabi" from the 'Dozen Alternatives' compilation album and their self-titled album from Neo Records back in 1994. A lot of the rockers and metal heads back then regard hits like "Asong Ulol", S.M.B. (Sad Mad Ballad), "Munting Hari" and "Sinungaling" as a staple, or a 'must-listen-to primer' into Pinoy Metal. Personally I also like "Manyika" because I get to laugh like a hopped up demon everytime I sing along to that song.

On October 1995, tragedy struck the group during a concert in Cebu as Ferdie Aquino, the guitarist, was rushed to the hospital due to a heart ailment.  Sadly, he became unable to continue with the band, as he slipped into a coma as a result of this. (from "Backdraft: The Reunion" site). I only got to learn about this recently. I knew that Ferdie slipped into a coma, but I never knew from what. ("...gising na kaibigan ko..." -B.Versoza).

In 1996, with the addition of Anton Yap on guitars,  Backdraft released their second album "The Shadowland Deep", which (I think) was more melodic, more theatrical, and more technical than their debut album. Springing from this 12-song album are hits like 'Empty', 'La Propaganda', and the instrumental "Gorgatz". I was even surprised with that epic song... "The Epic" and "The man with no Face" (with its Carnival of Horrors kind of ending).



By 1997, they decided to call it quits after their Philippine concert tour; The Shadowland Tour. The guys went their own ways with Benedict eventually handling the vocals for the rock band Virgin Hunters.

Now, years after they split up, they are going on a reunion gig at Makati's B-Side bar on July 14, 2012 which is dedicated to their long time friend Ferdie Aquino.  Ferdie's ailments and the status of his current condition  has been circulating as urban legend around the underground community about , filling up school forums, music forums and social media. The proceeds of the event shall be used to assist in his medical expenses.


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And now, a special treat for all you Backdraft fans out there.


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(information for this article was researched from:
  - resident Backdraft historian Romano Ramos (thanks, dude)
  - Backdraft FB page
  - Backdraft Everbrite page )

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Asian Home Box Office in "Screen Red"

Asian movie affecionados rejoice!!

There is now a channel dedicated to Asian movies (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) which are professionally subtitled, like one of those feature films with foreign languages, and delivered right to your cable TV. From the guys at HBO Asia and Mei Ah comes 'Screen Red', quality Asian movies and features.

Me and my wife can't get enough of Japanese dramas and movies. We'd buy tons of DVD's, download series from the net, or borrow some top quality original DVD's if we're lucky enough. But now, with the 'Screen Red' channel featuring award winning feature films and distinct movies with their own charater and flair, our appetite for the best Asian movies, whether be it Japanese, Korean or Mandarin, is topped off. Its a dream come true.

The problem now is, we don't get much sleep because of all the good features, especially in the weekends.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Ashley's Playlist

Me and fellow blogger and bandmate Paulo, was fortunate to take a behind the scenes look at the internet TV show 'Ashley's Playlist' which is shown on Thursdays at 10pm to 12am in Flippish, the premiere Filipino Internet TV channel. The show showcases various local solo artists and bands, as well as the musical talent and ability of its host, Ashley Gosiengfiao.

THE HOST

Ashley Gosiengfiao is a well known figure in the cosplay community, stepping into the shoes of numerous anime characters and bagging awards and recognition along the way. Aside for being a model and a product endorser, she is also an active blogger and a budding photographer.

With a guitarist/ gearhead as a father, and an equally talented musician for a mother, Ashley was raised in a household with a deep appreciation for the art of music. As a child, she was, as Ashley puts it, 'bribed' with a Playstation game, so she would attend voice lessons after school, and also took up piano until the age of 7. The love for music began to blossom from her later on as she taught herself to play the guitar at 13 and, while being in various bands throughout her highschool and college life, she was able to pick up a thing or two about playing the drums.

As for the type of music, her videoes always feature her covering a popular tune or acoustic ballad. Although open to a wide range of music genres, she prefers alternative rock, looking up to acts such as 'Up Dharma Down' and 'Company of Thieves'.


THE SHOW


The show concept stemmed from the videos of Ashley singing popular tunes produced in Flippish. While attending a production meeting for her sister's segment, she was asked to make a few videos with them after finding out about Ashley's inclination to music. A concept for the show was then developed after producing videos of Ashley covering the songs 'Super Bass' and '

At the start of every episode, Ashley would cover some songs by herself (both vocals and guitar).

As a person into music, I know how hard it is to study a popular song before performing it in front of an audience. In the show, Ashley covers at least five per episode. A daunting task, remembering all those bits and pieces that makes up each tune and making sure you give a solid performance everytime. She prepares by practicing at least one song a day so she can deliver the songs each week. She does this by picking off the guitar chord by ear (tagalog translation: kapa...kung musician ka, alam mo yun). And in the way she explained it to us, it seems like she has the gift of perfect pitch, where one knows the key of a song just by listening (that is sooo awesome, now I know 3 people who posseses this talent).

And then show continues with performances by the featured artist or band. Most of the time, Ashley would jam along and sing with them. And somewhere in the middle, Ashley interacts with the guests with the flair and charisma of a talk show host, and interact with the viewers via online messengers, forwarding their messages and questions to the featured artists.

The atmosphere in their modest studio is open and fun, with the help of the show's multi-tasking 3 person army of Ms.Maui, Sir Almond and Sir Joey. Its a wonder that they could operate and run the show while attending to the different needs of all the people involved. Sometimes, an idea would come up from either any of them, which is developed in a mere seconds, and then executed and integrated into the program. Now that is what I call a spontaneous and dynamic approach into production.

And, from behind the cameras, you really get to notice the 'grass roots' approach into making the episode possible. While stations that I worked for before invest millions on hardware, today's DIY softwares combined with the latest personal computing hardware ensures a nifty result for the fraction of the cost.

Overall, the show is fun to watch both in the streams, and behind the scenes. With informative pieces about local artists, what's happening around the music community, and the weekly dose of Ashley for all her fans out there in 'Internet Land', 'Ashley's Playlist' is definitely something to watch out for every Thursday on Flippish.

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Me and Paulo with Ashley and that evening's guest Anj Sulit and The Out of Body Special





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DID YOU KNOW: If Ashley were a comic character, the nearest match would be Marvel's Siryn. Along with her other talents, she is said to posses the ability, when she's stressed out or pissed, to let out a high pitch hushed scream that creates a feedback effect on the microphones (I would like to see that in action sometime).



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Scratch & Transform tutorial by DJ Mastershock

A basic introduction on the 'art of scratch' by fellow Aquinian Alumni DJ Mastershock


I remember back in highschool when I attempted to do this kind of thing using a normal player... much to the dismay of my bestfriend's dad and, at the latest incident, my mother-in-law. I didn't know back then that you needed other stuff connected to it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Death of an Icon: Karl Roy

The music community lost another cherished member as Karl Roy, vocalist of the band Kapatid, succumbed to a heart attack episode early this morning.

Karl Roy has been a lot through the years, battling different heart related ailments in the past. The music community was always ready to stand by him, aiding in any way to help him recover.

Some may remember Karl's stint as a vocalist for Advent Call and their emotional anthem 'Puting Ilaw' , which put them punks in line, breaking out their lighters during a concert in Pasig.

He then proceeded to attain commercial and critical success with the funk-rock super band P.O.T. I remember them at a gig that was held some time after his operation, everyone was cheering when Karl Roy was called onstage, he then took his shirt off, and brandished his post-operation scar.

His onstage persona and charisma shall be missed by many.


(picture is a screen capture from Rogue magazine's documentary/ interview)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

FLuB: A Primer into the world of Wasak Rock

"...after being serious for the past few years and still nothing, we just don't give a fuck anymore..."

As seen from a former header of the band FLuB, which describes their philosophy in playing music, and is the mantra behind the monicker "Wasak Rock" (or preferrably mispelled as 'wasak rak').

Its just not about playing aimlessly on stage or dishing out songs that sounds like new age hippy trippy experiments into audio intoxication. Its music that creates a certain impact, not much attention in making the song or the lyrics into an epic, and a lot of on-stage attitude that aims to make the audience enjoy the night...rock style.

Its not a comedy act mixed with a rock band, nor is it based on 'novelty' songs that began a boom at the start of the millennium. Its the attitude of the song that makes a difference.

Imagine a song about looking back what you wished to grow up as during your childhood, accompanied by a straight up punk riff and progression. The lyrical content may be nuts...but its infusion with rock elements hopes makes a different appeal to the listeners.

Now this is just the start, someday, this genre will be big...as big as punk was once were...(i think)

Follow the antics of the boys from FLuB.
Visit their site at:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Male Tsundere Nominee: Kuwano Shinsuke

Tsundere is a common phrase in the otaku world, which means a person who is cold and hostile towards another person but gruadually shows their warm, lovable cuddly side. This is commonly attributed to young women who cannot be honest or fully explain their feelings towards another person. They pretend to not care but, in a cutesy way, do things which are opposite to what they are saying and do everything in their capacity for that person.

Although it is mostly attributed to females (adding to their 'moe' charm), but throughout the years, I found a suitable candidate for a male tsundere.

Drum roll.....

Its Kuwano Shinsuke from the 2006 hit drama 'Kekkon Dekinai Otoko' as played by my favorite Japanese actor Abe Hiroshi.

I was watching it again (for the nth time) after a long time, and, with reactions from my wife, he began to fit certain qualities that may be construed as tsundere if he were a female. The way that he projects being aloof, outcast, cold and not caring but in fact he is always in tune to the needs of the people most important to him. But when he does decide to show it, it comes out wrong due to his social short comings and attitude which is interpreted the wrong way by others. His confidence in his knowledge and being always with a wity, biting remark seems to play a role in that.

The full culmination of him being tsundere to his doctor, Natsumi Hayasaka (as played by Yui Natsukawa), comes in full fruition in the final episode, in that somewhat awkward moment, where Kuwano invites her to his apartment to cook dinner.

teeeheee... :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Highschool of the Dead

I used to hear about the series 'Highschool of the Dead', but it was only recently that I came around to watch it.
A group of students (with some teacher) trapped in the city that is over run by the undead (referred in the series as "Them"). As the 'monsters'rise up and run over the lives of the living, a different kind of monster emerges from the hearts and minds of various antagonists that are introduced within the story.
The anime series based on the manga by Daisuke Sato and the art of Shouji Sato, it brings about a deep, dark, melancholic storyline as the series progreses.
A sort of Survivor/Harem/Fan Service Overload type of anime with dark overtones as the group of surviving students go through the ordeal of locating their loved ones amidst a zombie pandemic happening around the world.
Along with the abundance of boob, ass and upskirt fan service, the ragtag team of survivors also fit your common stereotypes which a lot of otakus find 'moe'. Take your pick; a blonde bombshell airhead of a teacher/nurse Shizuka, the genius tsundere Saya, the slick and cool sword weilding Saeko, the tough but softie of a 'childhood friend' Rei, and the innocent lolli Arisu. Mixed into the fray is your typical all around good guy Takashi and the gun and mecha otaku Kota.
Takashi tries out one of those new comfy sniper mats
Aside from the tons of eye candy every few seconds, the storyline is a pretty decent one to keep my interest in the progression of the story. You can't wait to see how their adventure progresses on. Character development also takes you through some twists and turns as they appear twisted in some ways.
Semi nude apron covered sword weilding warrior chicks: AWESOME

Although watching only a few episodes, It was enough to make me look forward to watching other episodes.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Evanescence and Bush - live at the Araneta Coliseum

I had no intention of going, because of some financial issues, but with a friend as a sponsor, I was able to attend Evanescence-Bush concert last night (Feb.19, 2012) at Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

What excited me was I was finally able to see the band 'Bush', one of the heroes of the 90's alternative-grunge scene, and whose music was a constant companion during my high school and college life. I was also in a band that covers their songs.

Its like revisiting those days as Bush plays 'Machinehead', 'Little Things', 'Comedown' (which made the whole arena sing along with Rossdale), 'Glycerine', 'Greedy Fly', 'Everything Zen' and 'Chemical Between Us' to name a few.

I was surprised to see the moves on Gavin Rossdale, Bush's front man, as the band played hits from their various albums. I was used to seeing the stoic Gavin on one spot during a performance, pounding away on his guitar, whether it be on their videos or live televised performances.

Pandemonium also ensued as Gavin came down from the stage, walked around the audience on the lower ground levels, making his way to the lower and upper box, while singing and guitar in tow, with security personnel catching up with him keeping the fans at bay.

Bush gave an explosive performance. Too bad the crowd is made up of mostly Evanescence fans who, I think, sees and hears about this band for the first time.

"Glycerine"-mode


Gavin Rossdale works his way around the Coliseum, eventually reaching the Upper Box Area




After a very looong setup, Evanescence came charging in with heavy pounding drums, crushing guitars and an incredible blinding light display with their latest single "What You Want".

Now I haven't been much of a fan of Evanescence after Ben Moody left. With due respect with the current lineup of members, the heavy guitars and arrangements seems a bit watered down as compared with their earlier works, except for a few new ones that deviates from the common formula present in almost all current Evanescence songs. But I must say, drummer Will Hunt was pretty intense. He reminds me of Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters.

Once in a while they would churn out earlier hits that I was familiar with like 'Bring Me to Life' and 'Going Under'...but I was hoping that they would play 'Whisper', which was my fave. The current Evanescence sound is more ambient and mood driven.


"My Immortal"-mode

Amy Lee's Solo Piano set



"What You Want". An explosive set opener

The night was an awesome experience, as expected from performers of such caliber. As other left elated and feeling happy, I was just downright content. That the only wrong thing happening is that it was raining when we left the coliseum.