To be long-time friends is already a great thing in itself; the amount of experiences shared be it good or bad could range from playing music of similar interest during breaks along the school corridors to being rejected by the person you like, hence, the heartaches—and to have that friendship be the foundation of being in a band, even more so. With that established, the boundless loyalty and all, as in every endeavor, blood, sweat, and tears are necessary to keep the fire burning.
There’s ERA! – a band of brothers
The way we see it with There’s ERA!, they sure have come a long way in the 3 years they’ve spent as long-time friends and as a band, and there’s no sign of anything to keep them from growing. Last Saturday night (December 3, 2016) offered solid proof with the launch of their first EP entitled Telenobela at Mow’s which included performances by 88 City, The Oemons, Mayonnaise, KISSLING!, and Jensen & The Flips. On top of that, the volume of attendees made the launch even warmer as they nearly filled the whole venue.
Kicking it off with sheer excitement, it was indeed a December to remember for the band of brothers.
Going to Mow’s by commute may prove to be a pain in the neck as the venue’s in Diliman, which means having to deal with the dreaded Diliman, Q.C. traffic. But as the show got on the road, off-key indie band KISSLING! set the tone by opening with their track Oh, Young Love! followed by Daydream, both which gave an ambient start to warm up the incoming audience, most of whom were meeting up with one another and getting drinks. They gradually gained momentum with the following song, One Night Stand, off their unnamed and upcoming LP. Comically enough, the band noticed they had a bit more time left during their set, so they proceeded to play a couple more songs off their repertoire, before finally going loud and taking control with their post-punk track, In Control—in which a cymbal got detached from its stand by the end of their performance.
KISSLING! opening the show with an unexpected long set.
The second act, pop-rock/alternative 88 City—formerly known as Jejaview—made it a point to follow up and intensify the show with energized riffs and hammering drum beats that surely got the people jumping and banging their heads. With seminal tracks like SUMMER TWENTYELEVEN, You and Your Fantastic Friends, and Paperskin, 88 City easily managed to get the audience hyped and singing along. How they could pull off such a feat, it’s because the band themselves are pumped and engaging when playing live. Even during the time when they were Jejaview, they always had this camaraderie between them and the audience that never waned.
88 City delivering an electrifying performance.
With that being said, the people were glued to where some of them stood and where some of them sat as crowd favorite Jensen & The Flips set their gear up, skipped the foreplay, and went straight to play their hit song, Lovechild. And as soon as the band started playing, the crowd was taken away by the soulful performance of Jensen & The Flips. Along with tracks like Slow and Dangerous, where things were toned down a bit, people couldn’t resist to dance until the end of The Flips’ set. These guys just know how to heat you up and feel the passion.
Crowd favorite Jensen & The Flips (Photo by LK Doble, no watermark)
Following The Flips’ set was The Oemons—a ska-punk band hilariously dubbing themselves gone wrong as “if ska-punk had wild, passionate, and sweaty orgy sex with metal, world music, pop, and dick jokes,” they’d surely be the understandably conflicted and totally demented lovechild. Although The Oemons had been around for a while now, blaring trumpets and horns with each performance, they’re still definitely worth listening to for a solid good time singing songs about sex, kebab, and shawarma. Lol.
Rock and roll means sex, kebab, and shawarma for The Oemons (Photo by LK Doble, no watermark)
Now, as we know while we’re on it, shawarma is often served with a mix of dressings such as some hot chili sauce and garlic mayonnaise. The band Mayonnaise, on the other hand, has been among the most notable artists in the music scene today; with tracks like Jopay, Bakit Part 2, and Sinungaling—all of which they have performed last Saturday night, following The Oemons—they aren’t hard to miss because even from outside the bar, the crowd can be heard singing their hearts out while the band performs. One other thing worth noting, Mayonnaise frontman Monty Macalino helped mastering some of the tracks in There’s ERA!’s debut EP.
An instant trip back to the mid-2000s by Mayonnaise
And then it was time…
To cap off the EP launch came the boys of the hour, There’s ERA!. Championing the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, we’ve known the band since the second installment of Intramuros Rising—mainly because they were the homegrown act that finally had the Big 4 universities in Intramuros come in full circle on that fateful day. You might find yourself asking, “Who are these guys?” as the very first question that pops into mind, what with their melodramatic lyrics about heartbreak and missing someone, it all sounds so ordinary. And yet, it’s safe to say that even if you don’t know them or if you’re seeing and hearing them for the first time live, their music would get under your skin. Truth be told, it’s because as simplistic as their songs may be, their rhythm and harmony is genuinely catchy.
The boys of the hour – There’s ERA!
THE TRACK-BY-TRACK GUIDE
This near-2-minute instrumental introduces the EP. Similar to sound checks most bands do at the beginning of their set, the intro sets the tone of the record—giving listeners an idea of what they can expect throughout the band’s recorded material.
“Mabubuhay na lang ban a parang telenobela? Hindi ba ako ang bida? Lagi kong pinapanalangin kong ako’y tignan mo rin. Isipin mo na rin kung ba’t ka pa tumingin sa iba, kung ang nagmamahal ng tunay ay malapit lang sa ‘yo.”
According to There’s ERA!’s bassist, Eric Evardone, Telenobela—aside from being the EP’s titular track—is supposedly the first song written by frontman Allen Guarnes. It’s dedicated to Guarnes’ first love in which he had long hoped to be with, and they did end up being together against all odds.
“Hindi makapaniwala, gugunaw na ba ng aking mundo? Kinausap mo ako’t akala ko eto na, ngunit bigla kang lumiko oh oh…”
Direct to the point, the song rings of typical teenage days, Evardone says. It’s like someone who’s head over heels for a girl, but doesn’t have that much of a chance of actually being with the person he/she likes. Put it simply, the song would resonate well with people who are torpe.
- Di Makatulog
“Di makatulog sa kaiisip. Ano ang gagawin para mawala sa ‘king tingin? Kahit pa nakapikit, ikaw ang nakikita ko. Ano ang gagawin para mawala ka sa ‘king damdamin?”
With a running time of 48 seconds, Di Makatulog simply tells of sleepless nights people would have just thinking about the person they have feelings for, but don’t want to have anymore.
- Ako Kanta Ikaw
“’Pag di ka kasama, nag-iiba. Ang oras mabagal, tulog ay wala. Nalulumbay, hinahanap ang ‘yong kamay.”
It all started as a lighthearted jest among the guys of There’s ERA! as they didn’t really know how to put the words “missing you” in Filipino. So, they just rolled with it. (As in Ako = Me Kanta = Sing Ikaw = You.) According to Evardone, this was the song they struggled with the most as it had gone through several rearrangements in the past, but finally settled with the one in the EP. Ako Kanta Ikaw is straight up a song for people we miss—be it a friend or a loved one.
- Kung Kailan Kailangan Ka
“Darating ka rin. Sinabi mo sa akin na sa isang tawag ko lang, mundo’y iyong tatawirin. Puso’t isipan ko’y handa sa anumang ibabato nila sa akin. Bakit kung kailan kailangan ka, ngayon mo pa naisipang mawala?”
Kung Kailan Kailangan Ka started off as a form of an alliteration that’s entertaining to pronounce, until such time it ended up having a story. Straightforward as the other songs in the EP, the track is about friends who seem to disappear in our time of distress.
Telenobela EP cover by Ardie Aquino
Overall, There’s ERA! reached a milestone with the release of their EP, Telenobela. The songs are reminiscent and reflective of scenes found commonly in movies or teleseryes that captivate Filipinos’ love for dramatic soap operas. With this record, the band stood out with their straightforward and honest lyrics, pumping drum beats, and pulsating riffs which makes it great to listen to. The cover art colorfully illustrates the band in the backstage of a warehouse set, shooting a movie with a pink-haired girl and a couple of aliens. It’s plausible to think that the girl is the main character who’s also an adventurer who crash landed on some distant planet, and the EP follows her story in search of someone dear to her with the company of her alien friends. How There’s ERA! could top this with an LP in the future, only they could figure out and do themselves.
8/10 (Hint: An inclusion of liner notes a.k.a. a lyric book next time, maybe?)
– Roy Salamat