A Weekend in the Skydome with Architects and New Found Glory
Pulp Live World started off 2015 strong and hard, imposing its dominion over the SM Skydome for two nights in a row in the first weekend of February.
First up is what could be Pulp Live World’s blueprint for what is loud in 2015. Architects led the barrage of the edgier-sounding bands the production outfit offers the country year in and year out. The initial assault from the boys from Britain is just what Pinoy rakistas would consider a great way to start their year in house-rattling concerts. While the rest of Pinoy music fans eagerly anticipate a “British invasion” in the coming months, Architects came in like a fierce big bad lone wolf braking away from the more pop-mainstream pack. And like a rabid wolf, they ravaged the state with a 15-song set that was relentless from the get go with “Broken Cross”; the set ebbed towards the end with “The Colours Don’t Run”, then launching a coup de grace with “Distant Blue” and “Grave Digger”.
The show was not without surprises though: the band announced the addition of Adam Christianson as their new guitarist, who was a long-time touring comrade of the band. While not exactly a surprise, vocalist Sam Carter, on behalf of his band, lamented on how it took so long to go so far just to perform in front of their Filipino fans. It’s these type of things fans won’t get tired of hearing from their favorite visiting artists whenever they perform live, and somehow it’s some sort of bonus track from a live take, something you only get to hear and feel when you’re there in person. Personally, I like their brand of metalcore/posthardcore/progressive metal, which has more emphasis on the ‘core’ part that harkens back to its punk-metal roots, and less of that flash and flair most of their contemporaries have, which is more prone to dubstep-reminiscent drops than mathematically-defined breaks. It could be the Anglophile in me, but Architects would be my reference if someone tells me there’s such thing as British metalcore. I’d love to see them play in a future Summer Slam, as they deserve a bigger stage and a more massive crowd.
If there were stark differences between the Architects’ performance and New Found Glory’s, it would be that the former was a relentless assault of enthusiastic bombast from a band’s first show in the country. On the other hand, NFG was on a return engagement, and it was heady mix of nostalgia and renewed exuberance from the pop punk veterans from that wave in the late 90’s to the early Naughts. Opening with a Judy Garland video performing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Glory, Glory, Hallelujah),” the band reaffirmed their revered place in their now-crowded genre, including promoting a new album sourced from the bottomless supply of energy only pop punk sensibilities could fuel. They played “Resurrection” from this new outing early in their set—a fitting testament for their repeat performance and persistence/reemergence.
From then on they played as a testimonial of the persistence of youth pop punk perhaps embodies—the simple but ferociously effective hooks, the skateboard park pace complete with rhythmic ollies, drops, and grinds, with vocalist Jordan Pundik leading the charge. As another pop punk band would put it, there were singalongs and lots and spoken feelings. The band’s spiels were mostly on the topic of them staying strong together after nearly two decades, to supporting bassist Ian Grushka’s fight and success in getting in shape, to drummer Cyrus Bolooki’s absence to witness the birth of his first kid (Set Your Goals’ Mike Ambrose was Cyrus’s replacement for the Manila date and the rest of the tour). It was also a testimonial for the fans, as the band appreciated their followers’ efforts in reaching out to the band through social media, pointing out that the posts and the comments got the band to continue playing and making their way to venues such as Manila. It was sweet hearing guitarist Chad Gilbert declare that they won’t stop being a band even if they play in front of one or a hundred fans. Heck, they even want to bring the Manila crowd when the band plays in Germany.
What’s common in Architects’ Saturday and NFG’s Sunday was the crowds’ enthusiasm and energy. I am of the opinion that the crowd is half the show, and that the show’s success is measured by the miles of smiles turning up after the speakers die down. This weekend just paved a wide welcoming road to more great shows for the year.
* Special Thanks to Pulp Live World
By Peter Tolibas