Another One for the Books – Bazooka Rocks II

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As typhoons hit the Metro, one after the other, there is no mistaking the hurricane that swept us all away – Bazooka Rocks 2013. On its second wave, the music festival was a surefire hit that left its attendees with the aching nostalgic experience dubbed as post concert depression. Twelve bands in fourteen hours; who wouldn’t want to keep replaying those memories in their heads?

The vibe throughout the festival was palpable: thousands of bodies swarming around the venue,their voices thrumming against the background music, waiting for their favorite acts to come on stage. And when they did, the energy that pulsated in the crowd was undeniable.

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The halls of the SMX convention center had come to life. Numerous tents bordered the venue – food kiosks, a photo booth station, phone charging areas, San Miguel stalls giving out free flavored beer, and carnival-like booths — pop the balloon, neon face paint, rent a plush animal ride, and the giant inflatable slide. Lee Jeans Philippines even had their own nook at the venue, hosting a lounge area for fans and a balcony section for VIP guests. The booth that held the most attention was, of course, the merchandise booth, where fans could meet and greet their favorite band during intermission.


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The main attraction of the night was none other than the stage area; after all, the reason for attending the festival was to relish the experience of watching one’s favorite bands live. Both sides of the stage had walkway extension areas for the musicians to get a little closer to their fans. Opening the festival with local flair were performers such as Penguin,Faint Light, Mad Hatter Day, and Save Me Hollywood.

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The first to grace the stage was five-piece alternative group from Tempe, Arizona, Radio DriveBy. Their first stint in the country was met with favorable reception as fans sang along, and swayed to the beat of their catchy songs. Included in their line up of songs was a cover of Bruno Mars’ Treasure.

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Bringing a different tune to the show was Japanese visual kei group, Uchusentai Noiz. They brightened the stage with their colorful ensemble, and high spirits, and even greeted their fans in Filipino. To show some local support, they performed their wildly popular cover of Kamikazee’s Narda.

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Sydney pop punk quintet Tonight Alive electrified the stage.The crowd reveled in their presence, singing, jumping, and fist pumping. Jenna McDougall reiterated the band’s philosophy, “Never live in fear of someone else’s judgment” at one point during their set list. Some of the songs they played were Listening, Amelia, The Fire, and Lonely Girl.

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It was a hardcore rock party with We Came as Romans. What once was a simple crowd of jumping and dancing fans transitioned into something much more intense. First a circular gap was formed, and then swarms of bodies charged toward each other, creating a circle pit. Not long afterwards, vocalist Dave Stephens instructed the crowd to part in the middle, and get ready to be part of something chaotic. Within seconds, they erupted in frenzy, running towards each other. Aside from performing their originals, the band did a cover of The Wanted’s I’m Glad You Came, a song they recorded for the Punk Goes Pop 5 album.

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After four years, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was back to take on the Philippine stage once more. One lucky fan – who won their contest – got the experience of a lifetime as he got to be part of the band even if only for one song. Fellow Filipinos encouraged him through cheers as he sang with confidence. Ronnie Winter was like a conductor, directing the audience as the band played on – False Pretense, Cat and Mouse, and Face Down. Bubbles rose in the air as the crowd mellowed out and Ronnie sang a crowd-favorite ballad – Your Guardian Angel.

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Anberlin is one band that knows how to put on a great show. Stage lights dimmed, fog came enveloping out and instrumental bits floated in the air; their entrance was very dramatic. They appeared on stage and kicked off their set with The Resistance. Like their first show in Manila last 2011, they commanded the stage with their presence and gave it their all.

Fans were in anticipation for the next performers, when a surprise came their way. The screen, blinding white, announced a new tour: The 8123 Tour on January 2014. Cue the fans’ screaming and excitement.

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Finally, one of the most-awaited bands stole the show as they ran on stage. After the Kabuki drop, All Time Low ignited an insane surge of energy. It was infectious. Jumping right into song with Lost in Stereo was a perfect start. It was definitely one heck of a performance. From their old material such as Six Feet Under the Stars, Dear Maria, and Coffee Shop Soundtrack to newer tracks like Somewhere in Neverland, and Backseat Serenade to the heart-wrenching ballads of Therapy and Remembering Sunday, All Time Low gave its fans an unforgettable experience.

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With bras plummeting from the ceiling and being thrown towards the stage, Jack and Alex’s frank song descriptions & crazy antics, and the smoke effects that would add that extra excitement factor, it was proved once again that there is truly nothing like an All Time Low show.

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Closing off the festival was a band that announced its break up early this year, so to have them on stage for one last time triggered emotions throughout the crowd. A Rocket to the Moon captured the hearts of many Filipinos with their contagious sound with songs like Wild &Free, Give a Damn, Whole Lotta You, If I’m Gonna Fall in Love and Ever Enough. An enjoyable set was also met with a pang of sadness for both the crowd and the band – the former in tears and even chanting for the band not to break up, and the latter a stranger to playing for the last time. After two encore songs, the set drew to a close with Mr. Right as fireworks erupted on stage. It was a bittersweet ending to a phenomenal day.

Thank you to Pulp Live World! Definitely looking forward to another successful Bazooka Rocks in 2014!

Write up by Isabel Matias

Photos by Cen Sulit, Carla Barretto and Peter Tolibas



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