Manila on Fire


A knock out caught the world by surprise. Many were still in shock hours after Manny Pacquiao received an unexpected blow and fell to the ground. Though it was the current buzz, another storm was to take the Metro like a bolt of thunder.

Hitting the country with a surge of sound for the second time in a year is Phoenix-based band, This Century. Having dominated the charts of radio stations such as RX 93.1, it is no wonder that they are back in just six months. Previously alongside We Are The In Crowd and Set Your Goals in June, they had their first headliner in the country last December 9 and 10.

December 9, 2012 at The Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill

The Venice Piazza open grounds, usually empty save for the benches engulfing the area, was transformed to a concert venue that evening. The set-up was quite different from the usual concert layout. A small twist to the arrangement was the tables surrounding the VIP section. Newfound fans were watching from their tables as they ate while others, simply put: rocked the night out.

The moment This Century had bolted on stage they ignited the spark that would send the crowd exploding into a ball of energy. The sound of the keyboard broke the silence, signaling the show’s commencement. To those familiar with the tune of the piano, they anticipated the simultaneous entrance of the drums and guitar. “Don’t stop me from falling,” Joel Kanitz, the lead singer, began. And the crowd had already started to sing along.

The hour-long show consisted of thirteen songs, Hopeful Romantic being the kick off. The set list consisted of a good mix of current singles, songs off their EPs and debut album, and even a cover. Following the second song, Running, was a track introduced as “a song about love” – Do It To Me.

Upon hearing the familiar beat of the percussion, the crowd knew that it was the song that had captured their hearts as This Century fans. “You guys ready to play a song called Sound of Fire? Does anyone know this song?” Joel teased. There was no need to ask the crowd as they responded in eager screams.

Behind the stage was a very festive backdrop. There was a huge Christmas tree at the middle; beside it were palm trees lined with lights. And very fitting for the next song, Kiss Me Like it’s Christmas.

At one point during the show, the band read fan signs. One sign that said “I ditched Manny for This Century” triggered Joel to talk about the subject a little. “Alex and I watched it. We were very upset.” He even dedicated the following song, To Love and Back, to him, “This one’s going to be for Manny.”

It was during Everywhere Everything that the audience was at their peak, vocally. Even from the back, their loud voices were in unison.

The band slowed things down with one of their B-side tracks, Indigo Girl. Maintaining the level of energy, they followed this up with a ballad, which Joel stated is about forgiveness. Money Honey is one of those songs that tug at heartstrings – “Let’s learn to put the past behind us. Let love push the door, and find us. Keep your heart wide open, so I can fix what’s broken. Stay around, maybe, I can be a better me” as the chorus goes.

Relating the next track to the bracelet Joel was wearing – which a fan gave – he introduced Skeletons. The eleventh song was another off their To Love and Back EP, No Way Out. In between songs, Sean gave a shout out thanking everyone who supported the band.

When a lead singer tells the crowd, “it’s their last chance to go crazy”, they know the final song of the night is coming. Once the prelude had started, it was no mistaking that it was Bleach Blonde. It was evident that fans enjoyed singing along to every song and dancing to the beat that by the time the boys left the stage, it was second nature to them to yell the ever so famous ‘we want more’ chant.

The stage was empty for a good five minutes or so, but fans still hoped as no one packed up the instruments. Just when it seemed like Bleach Blonde was the finale, This Century – the Silverman brothers in matching Santa hats – came out of their little backstage tent, and the fans roared with joy.

It was an unexpected encore as Joel rapped the night away; the band covered M.I.A.’s Paper Planes. Most bands perform their current single or the song that allowed them to break into the music scene as their finale; but it was nice to see and hear something a little different from the norm.

As soon as the band cleared the stage, an explosion of sound and fire caught the audience off guard once more. It was a striking end as fireworks lit up the sky; a perfect paradigm of the crowd’s ecstatic aura.

Thank you Pulp Live World for bringing them back!

This Century Live in Manila Set list
Hopeful Romantic
Do It To Me
Sound of Fire
Kiss Me Like It’s Christmas
To Love and Back
Everywhere Everything
Indigo Girl
Money Honey
No Way Out
Bleach Blonde
Paper Planes (cover)

Written by Isabel R. Matias


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