Sandwich Celebrates 20th Anniversary Under the Glow of the Satellite

In the world of music, staying together for ten years is a feat. Staying together for twenty, however, you can only believe that it must be some sort of holy union. Sandwich, one of the pioneering bands in the industry of Filipino music, has proven that they must be just that, as they celebrated their 20th year as a band in their concert at Metrotent on April 13, 2018. Comprised of Raymund Marasigan, Diego Castillo, Myrene Academia, Mong Alcaraz and Mike Dizon, the band gave people 2 hours of the unadulterated time machine experience: Sandwich style.

The show had two stages, one at the back (for the opening acts) and the main stage (for the act of the night). As early as 7:30PM, instrumental rock band Tom’s Story started playing, followed by rising bands She’s Only Sixteen, Ciudad and Autotelic. The members of the different bands, in turn, expressed their gratitude and admiration for Sandwich, citing them as their musical heroes. There was also a short DJ set by Diego Mapa which gave the crowd time to settle down within the venue.

The excitement was palpable when it was Sandwich’s turn to play. The venue was packed with an assortment of full-fledged adults ranging from 20s to 40s plus a good number of the younger millennials – a testament to the extensive influence the band’s music held over different generations.

Sandwich blasted off with “2 Trick Pony” which was, quite frankly, a surprise. It was the namesake of the concert and it would have been the predictable encore song, but no, it rang in the beginning of the show. Immediately after, the raunchy riffs of “Butterfly Carnival” and “Walang Kadaladala” with the crowd’s spot-on sing-along echoed across the venue.

At the beginning of the concert, Raymund took the time to admire the crowd as well as the noticeable cameras raised high. “We’re playing for you, not the people online,” he said candidly. It was those simple words that sparked a form of epiphany in the audience. Almost immediately, cameras and smartphones were off the air, instead hands were gracelessly swinging in the air and then, soon after came the leaps, the mosh pits and the short-lived crowd surfing. That “live in the moment” vibe was one of the many things that made the evening more precious.

It was quite easy to be whisked away by the thrill of it all. Sandwich’s songs are, after all, very distinctly familiar, each one having a certain indelible vibe. Think of the grinding tumbles of “DVDx”, phrase-by-phrase nostalgia of “Betamax”, the gloomy strings of “Masilungan”, the beach bum dream of “Sunburn” and of course, the overall fun revolutionary call of “Sugod”. There’s something precisely different in the way that the Mike’s drums punctuate the song, Myrene’s on-beat basslines highlight the melody, Mong’s guitar riffs wails away its own tune, perfectly complemented by Diego’s rhythmic strumming, weaved altogether by Raymund’s frenetic energy and vocals.
Sandwich also played through songs from different eras, including “Freestyle Analog” and “Sakyan” (Grip Stand Throw), “Selos” and “Procrastinator” (from Marks the Spot), “New Romancer” and “Back for More” (from Fat Salt and Flame).

As a band that bloomed at the beginning of the new millennium, Sandwich started from the intimate rowdy bar gigs wherein people just basked in the music as it was played live. There were no 20-megapixel camera phones taking IG-worthy pics. No short loopy concert clips circling the net. None of that “This gig is the bomb. Insert: cool hashtag ” posts online. Back then, rock bands played it out in super late night gigs, hoping to get more and more people to join in the fun as they counted on word-of-mouth and that ever important radio airplay. The music scene had a more human touch. Fast forward to a few years after, everything was devoured by anything digital. Sandwich, however, has managed to find a way to anchor into the transitions and the modernities. The songs they have produced, although you wouldn’t gush about them at every single moment of your life, have become markedly memorable and relevant.

Sandwich has lived through 20 years of being a band, and that, by itself, is amazing! (Really now, how often do we get that in OPM?) They have spread their roots, grappled with their identity and found their place in the Filipino music scene. They have produced not just any music, but soundtracks to generations of youngsters, and defined for them what life was simply like at a certain era. More than that, the band’s musicality has kept evolving through the years. What began as a gritty punk/nu metal project has grown into a more animated ventures in other lighter genres which fine-tuned their sensibilities and expanded their music.

Congratulations and thanks to Sandwich for 20 years of music! Cheers to more!

by Sandra Mae Laureano


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