Summer Ends Loudly at Circuit Fest
The afternoon rains are slowly getting more frequent as the last days of May peel away. In a few days, we can only expect the weather to get more bipolar with the rains steadily pouring and the heat becoming less infuriating.
Yes, summer is drawing to a close, and Circuit Fest was just about the perfect way to give it a proper sendoff. Throughout the season, we’ve seen our glorious share of music festivals, but one thing that made Circuit Fest stand out was the lineup. For pop to punk enthusiasts, the 9 international acts served a dream team of sorts which included bands who had been frequent visitors in Manila such as Mayday Parade, This Century, We Are The In Crowd and Yellowcard to the highly anticipated first-timers The Downtown Fiction and Before You Exit. All of them shared one stage. What more could they have asked for?
To spice things up, the event also highlighted skating icons Riley Hawk who is the son of the skating legend Tony Hawk and the Fil-American skater Willy Santos. A mini ramp was set up near the entrance with local skaters showing off their skills amid the slippery slope caused by the rain.
At around 3:00 in the afternoon, the festival began. The wide stage was perfectly set in the center of the venue, decked with the colorful circular logo of the event and a huge LCD screen which featured the current act’s animated logo and occasionally, the overview of the crowd. At both sides, 2 smaller screens that highlighted the performers up close. Right in front of the stage was the moshpit, tightly packed with aggressively hardcore fans. Another highlight of the event were the vibrant colors of the lights, well complemented by the sporadic spurts of the smoke machines, which both gave the festival the flare it deserved.
Globe Circuit Event Grounds was very well suited for concerts, appropriate enough for the festival. With various booths encircling the venue, the atendees was delighted to browse different merch, apparel with a few freebies along the way. The event was also hosted by Glee’s Mark Salling who interviewed a few skaters and some of the bands right after their performance.
Kicking things off were the A+ Dropouts, a pop-punk band fronted by the very young Cheska Zaide. YouTube sensation Megan Nicole also dazzled the audience with her cover of the popular tracks like ”We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Baby.
Next on stage were four guys who are no strangers to our country. For the third time in a year, This Century played on the Manila stage and again, unrelentingly managed to catch the attention and admiration of the crowd. Joel Kanitz, Sean Silverman, Alex Silverman and Ryan Gose played their signature hits along with the tracks off their newly released sophomore album “The Biography of Heartbreak”, garnering the applause and hoots of approval of the audience.
The Downtown Fiction further electrified the festival. Cameron Leahy, the quirky front man of the band, was most thrilled to perform here in Manila and the crowd reciprocated as much as they headbanged to their music. The band played “Alibi”, “Best I Never Had”, “Happy (Without You)”, “Let’s Be Animals” and their rocking rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”.
The fifth performer was the pop-rock band Before You Exit who undoubtedly charmed a lot of ladies in the crowd. Some of the songs they performed were “End of the World”, “A Little More You”, along with interesting renditions of FUN’s Some Nights, Bruno Mars When I Was Your Man and Hanson’s Mmmbop.
As the night was getting deeper, the lineup got more and more enticing. We Are The In Crowd, one of the most anticipated bands in the lineup, definitely psyched up the restless spectators of the festival. For their second time in Manila, WATIC again came out with a bang. Bursting with energy, Taylor Jardine, Jordan Eckes, Cameron Hurley, Rob Chianelli and Mike Ferri held the crowd’s fascination and fervor throughout their entire set. The members of the band looked like they were having the time of their lives onstage which was precisely what made their set exceptional.
Next was some time for some feel-good dance pop music with Allstar Weekend. Zach Porter, the band’s front man, was a dazzling sight to behold as he strutted some eccentrically amusing dance moves. Even the injured bassist of the band, Cameron Quiseng, was all smiles during their set that included “Not Your Birthday” and “Come Down with Love”, to name a few.
Circuit Fest was nearing its end, but it was just getting started for some as the last two bands remaining were definite highlights of the evening. It might have been their third time here, but Manila still hadn’t seen enough of Mayday Parade. From the beginning to the end of their set, the Manila crowd’s reaction was nothing short of fanatical. Derek Sanders, ruling the stage barefoot, revived the crowd’s spent energy with his astounding stage presence. People heartily sang along to “Jamie All Over”, “Three Cheers for Five Years”, “Kids in Love” and “Oh Well, Oh Well”. Indeed, their performance was so awesome, it left the audience hanging.
The crowd wanted more, and fortunately, they got their wish and a lot more when Yellowcard got on the stage. Ryan Key proudly announced to the crowd that they had one mission that night, and it was to have every person in the crowd lose their voice. Being the last act, they managed to keep the crowd roaring even as their fatigue was starting to sink in. They played their signature hits including “Way Away”, “Breathing”, “Only One” and “Lights and Sounds”. The biggest surprise in their set was when Ryan called out WATIC’s Taylor Jardine to perform the track “Here I Am Alive” off their latest album Southern Air. Before playing their last song, Ocean Avenue, Ryan also mentioned that the band is set to release an acoustic version of their debut album to mark the tenth year anniversary of its release.
Majority of the attendees withstood almost ten hours of mixed rain and heat. Most ended up soaked, starved, parched and tired, but to them, those were just little sacrifices for a day of witnessing such amazing bands on one stage. If anything, those things made the 25th of May all the more memorable. Circuit Fest was well worth the wait and the effort. Summer might be over but one thing is definite, this event will be engraved in the hearts of the Filipino concert crowd.
Special thanks to Music Management International
Written by Sandra Mae Laureano
Photo by Carla Barretto / Cen Sulit
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