The Return to Wanderland
It was a confluence of conditions that made Wanderland’s sophomore effort a triumphant repeat performance. The festival, as true as it was last year, definitely gives a different vibe from Summer Slam, Bazooka Rocks, Malasimbo, and even 7107.
Say what you want about Metro Manila weather, but I could not imagine Wanderland being scheduled in any other time of year. People were at their most comfortable festive get ups: their shorts, their skirts, flower crowns, tank tops, cotton everything, flower crowns, sunglasses, I-wish-I-was-in-Coachella costumes, flower crowns. Karpos brought the party favors with the carnival staples, the carousel, that inflatable thingamajig with the velcro wall, live art sessions. And booze and food. Amenities in Circuit were topnotch. It is perhaps the best and appropriately stocked locally-produced music festival I’ve gone to. Wanderland certainly did a great job recognizing and acknowledging its audience judging by the effort it put into field logistics alone.
Wanderland’s distinct vibe is most probably due to the music the festival showcases. In the most simplistic and convenient of terms, blurted out by no other than Lourd de Veyra on stage: hipster. It is the music, the culture, the clothes, the attitude, the entire shebang the term imbibes, incurs, and inspires. Be it as it may, the lineup runs a gamut of musical styles diverse enough to avoid monotony but consistent enough tug a unifying thread binding all of them. All of them except maybe for Franco. It is always great to see them perform on stage, so I would assume the organizers threw them into the fray as a wild card to keep things interesting. And it was.
I’m not sure if it was the heat taking its toll on the equipment, but the sound quality markedly got better as the day progressed, especially after the sun went down. As an optimist, I could say the sound checks and delays gave the crowd time to wander (hehe) around the Circuit grounds, grab a bite, and take a swig, go to the restroom, and tweet-Instagram-Tumblr. Still, the performers did not let the technical shortcomings bring down the best they can give on stage.
Lucy Rose made a fan out of me with her wonderfully crafted and deliciously arranged songs; even if she wonders how she found herself playing in this side of the planet, the Wanderlanders unanimously agree why she belongs in the lineup. Paper Kites’ performance melded with the Metro Manila dusk to paint a tender soundscape of a mural, their indiefolk sensibilities cradling the sun down for their enthusiastic fans. They were followed by the Last Dinosaurs with an energy that set the bar for the rest of the night. The Wonderful All Stars–an amalgamation of Inky De Dios, Radioactive Sago Project, Kat Agarrado of SinoSiKat?, Sarah Marco of Taken By Cars, and DJ Mars Miranda–represented homegrown musical talent with a collaboration unprecedented in any local live event, marrying the artists’ different styles into each other’s materials. The Royal Concept delivered a relentless assault that whipped the crowd into a frenzy, a testament that their recorded material does not do justice to the intensity the Swedes bring on stage. The ever colorful Architecture in Helsinki showed off their veteran chops by completely turning Wanderland into one huge dance party. By the time The Drums went on stage, the crowd was completely rabid in anticipation, and capped off the night by giving everybody satisfied grins on their faces.
Shrugging off technical glitches, Wanderland has proven itself worthy to be part of the Philippine’s annual music festival pantheon. Here is a musical event where there are more hands raised or clapping than there are hands brandishing a phone or tablet or camera. There were more dancing and “being in the moment” than getting that perfect selfie-stick shot with a GoPro or what-have-you. Wanderlanders and Pulp Summer Slammers have something in common: their idea of having fun at a concert does not require digital gadgets. If fates allow, Wanderlanders would eventually become as rabidly loyal as Summer Slammers are with their annual pilgrimages. With two outstanding years under its belt, we can only expect Wanderland to get bigger and better in the coming years.
* Special Thanks to Karpos Multimedia
More Wanderland 2014 Photos
Written by Peter Tolibas
Photos by Carla Barretto
Carla Barretto is a busy bee that eats, sleeps, and breathes concerts. When she’s not shooting shows, she’s planning them herself! Her production and multimedia backgrounds blend into this peculiar mademoiselle with a love for live music.
Follow Carla on Twitter @heycarlaaa