Female-fronted bands are rarities these days. Whenever we see one, our curiosity and our skepticism just flare up abnormally. With their own brand of pop-punk, Tonight Alive is one such band that is starting to make noise around the world. While they have yet to reach mainstream success here in the Philippines, they are slowly but steadily gaining a loyal fanbase as proven in their concert at SM Skydome last September 22. Fronted by a lady named Jenna McDougall, the band from down under valiantly took the stage that night.
The opening act for the evening was a fuzzy long-haired man and a bald drummer who are collectively called Inspector Cluzo. Strangely, they were both dressed formally, but that was the last thing they could ever be. The duo, also known as the French Bastards, hailed from France – Gascony, to be precise, which is the same place where the famed Three Musketeers came from. Proud of their heritage, the blue and red of their flag inlaid with 2 lions, hung by the side of the stage. The self-proclaimed totally independent band expressed their revulsion toward jazz, corporations, America and bass players. Intriguingly, their song titles were very outright: “The Two Musketeers”, “F*** the Bassplayer” and” Put Your F******* Hands Up”. In their spontaneous musical outbursts, the two made their anti-everything-against-freedom statements as they psyched up the crowd with their unpredictable riffs, beats and weird dances. It was, in truth, a very interesting performance. They were entertaining, bizaarely funny and whacky. Their parting words, as it went, were: “Remember, if it’s not wild and free, it’s not rock and roll.”
It wasn’t until the lights went out and “Eject, Eject, Eject!” played that the crowd went completely wild. Jenna, wearing the strikingly bright yellow shirt of her own band, took the pedestal as the opening riffs of “Breaking and Entering” powerfully echoed out. Her vocal prowess was undeniably superb.
With Whakaio Taah and Jake Hardy on guitars, Cam Adler on bass and Matt Best on drums, the band carried out a commanding performance as they played the catchy pop-punk rock songs from their debut album such as “Starlight”, “In the First Place”, “Let It Land” and “Thank You and Goodnight”. The audience heartfully sang along and jumped around as the band returned their support with equal enthusiasm and energy.
Toward the end of their set, Jenna took a moment to address the crowd. “This is a very special song and we rarely play it, but because Manila is special to us, we’re going to play it. It’s called ‘Amelia’ ”. The namesake of the song was Jenna’s childhood friend who passed away. It was visibly an emotional performance. The band then proceeded to play “What Are You So Scared Of?” which shares the title of their album.
As young as they are, Tonight Alive is a pop-punk band that has only started paving their way in the music industry. This Aussie band is full of potential. They have worked with the same producer of Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, Finch and Motion City Soundtrack, all of which are now well acclaimed rockers. They had toured with the likes of Lost Prophets, New Found Glory and Simple Plan. Around the world, they are surely drawing a network of fans. Expect to hear more from them soon. Jenna even said so herself: they will be back next year.
Tonight Alive live in Manila was entertaining from start to finish, the atmosphere was great with excellent lightings, balanced and amazing sounds and nice set-up of the stage, it all hung together so well.
Presented by Pulp Live World
Photos and Written by Sandra Laureano