MANILA, Philippines – Music lovers from across Manila and beyond flocked to GoodVybes Fest at the Aseana City Open Grounds on February 20, Saturday, for a whole day of hip and fresh music.
GoodVybes brought together some of the best acts in today’s music scene, including headliners like Passion Pit and CHVRCHES, up-and-coming duo Oh Wonder, and Montreal-based rockers Stars.
It started as a rocky affair a bit late in the afternoon, but understandably, this might be part of the birthing pains of one of Manila’s newest music festivals. Nonetheless, the lineup was well-curated – a showcase not only for the freshest tunes and acts across the globe, but also our very own veteran and promising homegrown acts as well.
Here are just a few of the acts we encountered:
Brisom kicked off the show with their ‘80s New Wave-esque tunes, a perfect soundtrack to the golden sunset shining on the festival grounds.
Assembly Generals took command of the stage with a sound that recalled acts like P.O.D. and Rage Against the Machine of yesteryears. With a band lineup that includes beatmaker Mon Punzalan, the Eraserheads’ Raimund Marasigan on drums, Flying Ipis frontwoman Deng Garcia on the decks, and Paolo Toledo a.k.a. Switch spitting verses, they were a definitely a powerhouse.
Hailing from Montreal, Canada, veteran indie rockers Stars brought back to Manila the same verve – and sass, care of vocalist Torq Campbell – the last time they were here.
Their 2013 Manila show was hard to top: a 24-song set, with no barricades separating the band from the crowd, plus a meet and greet afterwards. It was a truly special show, which vocalist Amy Millan told us in a press round table was something they did simply because they didn’t know if they would be back in this part of the planet.
But, there they were – truly happy to return. They played songs off their new record, No One Is Lost, including the ultra-funky single "From the Night."
Torq even upped the zaniness quotient with banter in between songs – including throwing shade at Donald Trump at one point.
"Your Ex-Lover Is Dead," Stars @ Good Vybes Fest pic.twitter.com/OJqqqLEJsE — Paolo Abad (@PaoloJAbad) February 21, 2016
They sang a lot of old favorites, too: "Elevator Love Letter," "Soft Revolution," "Midnight Coward," "Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It," and more. Torq brought out his melodica and launched into "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" – a clear crowd favorite with its magical and melancholic tune.
At this point, GoodVybes started to turn into a gigantic karaoke party.
Among all the acts to play at the music festival, Oh Wonder had been generating a lot of buzz – being an up-and-coming, acclaimed band that has been making waves on the Internet.
Oh Wonder has played only around 30 shows thus far. So, the London-based indie pop duo’s first-ever Asian stop in Manila was something the GoodVybes crowd will never forget.
"Drive," Oh Wonder @ GoodVybes Fest pic.twitter.com/tCjilIBcIY — Paolo Abad (@PaoloJAbad) February 21, 2016
Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West’s harmonies in songs like "Livewire," "Drive," "All We Do," and "Technicolour Beat" were utterly gorgeous and magical, but so was the crowd singing in pitch-perfect unison. Josephine – to borrow British lingo – was gobsmacked, and said, "How do you even know our songs?"
Their set was truly memorable, and the duo promised that they’ll be back one way or another.
Scottish synthpop trio CHVRCHES was back in town, and delivered an even more spectacular show than before. Armed with fresh material from their latest record Every Open Eye, Lauren Mayberry, Martin Doherty, and Iain Cook thrilled the crowd with an electrifying set. (Interview: CHVRCHES’ Martin Doherty on PH fans, covering Justin Bieber and Beyoncé)
From new songs like "Clearest Blue," "Leave a Trace," and "Bury It" – to old favorites such as "Gun," "Lies," "Under the Tide," and "Science/Visions," the GoodVybes crowd gamely sang along as Lauren effusively danced from one end of the stage to the other.
"Leave a Trace," CHVRCHES @ GoodVybes Fest pic.twitter.com/WVISNZXdvM — Paolo Abad (@PaoloJAbad) February 21, 2016
The band had a lot of crazy fun in between songs, too. As the Manila crowd excitedly screamed, Lauren, Martin, and Iain exchanged shrieks, squawks, and shouts with each other and the crowd. Lauren even joked about how the humidity turned her hair into a "flock of seagulls."
After closing their set with their anthem "The Mother We Share," Lauren made known their excitement for the next performer, Passion Pit, who they supported on a UK tour when they were just new.
Finally, the festival closed with a performance everyone has been waiting for since August of last year: Passion Pit.
Frontman Michael Angelakos with his signature falsetto – together with his live band – killed it with songs off the latest record, Kindred, such as "Lifted Up (1985)," "Where the Sky Hangs," and "Dancing on the Grave."
"The Reeling," Passion Pit @ GoodVybes Fest pic.twitter.com/ujORxocezm — Paolo Abad (@PaoloJAbad) February 21, 2016
The crowd, however, lost it when Michael launched into "Constant Conversations" (overheard: “The feels, man”), and continued into a series of classic Passion Pit tracks: "The Reeling," "Carried Away," and "Take a Walk." Finally, he closed the unforgettable night with "Sleepyhead."
Michael said he was regretful that his Manila show was a long-postponed affair. While Manila was certainly thrilled to have him and the band, he seemed to be even more happy to be finally here to play for us with the crowd singing his songs at the top of their lungs.
"We should have a sing-along party more often," Michael said, beaming.
Were you at GoodVybes Fest? Whose performances did you catch and enjoy the most? Tell us in the comments below! – Rappler.com