June 28, 2012

My event and gig reviews of the Fete de la Musiqe 2012 and Chinese Man’s performance at said event is now up on the GMAnews.tv and Interaksyon website.

I had a great time at the Fete even though I had to commute back and forth between the rock stage and the main stage, then finally ended up at the electronica stage with my fellow journo Melay and her hubby, the cartoonist and artists Manix Abrera.

I actually didn’t want to linger at the rock stage too long especially with the horrid ventilation that made the place reek like a sauna redolent with sweat and body odor. All in all, when our friends reconnoitered  at the condo for an afterparty nightcap with comedian Russel Peters on the TV, I was a good kind of tired.

`Til next year’s Fete hey? Salamat beaucoup.

Music review: Kung-fu dancing: France’s Chinese Man live in Manila

BY KARL R. DE MESA June 28, 2012 4:21pm
This street party is in full force. Laser lights flash navy blue, viridian and a green so lambent it bathes the crowd in sci-fi camo patterns. Three French DJs work their brand of hip-hop, house music and rap with a gleeful fascination for Eastern textures and loops. The French are here and they’ve brought their sonic katanas. Chinese Man is live in Manila.
Chinese Man are a French rap collective that hail from the city of Marseille. With the core group composed of DJs High Ku, Sly, and Zé Mateo, they formed in 2004 and emerged into the Euro dance scene with their own record label plus a series of quick EP releases. Like any collective, they utilize many collaborators on their studio albums and live shows, like Jamaican style rappers Taiwan MC and Cyph4. Producer Leo Le Bug is counted among their regular partners, harking back to their first LPs, “The Groove Sessions Volume 1” (2007) and “Volume 2” (2009).
Their vastly eclectic sound is old school hip-hop DJing with original vocals and rap on top gone the way of French sensibilities. They employ the same methods by way of the cut and paste path blazed by DJ Shadow and his allies. There’s also Unkle in the mix, The Streets, an obsession with the primacy of the ambient from Tricky and the intensity of Big Beat slowed down and given a spiritual balance by Wu-Tang Clan’s psalms. This is hip-hop that’s glad at life. Chinese Man want to fly, and they want you to fly with them without the chemicals or artificial additives.
They’ve been on an Asian tour, which is why they’re top billed as the main international act on this year’s Fete de la Musique last Saturday, June 23, having just come by way of Jakarta a few nights previous.

The Fete de la Musique is one of the most anticipated local music festivals. Organized by the Alliance Francaise De Manille and a host of co-sponsors, they’ve closed down a fourth of Makati Avenue—a fact that the rest of the business district is still busy trying to digest, all the while traffic police reroute everyone around the barricades and try to sardine cars into a semblance of parking order.
The corner of Makati Avenue and Kalayaan Avenue hosts the Main Stage, visible even from Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue. The usual laconic crowd that loiters around A. Venue and its hotels are nowhere to be found, and even the night’s working girls, since we’re a stone’s throw from Burgos and the red light district, hurry through the festival goers afraid to get busted.
The last time I attended a Fete was in 2008 and it had drawn a large number of young gangs and their non-music fan cohorts who came only to troll, get drunk, holler invectives. Oh, the bouncers were delightedly hauling groups in every 10 minutes that night, but this year the crowd is older, better dressed in bohemian casuals, not at all yearning to be rowdy.
There are more expats so much so that there’s a Caucasian face for every five Pinoys. The CBD and the police on the corners have successfully intimidated the usual festival riffraff clean off. I don’t expect violence with this tipsy, good vibes, get-me-entertained atmosphere. Nobody’s looking for a fight. So, I relax.
Chinese Man comes on after sets from Cynthia Alexander (one of her last gigs before she sets off for America) with the drum collective Brigada, The Blues Rats (featuring a newly svelte Cookie Chua as guest vocalist), and Julien Drolon.
Read the rest of the article HERE.
*   *  *  
*This one’s more of a photo essay piece courtesy of some fotogs from the Alliance Francaise du Manille. 

GALLERY | Notes and highlights from Fete de la Musique 2012

By Karl R. De Mesa, Interaksyon.com · Wednesday, June 27, 2012 · 12:48 pm

The last time I attended Fete de la Musique, Alliance Francaise de Manille’s yearly roving music festival, was in 2008. It was held in Ortigas, on the block spanning the El Pueblo De Real restos and clubs, where it drew a record number of rabblerousers and gang members.

This year’s shindig was held last Saturday night within the confines of the Makati central business district. Half of the security consisted of Makati police on traffic and surveillance detail. Hence, the absence of the usual felonious suspects.

With an expat-heavy crowd looking to relax and take in sweet music, there was a surfeit of good vibes all around.

The organizers had closed down the corner of Makati Ave and Kalayaan Ave, all the way down to B. Valdez to host the cluster of stages, or at least a majority of them. The main stage was on the corner just after Burgos and was visible even from Buendia Ave.

There was little chaos on ground level, and the cluster of venues appeared well-planned. You could easily walk from the main stage to the jazz stage, or the electronica stage, the hip-hop stage, even the blues stage (which was at the corner of Polaris and Jupiter, in Heckel and Jeckel), and, with a few more minutes crunching asphalt, the reggae stage at the corner of Paseo De Roxas.

Read the rest of it HERE.


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