The full moon of March lent light on the sunken garden of UP during a free concert entitled "Concert for Freedom: Never Again!". The March 16 concert showcased 35 Filipino bands and individual musicians giving entertainment for gratis, all for the clarion call against the very possible return to Martial Law in the Philippines.
Last night, 16 March, I rode a motorbike driven by my brother-in-law, Nat, to rush to the concert organized by Conrad de Quiros, a long-grey-haired activist-writer known for his poetic but incisive columns on a popular daily newspaper in the Philippines. People were not innumerable by the time we reached the garden (at 7 past). Although, I saw lots of them in the garden's perimeter, as if waiting for popular bands to figure in. Understandably, I agree. Sammy Asuncion and company were not that known to many a common person.
I feel guilty for not having listened more closely to Sammy's group's music. Hunger (right to food) prevailed over passion for music (right to music). Alright, it's not fun to be hungry, you agree? So I once again invited my in-law to a dinner outside UP.
When we came back, the Jerks were already playing. Oh my, I did miss the first songs of my favorite alternative rock group. (Actually, it is their being alternative, not their being rock, that I like them.) The Filipino band of the '80s has not changed basically. With the exception that he got chubbier, Chikoy Pura's signature body movements were still there. Nitoy, the simple electric guitarist, was as cool as he was in the band's early years.
What really was disgusting was when the office's videocam I was carrying conked out for the battery's very low charge. So I miserably failed to take a photo of the Jerks and the next bands like Session Road, Brownman Revival, and Giniling Festival. I stopped the list here, because Giniling Festival was the last group I saw. I went back to the office because of stomach pain.
It was my first time to see Hannah's group and alternative Filipino reggae band live. The Session Road's male member with his thick Jamaican braids also uttered statements that sounded ridiculous yet poetic to me. One such statement was like "Bakit may net sa hub? Kasi magkakasama tayo!" The Brownman Revival added to my suspicion that it was sympathetic to the Reaffirm Natdem movement by occasionally chanting "Palayain si Ka Bel! Palayain ang Batasan 5!" (Ka Crispin Beltran is one of the five Congresspersons arrested illegally by the Philippine police for their alleged collusion with the military rebels. All five belong to party-list groups suspected of being identified with the Communist Party of the Philippines.)
The most entertaining band (next to the Jerks) I saw was the Giniling Festival. This is the group that dared write and sing songs of the social times, like about man-to-man relationships. Ever heard of a song entitled "Tsong, Boyfriend mo Pokpok"? (Pal, your boyfriend is a prostie).
The other consolations I gained were photographs of the stage's backdrop and a full moon above the concert's stage.
While riding a jeepney back to office, I formulated a slogan that I'm sure the concert's seers will agree:
"Never again to Martial Law! Ever again to free alternative concerts!"