When Street Noise Productions & Reconstrux Bookings announced that they were bringing Rivermaya here in Singapore, I did not hesitate to approach them for a coverage. It was an instinct that propelled me for an opportunity to shoot the guys who made a great influence in the pinoy alternative music scene. And so I presented my group, MASP (Making Arts in Singapore through Photography), to document the band’s activities here. The awesome guys of Street Noise & Reconstrux agreed without hesitation. You can view the video coverage through this link.

Our group was tasked to cover the event, from the band’s arrival at the airport up to the show. We had the itinerary firmed-up up to the date of the arrival when we received a message that the flight was going to be delayed for at least an hour. It was a good thing though, so we had all the time to prepare & look like “professional” paparazzis.

Just as the band entered the arrival premises, we quickly grabbed them for a short introductory video snippet. We shot a scene inviting the fellow Filipinos here in Singapore to catch them later that night at the Hard Rock Cafe Singapore.

After the quick introductory, the band passed by the hotel to leave some of their personal stuff, grabbed a quick lunch, & proceeded to Gramophone for a Q&A and meet & greet session.

I have to say that the questions sum-up their current situation, from the departure of some members up to the establishment of the current line-up. I cannot go into details though, since I was too preoccupied doing my job.

After the Q&A, Heyday Streetwear presented the band with some goodies and continued on with an acoustic session.

After the intimate set, they proceeded to Hard Rock Cafe to relax & prep-up for the Bandwagon interview.

After the interview, the guys headed downstairs for a soundcheck. While waiting for the PA’s to beef-up, I approached Mike Elgar, the lead guitarist, and chatted some stuff about guitars. It was always a dream of mine to jam with well known guitarists so I casually asked him if we could jam during his free time. By what I meant for a jam was a simple acoustic session upstairs, where he would throw some chops while I drool over. It never crossed my mind that Mike was trying to set-up something that I would never forget. More of that surprise when we get to the show.

After everything was set, they headed back to the VIP room to take a breather. But our coverage was not limited to a bunch of stills & video snippets so we sat down with the band and did a quick informal Q&A.

After a few hours, Rivermaya went on stage & did what they have been wanting  to do, give the people an awesome & memorable evening. And yes they did, & they didn’t disappoint.

The stage lighting at the Hard Rock Cafe was the trickiest I have encountered & I reckon it can drive a camera’s auto white balance insane. There were washes of very warm lights, up to the point that it became orangey, then you have a tungsten spot light which throws the spectrum at the opposite level. It was almost impossible to balance it, since getting the mixture in between will sacrifice the opposite ends. I initially processed them in black & white, but I seem to have lost the emotions behind them so I reprocessed them & painstakingly balanced the skin tones. It is not quite there yet but I prefer this over the black & white. You can see below how Mike Elgar & Mark Escueta’s skintone resemble into an opposite sides of a soccer match.

As I was bouncing in & out of the crowd trying to take some shots, I stationed at the back to take a different angle. As soon as I pointed my lens to Mike, I heard him improvised the spoken lyric of what was supposedly an adlib to the song “Hinahanap Hanap Kita”. It was spoken in Tagalog & went something like this “A while ago we met someone… a man. He likes guitars & loves to play blues. His name is Ian. Can we ask Ian Soliva to come on stage?”

I literally froze, with thoughts of locking myself inside the toilet. I did not expect that Mike was going to drag me on stage for the jam that I jokingly asked him a while ago. I stood at the back hoping that he was just messing around & move on with their set but it seemed that it was their intention to have a jam session in the middle of the show. So I carried on with their intentions, climbed on stage, took Mark Escueta’s Epiphone SG, & lived my dream for 3 minutes. Here is the evidence of my bliss. A shameful plug but I had to, this is my blog after all.

My confidence seemed to have catapulted into something that brought a drive from the audience to step up the stage. One by one, while the band was in the middle of a song, the fans went up to have their picture taken with the band members. It didn’t last long until almost half of the people in the Hard Rock Cafe was on the stage. I was amused by how the band handled the situation. They continued playing flawlessly while taking short poses for the cameras. I was shooting  from the crowd when I saw.. my wife!! She too was up on stage smiling!!

It took a while for the people to settle when the band played their last song. Everyone was on high enjoying the final minutes of the show when they announced that they were giving away Mike’s guitar to one ticket holder. And there she was, smiling with devilish grin, the lucky gal who went home with the road-tested stratocaster, courtesy of JB Music Philippines.

I sometmes thought of writing photo blogs, or should I say, “adding words to the shots I post on my blog”, to be a chore & just wish I could publish the photos & send a psychic message to the readers, “this was how it looked like, guess how I shot it, guess this, guess that.”. But it is sometimes unwise to leave a show’s  impression based on the stills. I always wanted to reach out & guide the people browsing my blog how these stories came about, at least in a photographic sense.

The events that took place last August 18, 2012 left me emotionally drained. I had my little share during the marketing process and experienced how much of these bands put in great efforts to survive. Some fans can only see the light and would only care when their idols are up on stage and breaking record sales. What lies beneath is what every fan should know, tremendous efforts & emotions exerted to be recognized and to show the people that there is something more to music than just appreciating it.

  1. SevBJr says:

    for whatever it’s worth, i would vouch for this man about his passion for photography and music. great coverage, support and surprise guesting! kudos idol! =)

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