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Entertainment

Ex Battalion to perform at the Big Dome even without an audience

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star
Ex Battalion to perform at the Big Dome even without an audience
At the Araneta Coliseum, ExB has successfully performed onstage a couple of times. On Dec. 11, however, the 14-member group will grace an empty Big Dome for the first time, to satisfy the clamor of their fans who have been waiting to see them again, albeit only virtually.
STAR / File

When hip-hop group Ex Battalion, colloquially known as ExB, stormed the entertainment scene in 2016, the time they became professionally known after their viral success with 110 million hits on YouTube, they have done many sold-out concerts in major venues.

At the Araneta Coliseum, ExB has successfully performed onstage a couple of times. On Dec.  11, however, the 14-member group will grace an empty Big Dome for the first time, to satisfy the clamor of their fans and followers who have been waiting to see them again, albeit only virtually.

Producers of the major concert, Evoluxion, are Frontrow with its president RS Francisco and CEO Sam Verzosa, both of whom worked with ExB and mounted the show with them.

ExB members are JRoa, Flow-G, Skusta Clee, Honcho, Brando, Emcee Rhen, King Badger, Hudass, Jekkpot, Yuri Dope, Jnskie, Cent, Bullet-D and Eijhayy.

“Nasanay kami talaga na mag-perform na may crowd,” Flow G insisted. “So this time, kailangan maintain ang energy namin, para mabigay ang best performance namin. Para sa amin, talagang bago ito.”

Although Evoluxion is a major production in every way, ExB will have no guests in the concert that will be staged for two-and-a-half hours.

“Wala kaming guests,” Skusta Clee informed. “Ginawa naming sobrang special para sa amin. Ang pinaka-aabangan dito kung paano kami mag-pe-perform sa Araneta at kung paano namin execute ng tama kahit walang crowd.”

Brando added: “First time namin gagawin ang concert na complete kami at sobrang happy namin at nabigyan kami ng chance na magawa itong concert with the help of Frontrow.”

Admirably, Frontrow mounted Evoluxion with ExB “not for profit,” but to support the local entertainment industry. “Para marami rin gumaya at hopefully, tumulong din sa local artists natin,” Sam Verzosa explained. “Not just for hip-hop artists, but for the whole local industry, our performers.”

“Ang pagtulong ng Frontrow hindi lang sa company, charity, hospitals or schools, pati ang artists tulad ng ExB, nandoon ang advocacy ng Frontrow. Ang pagtulong para sa lahat. Since matagal na namin silang kapamilya, sinimulan namin ang pagtulong sa kanila. Susundan pa namin ito ng mas marami, ‘pag naging successful at mas marami pa kaming matutulungan,” he added.

Surprisingly, the band never had any major disagreement when it comes to their musical differences and styles. They easily resolve anything. From the time they started performing in 2012, they’ve had an unbroken chain of support from one another.

“Walang away sa amin,” granted Flow G. “Once may nag-agree na isa, dalawa, tatlo, susunod na ang lahat. So in terms of disagreement, music-wise, we never had any. Isa sa strength ng grupo namin, nag-ko-connect kami agad. We set aside our differences para sa grupo. We don’t prioritize ‘yung mga sariling gusto namin para din sa grupo.”

Skusta Clee added: “Siguro para sa amin, kaya hanggang ngayon, okay kami, nakikinig kami sa bawat isa. Kung meron problema or kailangan ayusin, napapag-usapan agad. Hindi naman maiiwasan ‘yun sa isang grupo, lalo na kapag family kayo, meron talagang ganu’n. Madali namin siyang nagagawan ng paraan.”

Honcho maintained: “Sa music, nakikinig kami sa suggestion ng bawat isa. Kung hindi kami sang-ayon, hindi sarado ang tenga namin sa suggestions. Lahat kami equal. Isa siguro ‘yun sa mga sikreto kung bakit matibay kami. Matibay ang pinag-samahan namin.”

Mounting Evoluxion in the middle of this pandemic was a no-brainer for the concert producers. “Alam natin sa gitna ng pandemic na ‘to, maraming nalulungkot or naapektuhan,” RS said. “In fact, isa na ako doon dahil nagkaroon din ako ng anxiety.”

“Kung anu-ano ang nai-isip ko with these COVID problems,” added he. “Every time nararamdaman ko ang ganu’n, I simply turn on my speaker and play Need You and other songs of ExB like Yearly, which lighten up my mood. Kapag mapanood nila itong concert na ‘to, kahit papaano, makakatulong kami to liven up their spirits at mapasaya sila.”

The producers gave premium to the “true-blue fans” of ExB. There are VVIP tickets – “Atin ang Gabi” – for P35,000 that have an exclusive listening party at the Centennial Ballroom of The Manila Hotel. Fans will get to know the boys, meet and greet them literally, have photos with them, ask them questions face to face and get to know them.

After dinner, they will get into a listening and jamming party – “sound-tripping” – where they will hear unreleased songs of ExB, to come out in 2022 yet. To be given away are ExB masks, jackets, shirts and posters signed by all the members up front.

“Parang may early Christmas party on Dec. 15,” Flow G excitedly said.

The lowest priced ticket costs only P300, so more people can afford to watch even without a big budget. Tickets are available on KTX.ph.

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