A fantastic four
SENSES WORKING OVERTIME - Luis Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2014 - 12:00am

I’m writing this on the eve of the first night of FebFest 2014, but by the time you read it, Warpaint and Mogwai will have already played—and, presumably, rocked our heads off—and we’ll be looking forward, headlessly, to the second installment, on February 20, again at the Metrotent Convention Center in Pasig City, this time featuring The National and Youth Lagoon.

It’s a great lineup, to be honest. We’re at a point now, apparently, where organizers have realized that they can bring over foreign bands who aren’t necessarily the biggest, most common-denominator acts around, and still do well without having to fill stadiums or charge in the neighborhood of P20K for tickets. Nothing against the household names, but it’s nice to see a roster of acts that are still in their prime, and still doing exciting, possibly even unexpected things— acts that perhaps you didn’t grow up with, especially in the case of the appropriately-named Youth Lagoon. Though some of them have been around a while, you would never have heard them on a radio station with laugh tracks and irritating catchphrases that made you want to kill yourself. Furthermore—and more importantly—these four main acts have all come out with recent and incredibly well-received albums (in the case of Warpaint and Mogwai, just this 2014, in fact).

The National has arguably the most devoted Philippine fanbase in this lineup—I have friends who booked flights to Singapore in 2011 to watch them play live, who were anticipating the sound of Matt Berninger’s sepulchral and oddly sexual voice reverberating in the pits of their stomachs from within touching, or at least stone’s-throw, distance. (And who were, of course, bitterly disappointed when that particular gig was canceled due to tsunami.)

There are those of us who remember Mogwai from the mid-90s, who never imagined that we would be witnessing their particular brand of mind-expanding post-rock here, live, in our city. Youth Lagoon is the newest of these acts, and I expect their atmospheric, electronic explorations will be quite memorable. Perhaps the act I’m looking forward to the most, however, aside from The National, is Warpaint, who I expect to deliver an emotional, riveting, incendiary set.

We talked to Nico Bacani, the head of Random Minds, who will be bringing these acts here: “FebFest 2014 planning started last year, when we saw a gap in the musical calendar here in Manila. It was right after a successful show of ours, The xx Live in Manila. We felt there was a lack of this type of music actually the whole year out, and we wanted to make a landmark event in the first quarter of each year to kickstart the fans of indie music. So FebFest 2014 came about.” On the selection of acts: “We wanted a mix of indie rock, indietronic and trippy music. And we drooled over the fact that we could get The National and Mogwai to headline.”

Here’s looking forward to February 20 — and another array of interesting acts next year.

*  *  *

The opening acts for FebFest 2014 are Eyedress and Buke & Gase. A portion of the proceeds shall go to the Philippine Red Cross for continued relief efforts for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

ACTS EYEDRESS AND BUKE MATT BERNINGER METROTENT CONVENTION CENTER NATIONAL AND MOGWAI NATIONAL AND YOUTH LAGOON NICO BACANI PASIG CITY WARPAINT AND MOGWAI YOUTH LAGOON
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