Walking in a music Wanderland
Jovan Cerda (The Philippine Star) - May 21, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Where can you find an open field full of floral headbanded hipsters, revelers with feather headdresses, camera-armed scenesters and hardcore independent music enthusiasts?

You may answer Laneway or Coachella, but if you were at Circuit Makati last Saturday, you most probably would think about Wanderland.

The first of its kind in the Philippines, Karpos Multimedia Inc.'s Wanderland Music and Arts Festival brought to Manila some of the biggest names in the independent rock music scene, to the delight of fans who previously had to go abroad to watch their favorite bands or sulk at home and content themselves with sad livestreams.

On its inaugural year, Filipino bands Taken by Cars, Pulso, She's Only Sixteen and Yolanda Moon kicked off the music festival, shaping up to become a formidable launch pad for up-and-coming local talents.

Australian indie pop band Colour Coding followed suit, notwithstanding a probable jet lag from arriving fresh from the airport.

"We could not have had a better time and hopefully we will be able to come back to see you all again one day soon. For the mean time, keep an eye out for new music," the two-man band composed of cousins Chris Holland and Tim Commandeur said on its official Facebook page.

Another band from Australasia, Auckland-based Avalanche City, joined in on the music revelry, giving the festival a dose of good old folk music. At this point, people started gathering en masse in front of the performers, unperturbed by humongous deafening speakers hanging on both sides of the stage.

Tully on Tully, yet another band from down under, took the stage just as the sun was about to go down. Umbrellas were shut, sunblocks were kept and eyeglasses were folded as the festive spirit descended among revelers who wandered the field like free-range chickens in search of munchies, drinks, celebrities or hipster friends.

The excitement went a notch higher when the award-winning local band Up Dharma Down took the limelight, dishing out eclectic hits that range from the I-wanna-dance-so-hard to the this-song-gives-me-so-much-feelings spectrum.

Emotions were high as American alternative rock band Nada Surf took the stage, evoking a nostalgic vibe with Inside of Love and Always Love, among others. It was a pretty hot night in the literal sense, but Matthew Caws and company didn't let excessive sweat get in the way of their performance.

If there is one band, though, which delivered the goods as if it was a farewell act, it had to be Neon Trees. Tyler Glenn's infectious quirkiness hit the audience quite hard: winding the microphone cord on his neck, throwing his boots and socks at the audience, splashing water on the crowd and of course, body surfing just because he could.

Neon Trees's explosive repertoire was already perfect to cap off the entire night, but The Temper Trap reminded everyone it could only get better.

A technical difficulty in the middle of the band's Science of Fear performance prompted Dougy Mandagi to stop and repeat the song from the beginning, but nobody gave a damn and the crowd just cheered them on. The band capped the night with the electric performance of Sweet Disposition, ending the festival along with bursts of confetti and an awestruck audience who wouldn't stop until the night was over.

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