There is nothing quite like Manila’s independent music scene. Bands and productions that build from the ground up, strangers turned colleagues turned friends turned bandmates. It’s a close-knit circle of long nights and San Miguel beer. For those who learned to love live music that way, it’s hard to feel home in L.A.’s nightly musical overchoice. That is, except for last Friday night, March 16th, when almost all of young Filipino music-lovers based in the Los Angeles County area turned up at Mr. T’s Bowl in Highland Park. People were chatting excitably, freely speaking in native Filipino to strangers, something not easily done in these situations but there they were, mingling. Because they all knew what they came for: Taken By Cars, on the L.A. stop of their Abduction Tour 2012.
Taken By Cars is the first Philippine-based band to ever play in the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. They said they came straight from Austin to Mr. T’s, but whether they were tired or not, the crowd didn’t notice. It’s pleasing to note how much the band has grown and improved since their Endings of A New Kind gig days I’d gone to watch in Manila. Pleasing, and maybe even privileged, since for some of the attendees, it was their first time to even watch an indie Filipino band. Everyone agreed on the same thing though. It was a rare slice of home, and also the first of hopefully more productions in the future that bring Manila’s vibe and energy Stateside.