SaGuijo’s one of the gig venue that’s very accessible to the public, especially those who are in Makati, it is also the home ground for many OPM bands — may it be an indie band or not. Sn the day, SaGuijo’s just close to the public and would look like a house, but its management has its office functioning for bookings or different transactions for the bar. There’s also a studio where bands can have their rehearsals on the second floor of the ‘house’. On one occasion, we went to the bar around 2pm because we were in the area, the place looks like a normal street in Makati just without the cars passing by, it was literally a dead place in the morning. Just a few houses-like offices were open and a sari-sari store nearby. It’s probably a boring and meaningless place in the morning, but at night it’s completely different.
This is where I first watched a gig back in 2015, so let me tell you my backstory.
I wasn’t a fan of OPM until I listened to my favorite indie band ‘The Ransom Collective’— an indie folk band who happens to be students/graduates from UP. It was during one night where I was
doing acads scrolling on Facebook and saw an article about top 10 OPM bands I should be listening to which my cool friend shared, as a curious pa-cool kid that I am, I checked it out. I stumbled upon their music video for ‘Fools’ which has a nice picture or preview that attracted me into watching it, but with the ‘fast’ internet that I had, I just let it load first in a different tab while it’s playing and continued on scrolling or chatting on Facebook. As I was listening, they sounded like a foreign band to me so i immediately checked the video to see if they’re a foreign band. The night ended with me listening to their songs and chatting with my friend who shared that on Facebook that they’re really nice for an OPM band. Later on, that same friend invited me to watch Cheat’s Album Launch where The Ransom Collective would be playing as well and I instantly said ‘yes’ because I really wanted to watch, as well as experience a gig.
I was anxious during the morning of that gig because I never experienced watching one and I know that it has a more intimate feel. Compared to concerts, gigs has less space because it is held in a relatively small venue and you can be directly in front of the band that you are watching — that could really be awkward!!!! I’m not used to crowded places and as much as possible I want a big personal space, avoiding interactions with people, but, I’ve been warned that gigs could be so crowded that you can feel other people’s body heat. I managed to show myself to my friend and his girlfriend and we went to the gig. The event was said to start by 8pm but we were there before that and I started 30mins after the said time. Music played by 8:45pm due to sound checks and different preparations, I was really surprised because I expected there would be a lot of people already, but I’m not complaining since I’m able to sit on the floor while watching the band that I wanted to see. People were singing along as the band plays and you could also see people moving, shaking or nodding to the music being played. For me, it was really awkward because I don’t know what to do, and I really don’t know the lyrics to most of the songs the band played, so I just nodded a long to the beats that were dropped.
As the night goes deep, more people started to arrive at the place. Considering that it was a Friday, 8pm is not that feasible for people to arrive on time. The gig had a wide range for their target market because the bands that are playing varied as well but nonetheless were good bands too. So I guess, the earlier ones are those of the younger generations since we got more time to prepare and travel early since most classes end up around 3pm – 5pm. The other audience would be from the older age group or say the working class, so most likely their work would end around 5pm – 7pm. Based on my observations before, there’s little to none of people wearing work clothes during gigs so most likely they prefer to go home first to freshen up and leave the things before heading to the gig because that’s what I would do as well on any event not unless it’s really urgent and I don’t want to miss a band — although you could always go to work/school prepared with your essentials for prepping yourself *wink wink*.
My expectations were met as the time approaches to midnight, the place was already jam-packed! By that I meant that people were already sharing sweats inside! The venue had 2 aircons installed inside and it was really fine earlier and chilly, but during Ely Buendia’s (Pupil) set, I can only feel the fan of the aircon hitting my neck but the rest of my body was in so much heat — Imagine you were in a sauna except you’re close to other people’s bodies. People don’t care anymore of the rubbing of our skin, everybody was focused on the music. They expressed their feelings as the bands play, through the means of dancing, singing, jumping, shouting, and whatever they want.
For a first timer, I was doing what others were doing just to show that I belong to the audience. But eventually, I learned to adapt to the feel of the music. I was able to sing, especially in those parts where i really know the lyrics of the music. Most of the times I was mumbling with my words until I get the patterns of their music’s wordplay, but of course I ended up singing parts that had a lot of repetitions. Their music lineup was designed to get the audience’s mood, usually they start with a bang and the end would be a louder bang, they just really know how to rock it out.
I remember not going outside of this gig after each band plays to breath outside because my friends and I wanted to keep our spot near the front to have a nice view. However, gigs were designed to have more intimacy between the bands and the fans, allowing interactions in and out of the stage. At some gigs that I attended after this, I was able to talk to my favorite bands and appreciate them for playing, asking for selfies as a remembrance for me, and in some cases people brought copies of their CDs to have it signed. In return, they also appreciate their audiences for going to their gigs, they get to know their audiences and ask about different things that they might have in common, and also the usual people who attend as well became close friends with them to the point they share food, cigarettes, alcohol as a means of social interaction.
Compared to other gig places, I appreciate SaGuijo’s location because it is in a semi-residential setting. Despite how dead the location was in the morning, it is filled with street vendors as night falls as long as there’s a gig happening. The vendors had no competition in terms of the variant they’re selling — from fishballs, ‘baluts’, peanuts, and sometimes the sari-sari store sells barbecues! I usually don’t eat inside the venue because it’s a bit pricey and I don’t hassle myself of finding a table to eat, instead, I go outside to eat street foods or walk a couple of streets to grab a drink at a nearby 7/11 or eat Ministop’s Fried Chicken.
Most of my family members do not approve of my gig trips primarily because of my safety, especially it was the time where there were a lot of EJK’s happening in the country. Along with safety, they associate gigs with bad habits like using drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes having sex, and going home late. As much as possible, I try to explain my side regarding gigs there might be extremes in the culture, but most gigs that I went to had alcohol and cigarettes but they are meant more for socializing. Gigs usually have free beers as part of the entrance fee and it was a bit normalize to me because I associated gigs to have beers similar to my norm when watching movies, that has to have popcorns. Going home late is unavoidable, especially when the lineup for the gig is ordered in a way that they’ll make you stay — in today’s culture we hate missing out! So instead of my mom shouting ‘Puro ka gig, puro ka gig!! Inuumaga ka na ng uwi!’ at me whenever I go home, I usually ask permission to go to my friend’s house for a sleepover but that has a side trip of going to gigs hehehe.
Quoting Van Liempt et al. (2014) ,
“….rather than considering the nocturnal and diurnal to be opposing states, it is more productive and realistic to develop a relational understanding of these conditions”
Despite having differences, I think day and night shouldn’t be compared but instead be connected. Because our day never ends but it continues and extends upto the night. The night is our escape from the harsh rays brought by the day and for me, Gigs are my way of de-stressing from the hellish week I’ve experienced through music, through the lights that illuminates the dark space, through dance and who would want to to do those when it’s all bright and hot?
those who are brave and confident enough ofc haha!!
Van Liempt, et.al. 2014. Introduction: Geographies of the urban night. In Urban Studies Journal, 407-421. doi: 10.1177/0042098014552933
**Photos are taken by myself otherwise sources are stated