jump to navigation

The Amazing Sounds of Orgy: Toe in Manila March 25, 2012

Posted by Richard Bolisay in Music.
trackback

“I sat in the dark and thought: There’s no big apocalypse. Just an endless procession of little ones,” Neil Gaiman writes in Signal to Noise. What do we call them then—those will-o’-the-wisps resting on tree branches, flickering and bullying fireflies that pass through needle holes, struggling to escape from cobwebs before landing on our skin? Little apocalypses? Epiphanies, astral projections, out-of-body experiences? What’s sadder than the fleetingness of them all?

Toe playing in Manila is one of those telltale signs that the world is indeed ending, though from the looks of it there’s nothing frightening about the looming possibility. On the contrary, every moment is highlighted by occasional fireworks, every song building up to an explosive midsection and cathartic end, every climax bursting into a blaze. Toe’s stage is located at the center of the venue, and though this setup has its shortcomings, it’s hard not to be impressed by their boldness. With barely a word between songs, Toe members busy themselves with their instruments and give everyone a fantastic time, unleashing an army of sonic spectacles that fly high like a G6.

Photography was not allowed, so I kept my point-and-shoot camera inside my bag for the duration of the show. However, as much as I was enthralled by the music, not to mention the weightlessness of the night rubbing in like a sweet cat’s head, I wanted to steal some keepsakes. The bouncers were on the lookout for people with bulky cameras, spinning their flashlights and hauling those who didn’t take heed out of the venue. All my shots were blurry and out of focus, but didn’t they perfectly capture the experience? The exhilarating cacophony, the rousing change of moods, the invisible cups of strong coffee? These photos were taken a few minutes before the band finally left the stage. I was still shaking.

Sleepwalk Circus opened the night. They were good, but the second band, Encounters with a Yeti, was undeniably better. Tersely put, they were nothing short of amazing. They were as close to a fitting front act that we could ask for. Almost an hour later (the show started at 10 instead of 8) Toe stepped onstage. Every one of them was in the zone. The combination of the three guitars provided textures of indescribable rhythm, the syncopations progressing and flying out to different places. It felt like listening to the songs for the first time, their freshness and rawness cutting through like a hot knife.

The most exceptional sight of the night belonged to Kashikura Takashi: he was banging the drum kit like he was sexing it. He was incredibly tense and vehement, never wavering from start to finish. I bet even the official photographers had a hard time taking a steady shot of him as he performed.

I probably had issues with the stage design and lighting, but they were compensated by the music. Standing close to the stage, I could see how each band member uniquely reacted to the uproar, how their dynamic movements added to the overwhelming energy of the show, how their fingers eagerly twiddled with the guitar strings. It was a night of joyful beauty, and with my ears still ringing several hours later in my bed, I was just happy with these tangible souvenirs:

Come, Armageddon. Come, Armageddon, come.

The set list:

1. “Nike”
2. “I Dance Alone”
3. “I Do Still Wrong”
4. “Tremolo + Delay”
5. “Kodoku no Hatsumei”
6. “Esoteric”
7. “Long Tomorrow”
8. “Last Night”
9. “1/21”
10. “After Image”
11. “Ordinary Days”
12. “Goodbye”

Encore:
13. “Past and Language”
14. “New Sentimentality”

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: