Sunday, February 23, 2014

Young Forever: Avril Lavigne Pre-Concert Party

View from above during the Avril Lavigne Pre-Concert Party at Eastwood Citywalk

I'll be 30 in a couple of years and I think I've struggled with the idea of growing up and growing old but recently an old friend has taught me you can grow up but never really grow old. 

I definitely won't be true to myself if I don't recognize Avril Lavigne as one of my musical influences-because she was. 

Like many, I was an angsty teenager once and Avril Lavigne's music was a part of that. Specifically her first two albums, Let Go and Under My Skin. 

So there was that Little Black Star in me and so I was really looking forward to the Avril Lavigne Pre-Concert Party (better go ahead and say it, we didn't go to the concert-due to lack of funds and financial responsibilities, we would have gone if we had complimentary tickets though. I still want to be able to cover concerts regularly, maybe in the future we can cross that one off our bucket list) so going back to the pre-concert party-the energy is always so great and positive when we go to events like these so I knew that this was going to be a super fun party.  

Some of the great prizes that were given away during the event - Proactiv- Green Tea Moisturizer, Gift Certificates from Tokyo Bubble Tea (a personal favorite) and a P1,000 off certificate from Ice Watch! (Guess who will be shopping for an Ice Watch soon? ^_^) In case you guys didn't know Avril is an endorser of Ice Watch :) You can check out their stalls in SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, Trinoma and the Marquee Mall. 

Check out Avril Lavigne in the photo below from her video 'Here's to Never Growing Up' sporting some really cute Ice Watch <3

Avril Lavigne DVDs and CDs were sold at the event. 

Some of the winners during the Pre-Concert Party - Yup! That is a concert ticket you see right there - Odyssey just gives away the coolest prizes! ^_^

A lot of the pre-concert attendees were also dressed in Avril Lavigne inspired outfits - prizes were given out to the best dressed. :) It's always nice to see young fans, some even friends (a big family really) get together to celebrate the love that they share for the same music and inspiration. 

I even saw a mom taking photo of her excited daughter by a standee of Avril Lavigne! That is one cool and super fun mom right there!   

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Event Announcement: The 1975 Night

Every one is going crazy over a different kind of Chocolate and well it's not the edible kind  :P

English alternative band 'The 1975' has become a household name overnight because of their catchy and infectious hit 'Chocolate'. (Check out the Music Video below!)

But these charming young boys from Manchester are more than just an overnight sensation and they have proven this by capturing the hearts of countless fans.  
And they are doing more than just capturing hearts as they are cooking up a storm and getting every one all buzzed up with their upcoming shows in Manila -exclusive at the Ayala Malls. 

Their shows are scheduled for the 28th of March at Market! Market! at 4PM 
and Glorietta at 7PM and the fun does not stop there as they will also be playing on the 29th of March at Trinoma at 4PM and Fairview Terraces at 7PM and is made possible by MMI. 

Buuuuut -- you don't need to wait too long to start singing and dancing to your favorite The 1975 songs becuase Sparks Productions with The 1975 Philippines (@the1975ph) brings to you (drum roll please.....)The 1975 Night! It's a band tribute night where local bands cover your favorite The 1975 songs plus it is also a gathering for The 1975 fans! Which will be very important if you are planning on going to the mall shows, it's always more fun to go in a group of friends so you can jump, cheer, scream, sing and shout all together! 

The 1975 Night will be on March 8, 2014 at Mang Rudy's on Yakal St. (- not Washington :P) at 8:00PM and entrance is only for P150.00! :D    

You can catch amazing performances from local acts Exit to Mexico, Wanderband 2013 finalist idioms and dispositions, Saints, Lupe, The Very First and Shaira Dela Pena. 

And you can also get your 'The 1975' swagger on by pre-ordering these amazing shirts from Shooting Stars Shop

So what are you guys waiting for? Make sure to like Sparks Productions and to click on the GOING on the Event Page here

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane: Book Review

When I read the summary of the book from it's back cover (as I was doing some book 'window' shopping) and I honestly did not know what to expect from the story. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I was thrown into a thrilling adventure of a mysterious world existing within our own.

The story begins with a mundane middle aged man as he makes his way through his childhood home. There is nothing special about this man, he is just like any other adult, dealing with the same problems and concerns that we all do; like "marriage (failed a decade ago, a relationship that had slowly frayed until eventually, as they always seem to, it broke), dating (I wasn't; I was not even sure that I could, not yet), children (all grown up, they have their own lives), work (doing fine, thank you)." 

But beneath this seemingly ordinary man lies a great adventure that chills me to the bone just thinking about it. The unnamed narrator visits a farmhouse he used to visit when he was a child, it is in this farmhouse where he met a young girl Lettie, her mother and grandmother. He goes to the pond at the back of the farmhouse and memories of a forgotten adventure start coming back to him. 

I just love the tattered and ripped details that the pages of the book had. 

It all starts when an opal miner (that rents a room) in the then young boy's home (he is seven years old at this time) commits suicide in his father's car after gambling away all his friends' money. Because of this suicide, a being from another world makes its way into our and starts giving money to people -it's not as fun as it sounds especially when you wake up choking on a coin. 

Our seven-year old protagonist then seeks out the help of Lettie Hempstock (the girl he met in the farm) and her mother and grandmother. 

Lettie takes the boy with her to bind the spirit that is causing all the trouble, Lettie (who appears to be eleven years old) instructs the boy to never let go of her hand. When they confront the 'being'/'spirit' the boy lets go of Lettie's hand for a moment-in surprise and this is when he feels a pain in his foot. 

After vanquishing the spirit, the boy goes home and discovers that there is a hole in the sole of his foot where a worm has lodged itself in. He is able to remove the worm but a part is left inside him. 

The next day, his mother introduces him to Ursula Monkton who is going to look after him and his sister. While the whole family adores Ursula, the narrator of the story doesn't and this is because Ursula is actually the worm that was in his foot and is the same 'spirit' that he and Lettie supposedly bound. Ursula was able to make her way to this world through the boy. 

Monday, February 17, 2014 Revolutionizing OPM as we know it

Ever since that faithful night in 2013, otherwise also known as 'Paramore Night III' Paul and I have been following, covering, blogging and supporting the wonderful and undiscovered and often (unfortunately) trivialized world that is OPM. We've had the honor to meet a lot of talented bands who would give some over rated foreign acts a run for their money when given the chance. 

With our admiration for these local bands comes the desire to want to support them in the difficult, challenging and often fast-paced world that is the music industry. 

Supporting these bands means going to their bar gigs and shows, getting copies of their albums (if they are lucky enough to have a record label backing them up) or getting copies of their EPs (which is either manufactured commercially or hand made by the bands themselves). 

Music from independent OPM bands is not easy to come by, (especially if you want to have them playing in your own playlists, phones, speakers and iTunes) but I have come across a great and amazing group of people who is revolutionizing OPM by making music from our favorite independent OPM bands readily available and the best part? - It is FREE! 

Yup! You read that right - it is for freakin FREE and all you need is an internet connection, which these days is practically considered a need already. makes it possible for you to listen and download tracks from your favorite OPM bands and all you have to do is to register on their website to get started. You can even sign in by using your Facebook account. 

It's pretty easy to navigate through their website from there and it's pretty user friendly too! 

When downloading a song you would just need to watch a short advertisement (like the ones on Youtube) by watching the ad you get to help your favorite OPM band! :) 

Check out the screen cap below!  

After watching the advertisement and after the download is done, the song already opens on your iTunes or whatever music player you have on your computer and another great thing about it is that it downloads with the cover art, artist and song title already! Now this is very important for me since I really take pains and a lot of effort to organize the over 1,700+ songs in my iTunes and make sure that they all have the right information and the cover art of course! :) 

In the screenshots below, I am downloading Lions & Acrobats' EP Points and Perspective. 

The screen shot below is of Trapeze's Karacruz which I also recently downloaded from :) 

Some of my favorite Amplify artists include: Mad Hatter Day, Midnight Meetings, Trapeze, Lions & Acrobats, Imelda, Tonight We Sleep, Flying Ipis, April Morning Skies and so much more if I have more time to go through their website that is :P 

But aside from just getting to know OPM bands, supporting them and downloading their music also has exciting events and prizes so make sure to follow them also on Twitter: @Amplifyph ^_^

We've actually been meaning to work together with Amplify as a blogger/photographer team (that we are) but unfortunately we haven't been able to have that meeting with them :P As you guys know Paul and I have a crazy schedule (since we work the night shift) so while that meeting has not transpired yet; it doesn't mean that I can't express my support for something that I genuinely believe in and that is giving Indie OPM bands a venue for fans to get to know them and their music. 

So make sure to check out and be part of the new OPM revolution! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

All Is Lost Movie Review

All is definitely not lost when it comes to the nominations, awards and praise for this movie which is another award winning movie in the American Survivor genre along with Castaway and 72 Hours

All Is Lost showcases man's perseverance for survival amidst the impossible forces of both nature and circumstance. The movie begins with Robert Redford's nameless character loosing hope and apologizing, saying goodbye to an unknown loved one. Then we are brought back eight days ago, to where it all began. 

Robert Redford (we never know the name of his character throughout the film) wakes up with a start as a floating shipment container hits his ship the Virginia Jean and water starts coming in his boat (think of Titanic beginning when they hit the ice burg) and this of course is the beginning of his insurmountable ordeals. 

The movie has no dialogue which gives more power to Redford's acting and why he deserved all those Best Actor Nominations and his win (in that category) from the New York Critics Circle. 
Most movies even get awards for the script and the screen play but All Is Lost had no dialogue but Redford was still able to deliver a powerful performance which really resonates throughout the film, even without words you know what he's going through and all this just through his great acting!  

Right after the movie. Two thumbs up - just holding a cup of soda from the Director's Club Cinema at the New SM Fashion Hall in SM Megamall. 
Redford gets through one challenge after the next displaying a seaman and a survivor's strength and resiliance. I thought that he was a different kind of "action star" on a league of his own (a different kind  of action star) from his contemporary Liam Neeson's gun wielding, bone breaking, threatening-over-the-phone Taken character. 

Redford's sea-savy character definitely walked the walk as he knew the different sailor knots and even knew how to navigate the seas using a sextant (and I actually had to Google that since I had no idea what it was!) and he seemed to know all the equipment inside his boat. I guess if you would be sailing in the middle of the ocean you would know a thing or two (preferably a lot) about sailing. 

One thing that I really don't get about American Survivor films is - why would you do -anything potentially dangerous and life threatening?! (sailing, rock climbing, biking etc) alone?! 

I really can't comprehend taking up anything that could be remotely dangerous (if not life threatening) as a hobby. Can you tell with all the movies/tv series that I watch, the books that I read and the music that I listen to that I am a home buddy?). Although I have friends who have taken up mountain climbing as a hobby I would not be joining them any time soon. 

The whole sail around the world alone or travelling in an RV or on a boat as an idea of a good time or even retirement is a concept that is very foreign to us Filipinos (so let's just keep our limbs and leave it to the foreign films). 

Our grand parents or retired parents are mostly home buddies who are happy taking care of their grand children.  

Okay enough with the personal thoughts on the dangerous side of things and on with the movie review. Well can I just interject that I'm so glad that I was in the comfort of the La-Z-y boy I was sitting on in the new Director's Club Cinema at the new Fashion Hall (blog post here) because I would surely not want to be where Robert Redford was. I would not last a minute there! 

Aside from the great acting, the musical score of the movie was also amazing and I couldn't blame the producers for wanting to focus on the musical score of the movie which was done so well it really does move you and tugs at your heart which is probably by the movie won for Best Musical Score in a Motion Picture during the Golden Globes and it's also up for the same nomination for the Oscars. 

Brand New Director's Club at the SM Fashion Hall!

A panoramic shot of the new SM Director's Club.

There were two things that I was excited about with the special screening of All Is Lost and these were: 

1) The movie itself which has garnered raves and nomination nods from different respected award giving bodies (more on that in the movie review) and second reason was that --

2) the screening was in the spanking-brand new Director's Club at the new SM Fashion Hall in SM Megamall! ^___^ 

Paul and I have been lucky enough to experience the Director's Club in the Mall of Asia during the Naruto: Road to Ninja special advanced screening. You can read on that hereWhile we were in awe of the Director's Club here the new one at the SM Fashion Hall (right across the IMAX and right in front of the Skating Rink) really was a whole new level - it's even BIGGER and BETTER! 

There were more seats in the new Director's Club but it still maintains the private and exclusive feel which the Director's Club offers and which is just one of the things that makes the Director's Club experience so unique. 

Right outside the Director's Club! :) 

Of course any movie experience is not complete without something to munch on and the Director's Club even has it's own food and drink counter which sells various foods and drinks (at reasonable prices) that would definitely go well with the movie you're watching. 

The La-Z-boys are super comfortable and can be adjusted to your preferred angle (with a foot rest too!) with a touch of the button, speaking of buttons, there was also a button per table which you can press to get assistance from the very friendly staff at SM Director's Club! Wait-what? There's a table? Let me back up just a bit, for each pair of La-Z-boys there is a table in between where you can put your food and drinks, there are even cup holders! Which I appreciate so much since it is challenging to juggle popcorn and food while watching movies.   
Two thumbs up for All is Lost - movie review in another blog post :) 

Paul was just so happy that there was a place where you can store your bags underneath the table. If you know us for some time now, you would bear witness to the huge bags that we bring with us everywhere, every day. 

And of course the Director's Club had it's own comfort room inside! ^_^

Each La-Z-boy had a 'head cover' of sorts like the one you see on top :) 

More to see at the brand new SM Fashion Hall! 

Of course there was the great big screen, the booming surround system completing that great cinematic experience! Make sure to check out the brand new Director's Club at the new SM Fashion Hall in SM Megamall! If you have a movie that you have been looking forward to see then watch it here-it will definitely elevate that movie experience and make it more memorable! ^_^ 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Trying out 'tricot'

'It's all about the music with tricot'
Even before it was considered okay (if not normal) to listen to foreign music (besides English)  I have always listened to Japanese music (both anime and J-pop/Japanese pop). So it's really no surprise that I'm raving about a new Japanese band but the thing is, 'tricot' is not your typical Japanese band. 

First of they don't look like your typical Japanese band. Sporting loose shorts (I was aghast) in their "Ochanse su" video they don't follow the typical formula of pretty girls with long bleached hair in short skirts and high socks. For one thing they (3 girls and 1 guy) are anything but your poster bishoujo or bishonen. It really is about the music with these guys. 

Although a bit lacking in the 'centerfold criteria' they make it up with their raw talent which is my second point as to why tricot is not your typical Japanese band. 

They are genuinely talented musicians and let's be honest not all acts out there are really talented when it comes to writing their own music and coming out with technically impressive songs as opposed to having pop hit makers produce candy coated commercial songs.  

Japanese or not they are genuinely talented musicians. tricot showcases great technicality in their guitar playing which is a bit reminiscent of another genuinely talented Japanese band Toe. 

tricot has been described as having a "Math Rock" genre Woah! Those were two words I never expected to be seen together-ever. For the sake of expanding our musical knowledge Math Rock is a genre which is rock based and is described as being experimental rock and indie rock. It is made up and characterized by complex rhythmic structures to get a better idea of what math rock is, you can check out tricot's song 'Ochan-se-su' below. 

Formed in Kyoto in September of 2011, the band first started with the three ladies Ikkyu Nakajima (guitars/vocals), Motoko "Motifour" Kida (guitars,backing vocals) and Hiromi "hirohiro" Sagane (bass/backing vocals) and current male drummer Kazutaka Komaji who joined in May of 2011. 

As if the discovery of a new Japanese band is not good news enough but the fact that (Drum roll please....) Terno Recordings the record label of some of our favorite OPM artists (Yes. We listen to Japanese music but are not ignorant of the genuine talent that our OPM artists have also, you can do both you know) Up Dharma Down, Pulso and Maude have posted a super teaser post on Facebook for tricot fans in the Philippines. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fox Philippines gives an even better The Walking Dead experience!

February marks the annual (obliged) celebration of "love" through the commercially (and economically) driven occasion known as Valentines Day but not everything is about hearts and chocolates since February also marks the return of: 'The Walking Dead' from its mid season hiatus.

So while the rest of humanity is off in a heart-shaped wonderland filled with roses and chocolates an entire following of 'The Walking Dead' fans will be eagerly awaiting the return of their favorite zombie franchise. So if the zombie apocalypse does happen you already know the people who will be ahead in the game :p 

So why am I blogging about The Walking Dead's return? Well this blog post is to commemorate and acknowledge the efforts of Fox Philippines to bring the latest episode to your TVs (and if you have a big ass TV then it makes for a great TV watching experience) closer to the US telecast! So close in fact that it is parallel to the US telecast! This means that you get to watch the latest episode while it is hot and fresh from the oven (so to speak)!   

You can watch The Walking Dead on Fox Philippines as early as Monday 11:35 AM, February 10 (and if you're not familiar with time zones this is Sunday evening in the US) and catch the prime time telecast at 8:55 PM on Monday and if you've developed the Saturday habit of watching the latest episode- you can still relive that practice with friends and families (the family that screams together while watching zombies stays together) :P  

I won't pretend to be something I'm not by saying that I never watched anything online by streaming or downloading it. I remember watching TV series that I follow online by streaming them and probably anyone of us can say that they did the same one point.  

Which is why I believe that in these fast paced times we should all adapt in order to stay relevant and compete with the infinite possibilities which the internet represents. So kudos to Fox Philippines for bringing their A game and making our 'The Walking Dead' experience an even better one. 

You can watch The Walking Dead on Fox Philippines, Channel 50 on Sky Cable on Monday, February 10 as early as 11:35 AM and catch the prime time telecast on Monday at 8:55 PM and on Saturdays at 8:55 PM.