You only live once. So when an opportunity is staring you in the face, take it. That was my attitude when I watched Death Cab For Cutie last August, and then again last weekend, when I got to watch the New York indietronic band Plus/Minus play their first-ever gigs in Manila.
All of a sudden I am flying in a plane
My friend Mench works with TriNoma, and she had asked me a few months ago if I knew a foreign band they could bring in. I immediately said, “PLUS MINUS!!!”, because I knew they wanted to play here but just needed more support. And support they got – a few months later, I was driving to TriNoma (two hours away), getting lost on the way (of course), and found myself in the front row waiting for +/-.
When the band arrived, they walked back and forth right in front of us, mingling with the crowd of indie fans. “This can’t be right,” I told Jovan and Kathy, who were also as starstruck as me. “They’re not supposed to be walking around like mere mortals.” The mere mortal facade quickly faded once they got onstage. They soundchecked with what happened to be my current favorite song, “Steal the Blueprints” – and as soon as they started, I was on my feet running to the side, to stand with the members of Ang Bandang Shirley (who were also standing with mouths agape).
+/- did not disappoint; in fact, they exceeded ALL my expectations. Their TriNoma set was short and sweet; they played my beautiful new discoveries “Snowblind” and “Making the Horse Drink”, but I really went wild with my old favorites “Megalomaniac” and “One Day You’ll Be There” (when I saw them play those chord stops live and in perfect time, I knew I could die happy). I watched this all on my feet, jumping and dancing in the rain in front of the stage with Kathy and Jovan.
Then it was time for the Meet and Greet – Mench had given me special passes, and before I knew it, they formed the Meet and Greet line right where I was standing: so I was first in line! Yes, embarrassing fan girl, anyone? But now was not the time to chicken out. The security guard told me to go up onstage, and suddenly I found myself standing in front of the godlike trio that was +/-.
They looked at me expectantly.
“Hi, I’m Luna,” I said, shaking all their hands. They introduced themselves.
“This is so weird,” I told them. “I’m such a big fan, this is so weird.”
“Thanks for watching us! Do you live around here?”
“No, I live two hours away.”
“Are you watching us tonight?”
“I can’t,” I said. “But I’m watching you guys tomorrow.”
“What’s your name again?” James asked. “Luna?”
“That’s my daughter’s name,” said Patrick, smiling.
The photographer finished setting up, and took our picture together.
“It was so nice to meet you all,” I said, shaking their hands again.
“Come say hi tomorrow,” said Chris.
And I did 😉
Here is someday, we’ll find some way
The next day found me at mag:net High Street, to watch +/- again. This gig was special: Versus, an older band with shared members from +/-, had their own set; and +/- played TWO sets! As it was their last time to play in Manila, they really went all out – and so did we. Kathy, Jovan, and I were there right in front of the stage this time, and the place was packed, so we defended our space furiously. Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up with Versus, so I couldn’t relate when everyone started going wild (all I knew of theirs were “Blades of Grass” and “Double Suicide,” both of which they played :). But during the Versus set, +/- drummer Chris Deaner sat on the amplifier where I was leaning. I struggled forever thinking of what to say to him, and instead decided to take a sly picture. Which he caught, of course, and we laughed, and I said, “I was the first girl in the Meet and Greet yesterday.”
“I remember,” he said, and smiled. WOOHOO!
Then it was +/-‘s turn. They did practically ALL my favorites: “Leap Year”, “Trapped Under Ice Floes”, “Ventriloquist”, “The Important Thing Is To Love”, “Fadeout”, and more. (Too bad they didn’t do “Cutting Out” or “Thrown Into The Fire”.) Unlike TriNoma, this felt more like a rock concert, with us jumping up and down and stepping on each other’s toes, everything sweaty and loud.
I also got to appreciate each musician’s ability more. James’s voice is pure silk – it flies out of his mouth and straight into your ear, so when he croons, “You feel able, you feel stable, you feel all right,” you believe him. Pat’s voice is just as great, even more so when he starts singing with James in unison. And Chris – well, he’s a monster on the drums. He is now my favorite drummer.
Take me out – I’m no longer scared
But the clincher, for me, was at the last song of the second set. Like yesterday, they ended with “Queen of Detroit”, but this time, Pat invited people onstage to dance. On the left side, I saw Quark, Marie, Mikey, Cholle, and the rest of our indie friends jump up onstage. I begged Kathy and Jovan to go – “This is it!!!” I screamed – and at first they were scared, but I don’t know if I pushed them or pulled them, but somehow we all ended up onstage.
And then all hell broke loose! Jumping, trying to avoid each other, trying to avoid tripping on the cables and gear. Kathy and Selena took turns singing into the microphone and they were giving it to me but I didn’t want to, I just wanted to jump up and down and scream. (There is video of this horrible travesty, but I am not showing it to any of you.) And all the while, +/- sang and rocked and jumped with us, and it was the greatest song ever.
And then it was over, and I went home, and that was the end of it all.
Thank you, Mench and Cholle, for making this happen! Thank you, +/-, for being really nice (and awesome)! And really, if anyone had told me six months ago that I would have watched you guys live, shaken your hands, and danced on stage with you, I would tell them to go eff themselves 🙂