Tacloban Rock Scene: A rock band reunites (at least for a night’s gig)

Being a former band member during my high school, college & early post-college days, I was so into the rock-jazz band scene until I found the “new” directions in the music world too bland and unexciting to my liking and taste. Truth to say, personally for me, that is,  the last exciting development I really liked was the new directions and sound then being set by Sting (who had left Police and gone solo) and by Tears for Fears (that was soooo long ago). And of course, I have always been a great fan of ageless rock-jazz Steely Dan!

The craving for a new sound remain unfulfilled hence what were we to do except to fall prey to the nostalgia trips? We had a 60’s retro band, Past Forward (Beatles, Spiral Starecase) which progressed to become a little rock-jazzy albeit kinda light (Doobie Brothers) and bossa-nova (of the Sergio Mendes genre long before Siti re-introduced it back) with a few hard rock classics of the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Rolling Stones thrown in.

The advent of  internet and mp3 came with it a musical explosion with all imaginable musical genres mutating and branching out into all directions. From new wave to world/earth to alternative music.

And the “toogs-toogs” (from the heavy bass drum beat characteristic of house and disco music) and the videoke revolutions took center stage making most Filipinos Frank Sinatra clones and in turn, My Way, the karaoke national anthem.


For the newer generations, what was one to follow or like given all these musical varieties and brands readily available in the supermarket? The new generations couldn’t fail to go back and notice the Beatles and other rock legends. Reggae was finally recognized long after the death of its major mover, wailer Bob Marley. And of course there were those who wrote original home-grown music, never mind if it sounded like a Beatles refrain or a Pink Floyd or Pearl Jam rift.

In Tacloban, the local rock band scene was similarly exploding. Suddenly, there were several bands sprouting all over. When we produced and held a Nostalgia Rock Concert in 1994, we had to set aside a separate schedule for the young groups owing to the fact that more than 20 groups had signed up! We had to limit each group to do 2-3 songs at the most!

Among the notables in the late 90’s that got noticed was a seminal group incongruously named LostSemenReunion.

Playing what they call inTENSIFYING rOCK, LostSemenReunion is composed of  vibrant, exciting Tacloban artists who have managed to gather a big following with their exhilarating live performances and dynamite recordings. Their music mix is a lethal and baneful concoction of funk, punk, heavy rock and Bagsik styles.

Formed in 1997, the band is composed of Riza Makabenta (vocals), Dandee Grafil (guitars), Simon Rellesiva (bass) and Wawie Cabelin (drums & percussions). While the group claims they haven’t disbanded yet, members have each gone on to do their own stuff – Riza is playing for Julio’s Acoustic, Dandee is currently based in Metro-Manila playing for Playphonics and Pasipara, Simon is with Bambu Spliff also based in MM, while Wawie plays in Tacloban with a showband, “Fairplay.”

It was thus with a bang that met us in Twenty-Ten when the group and its original line-up decided to have a reunion gig. Last Wednesday, January 06, 2007 at Kamalyan’s at the Tacloban Astrodome.

I felt young that night. Ha ha! 😛

And no, they haven’t disbanded yet. 😉

(l-r) LostSemenReunion: Simon Rellesiva, Riza Makabenta, Dandee Grafil & Wawie Cabelin

More photos at the gallery and slideshow: http://gerryruiz.callezaragosa.com/p255694399

~ by gerryruiz on 8 January 2010.

3 Responses to “Tacloban Rock Scene: A rock band reunites (at least for a night’s gig)”

  1. Tacloban music should be sustained and music bars like Kamalyan’s should be supported. Nice work, Tito Ger.

  2. yo! bros, i met u guys about a month and a half ago. my name is andy garcia i was hanging out with jerby at the dome getting drunk with some of u guys. i am in seattle, washington. just thinking of u guys; miss the philippines.

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