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The Day the French Came

November 11, 2011

Denise Atas

October 20, Thursday, 11:00 pm: My phone’s alarm went off, & when I went to check, it said “TAHITI80 @ The Alphaland Tents tomorrow, 9pm. Find ticket!” See, prior to this night, I had been thinking of where I could hit my head over & over if by some chance I found myself ticket-less on the day of the gig. Hurrah for phone alarms!

It’s odd that none of the other Lilystars kids are going to this gig. Oh, well. I’m sure I’ll run into plenty of other people I know. Where there is a Tahiti 80 gig, there will certainly be many very familiar faces.

This Little Pig Went Oui, Oui, Oui: the springy little piggy that held on to my Tahiti 80 ticket right where I could always see it.

TGIF!

October 21, Friday, 9:30 am: “I think I got food poisoning…?”, “I’m hosting a dinner in… Antipolo?”, “I’m picking up my brother who’s arriving from Tahiti…?”, “The dog ate my presentation…?”, “The zombies ate my brains…?” Lame excuse #78 & counting. It’s Friday & I’ll be lucky to get out of here early (read: 7:00 pm). Apparently, my brain has gone off to the Alphaland Tents way ahead of me & I’m left in the office, a semi-dysfunctional android. IDEA! Let’s see how many different Tahiti 80 videos I can watch on You Tube in between work e-mails! That should keep me looking busy until I can actually leave for the gig (yes—I’m doing my Tahiti 80 homework a little too late, but they didn’t say I’m a crammer for nothing).

5:30 pm: Daphne texted—she’s going tonight too! Her friend has an extra ticket! I’m not even at the gig yet & already, there’s Very Familiar Face #1!

8:30 pm: A walkathon to the parking lot at this time is NOT good. Crap! It’s Friday night…! The traffic will be the worst & I’m off southbound…! What if I can’t find parking at Alphaland…?! What if I miss Up Dharma Down open the show…?! Dinner…? What dinner?!

9:00 pm: Well, hello there, Little Miss Worrywart—did you really never think that getting to the Alphaland rooftop from Makati Avenue in 30 minutes IS possible on a Friday night? Doors open at 9:30 so there’s a lot of time to kill. And what about the elevator doors opening at the exact time that Mederic & Pedro (Tahiti 80 members) were walking by? I was going to have a fangirl moment when that guy (or so I thought) whom I was standing next to inside the elevator started OMG-ing & brisk walking in pursuit of the band. Fanboy=1, Fangirl=0. I was dying to laugh!

9:06 pm: The elevator comic relief pacified my unnecessary nerves. This rooftop is perfect…! For throwing oneself off to land (maybe half-alive) down to where vehicles along Edsa speed northbound, that is. Okay—I kid. But seriously, this place is pretty high for just 6 floors up. At a rooftop & with this view [of Edsa & Pasong Tamo], wind this chilly & the purplemaroon sky flashing lightning & signaling rain, all that’s missing is some emo’d-out kid whose been counting down to self-destruction. I think I’ll wait until after Tahiti 80 plays tonight.

Again, I kid.

9:20 pm: Daphne is very lost. She said she’s back in Makati to start over with getting here. Hey, there’s Lourd de Veyra of Radioactive Sago Project checking sound with their sax guy. They’re so loud I can stay out here & still I won’t miss them once they’re playing inside. And then there’s Gang Badoy of RockEd, Niki Flojo of RJ UR 105.9, Cris Ramos of Revolver, Francis Reyes & Niña Rosario, The Itchyworms, models, celebrities, DJs, other musicians, of course, Terno Recordings boss, Toti Dalmacion, who owns this party… & is that Boom Jose & Jasmin Joseph by the drinks stand?!

10:00 pm: I don’t even remember when I last saw those two—who’d have thought that we’d see each other again… & here, of all places? It’s cheese, but really, just how great is it that music literally connects/re-connects people? *hearts* Radioactive Sago’s onstage now & Daphne is still lost.

10:35 pm: Daphne or no Daphne, it’s time to go inside. I’ve already missed out on 2 Up Dharma Down songs & I can hear Armi Millare starting on their third! Coming from the main entrance, the main stage for Tahiti 80 is set at the left, followed by a smaller stage at the other end of the hall for Radioactive Sago Project & Up Dharma Down. There are a lot of people in here… lots of kids, lots of yuppies, lots of everybody. Congratulations on your 10th birthday, Terno! And Daphne’s here, finally! Yeeey!

11:15 pm: So we weren’t very smart & didn’t stand right by the main stage when we had the chance while Dharma was still on at the wing. The moment Tahiti 80’s sound guy got onto the main stage, the entire crowd turned & just like that, there we were behind all the tall people. Crap. Here comes Tahiti 80! Uh-oh. They’re throwing t-shirts to the crowd! Or are those towels? Hahaha!

Xavier (pronounced ‘SAHV-YEY’) Boyer, the curly, willowy vocalist, is very charming (as most vocalists of like bands are)—he’s soft-spoken & speaks to the crowd in that character voice of his, like he’s having a one-on-one conversation. Perhaps it’s the sound system, but I can hardly make out what he’s saying. Could it be that he’s addressing us in his native tongue? Oh, & he multi-tasks—from guitar to mic to keyboard & everything else in between! The French ARE sexy!

A very grainy Xavier Boyer. Photo fail #1.

Pedro, the curly-haired & bearded bassist, obviously loves playing to the crowd—the expression of satisfaction on his face at every scream & cheer they get off the audience prompts him to play silly. So the crowd cheers some more. And there he is now, biting the knob off one of his gadgets. The crowd loves it. There he is again doing crazy faces & interpretative dance moves. The crowd shows its approval. It never ends. How could you not love gigs like this?

An even grainier Pedro Resende. This is why I'm not a photographer.

Mederic, their guitarist, reminds me of Erlend Oye of Kings of Convenience & Hellogoodbye’s Joseph Marro, physically combined. Hmm. That doesn’t come off very good, does it? Anyway, of the 5 guys onstage, he seems to be the quietest one. Yes, he sings, but other than that, he’s just busy with his guitar. He waved!

Then there are the “twins” as I would like to call them—both curly-haired &… wait a minute—they’re all curly-haired! Is that prerequisite to being in this band or any band for that matter? These “twins”, Sylvain & Julien (at least I think that’s what I heard Xavier introduce them as), switch spots & instruments every couple of songs, it’s amazing… both do percussions, drums & keyboards simultaneously, & if you’re just listening & not looking, you can’t tell the difference!

L-R: Mederic, the Twins book-ending the Tahiti 80 sign, Xavier in the middle & Pedro. Merci beaucoup!

The Aftermath

October 22, 12:15 am: I think one million things happened while Tahiti 80 was onstage. Since Daphne, her friend JR [who gave her the ticket] & I stood at the back the entire time, we had to suffer the rowdy ones in silence (I say this with love—I know they were just having a good time). They screamed for “Lizstomania” (a song by Phoenix, another brilliant French band), served a lot of side comments & poked fun at the Frenchmen by pre-empting that they were going to say standard foreigner-in-the-Philippines stuff like “Mabuhey! Last night I tried balut! Mahal kow keyow!”—which Xavier did. Hahaaaaaaa! As the gig wore on, more people loosened up & the kids behind us danced, sang & ruined the proof.

The Proof

You are not going to see that night’s set list. I didn’t take down notes. Not even mental ones. Neither are there great photos from that night as you have seen earlier (Daphne the photographer was without her camera at an event for the first time!). Further to your dismay & to my horror (but not to my surprise), of course I bungled up the audio of a couple of the videos that I managed to take. My valid excuse for this is that I was still ‘road-testing’ my gadget. I thought I was doing okay taking videos only to find out later that most times, I had been blocking the mic, keeping most of the sound out. Those songs are not posted here to save you the trouble of trying to figure out what they are.

Although I understand the value of immortalizing a rare night such as when something like Tahiti 80 is in town, I wouldn’t have taken to that gadget had I not been requested to document this experience. I would have just left that night to be a fun memory until Alzheimer’s or something similar takes me. Unfortunately, I find no pleasure in holding a camera still when I would rather be singing & dancing & jumping up & down. Plus, having to hold your arms still in mid-air for 2 minutes minimum to capture a decent video, in my opinion, is an unnecessary pain to inflict on oneself.

Lesson learned: when off to a Tahiti 80-like gig, always have someone in tow who’s twins with their camera & who has a penchant for documenting things.

And now, may I present proof—the one & only video which I have successfully uploaded to You Tube–& which you will see, is the only video in my account. Apparently, I’m a jinx at things like this. I tried uploading two other videos (“Yellow Butterfly” & “Heartbeat”) & in the process, crashed two desktop computers. Hey–I tried.

Here’s “Made First (Never Forget)” from the album Puzzle, Tahiti 80’s first full-length release (listen for the guy who asked for “Lizstomania” at the end of this video):

Score! They have this in grey too! Want one? E-mail ternorecordings2@gmail.com to inquire if they still have stock available.

Here’s Where the Story Ends

Despite my aching arms after the gig, I was pretty happy. Needless to say, of course I was also left wanting more as many others were that night. In their official website, http://www.tahiti80.com/, Tahiti 80 posted that they’ll be back in Asia soon. A friend mentioned that these boys frequent Thailand, & now that they have met their following in Manila, I’m sure we’re now very much in their radar too! A return is not far from possible. When that happens, I’ll be sure to catch them again.

Follow Tahiti 80 on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/tahiti-80/47875501614

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