The Club 8 Experience

June 2, 2010

Club 8 visits the Philippines for the first time; performed live in Manila and Cebu

Johan Angergård and Karolina Komstedt during their set at SMX Convention Center. Photo by Niña Rosario Sandejas.

Lilystars Records and Cebu-based Modern Rock Bureau brought in the Swedish indie pop duo of Johan Angergård and Karolina Komstedt, known together as Club 8, to the Philippines for shows to promote The People’s Record, their seventh and latest full-length release under Sweden-based Labrador Records.

Two shows were done by Club 8 in the Philippines, the first at the SMX Convention Center in Manila on May 14, and the second at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City, Cebu on May 15. Together with four session musicians (two of them from the band The Sweet Serenades), Club 8 debuted songs from their latest album — the Philippines as their first stop in their tour of Southeast Asia. Their concert in Manila also marked their first live performance after close to two years of hiatus from the live music scene.

With beginnings in Sweden in the mid-90’s, Club 8 slowly but surely forged the sound for which they are known today—melodic, bittersweet and experimental—the band’s evolution is a marvel in music. Club 8 has charmed their loyal following with their music throughout the years and is renowned the world over, even going so far as being considered to be living legends in indie pop music circles everywhere.

Club 8 arrived early in Manila in the evening of May 12 and were met at the airport by Lilystars Records’ Label Manager and The Camerawalls front man Clementine, with colleague Antonette Maniquis. First stop, welcome dinner at a vegetarian restaurant. Then off to a beach resort in Bataan for Club 8 to rest before the shows.

For Clementine, Club 8 Live in the Philippines is the best way to celebrate Lilystars Records’ 2nd Anniversary as the small indie record label debuted it’s first major concert production with a seminal group from Sweden which perfectly represents the type of music and sensibility Lilystars’ supports.

On May 14, after a brief guesting at Jam 88.3 (the event’s official radio partner), Club 8 arrived at the SMX Convention Center early for the press conference hosted by Universal Records (Club 8’s record distributor in the Philippines) in an intimate round table conversation with a dozen writers and members of the press. The band expressing their all time excitement to visit the Philippine shores since the country is one of the first to release their album locally.

By 7:30 p.m., a line from the concert hall entrance had snaked all the way through to the walkway connecting the SMX Convention Center to the Mall of Asia. According to the Production Team who was very lucky to witness the sound check and rehearsal, they were amazed with Club 8’s professionalism and attention to details. It was very obvious that it was going to be a fantastic show. Shortly before 9:00 p.m., the doors were opened and a significant crowd immediately gathered close to the foot of the stage, more than ready for Club 8.

To further build anticipation, the show was opened with performances by Lilystars artists, The Gentle Isolation, Your Imaginary Friends and Lilystars’ headliner, The Camerawalls. A wonderful surprise was the rondalla emsemble The Fluma Viron – a group of 10 kids performing banduria and octavina (instruments native to our country) that beautifully backed-up the three-song set of The Camerawalls. All three artists performed all-original songs but kept the sets brief so as not to further the wait of the very excited audience.

It was indeed a brilliant night of great music. It was such a joy to see hundreds of fans showing great pleasure and satisfaction as they connect with one of their musical heroes. The songs from the new album are perfect for live performances and Club 8 was generous enough to include a lot of songs from their past album. A few minutes after the encore favorite “Love In December,” Johan and Karolina welcomed excited fans offstage and happily posed for photos and autographed CDs, posters and other merchandise sold at the venue well into the wee hours.

Karolina Komstedt. Photo by Niña Rosario Sandejas.
Johan tinkering with his mini-keys for select songs. Photo by Niña Rosario Sandejas.
A portion of the crowd.
Martin Nordvall of The Sweet Serenades sessioning on bass. Photo by Niña Rosario Sandejas.
Mathias Näslund - another sessionist from The Sweet Serenades backing Johan on guitars. Photo by Niña Rosario Sandejas.
Tom Steffensen on congas and bongos. Photo by Niña Rosario Sandejas.

“Will definitely attend again. The venue, audience, sound system, bands were all great. Hindi stressful and tiring manood.” – Jian Choa

“Thanks a lot for really working hard to arrange live performances of one of our favorite artist. Job well done” – Leny Perez

“Great event. We all enjoyed!” – Republic Tattoo

The following day, bound to Cebu via Philippine Airlines – the event’s official carrier. The show at the Cebu International Convention Center that night was more intimate but was just as enjoyable as the Manila show. As Club 8 vocalist Karolina mentioned in passing, she already felt more relaxed while performing. The Cebu leg was opened by The Camerawalls with Ian Zafra of Sheila and The Insects sessioning on guitars plus local Cebu bands Deanery and The Automatiks.

Lilystars Team and the whole Club 8 entourage then headed straight to Alegre Beach Resort and Spa for a vacation treat. As the band enjoyed their stay, there were small talks of how amazed the band is with the beauty of the beach/resort and about indie music and its growth in the country.

Karolina and session drummer Jonathan Hummelman checking out beach corals at 6am of Sunday after their CICC gig the previous night. "This is f*****-up. One of the best places I've seen," remarked Jonathan. Photo by Clementine.

Club 8 Live in the Philippines truly made a mark in the country’s indie pop scene and was more than up to the audience’s expectations. Organizers of the event in both cities were met with positive feedback regarding Club 8’s performance as well as the band’s kind accommodation of their fans.

Club 8 left the Philippines on May 16 to continue their tour in China. They have signified their interest in returning to the Philippines in the near future to do a series of smaller, pocket shows, possibly in more locations, to be able to reach more followers of their music and see more of the Philippines. In the meantime, Lilystars Records has been receiving several requests to bring artists similar to Club 8 into the country. One can expect more from the label in the near future.

Lilystars Records and Modern Rock Bureau thank its partners: Jam 88.3, Philippine Airlines, Hyatt Hotel and Casino, MYX, Alegre Beach Resort and Spa, UNO Magazine, PONY, SMX Convention Center, Universal Records, Vivian Sarabia Optical, Route 196, Jorge’s Portrait Studio, Vudu, NU107 Cebu and Sandbox.

by Denise Atas

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