The order of the night for Fiesto Bandido: kill the rock guitar and party the hell out into space. Or at least that's what happened.
The armor-and-facepaint-clad Fiesto—more commonly known as Rico Blanco—launched his new album "Galactik Fiestamatik" on the night of September 5 at the Teatrino, Greenhills to a crowd of friends, peers and fans. All guests were asked to come in "fiestamatik" headgear, and those who didn't were given their own.
No one was to be spared from Fiesto's electro-tribal assault.
Synths and G.I. sheets
The musical madman armed himself with a drum-and-lyre brigade, ably supported by synthesizers and loops courtesy of himself and Mayonnaise bass player Poch Villalon. As they started the evening with "Burado" (off "Fiestamatik") Blanco introduced his new persona and showed the crowd that he really meant business.
With business, he meant exploring new territory and taking his fans along for the ride. After all, the album was recorded in a manner unlike all his previous efforts: no conventional drum kits, no guitars, no BASS guitars, NONE of the instruments used in conventional rock recordings. Instead, he used his trusty old synths, recorded individual percussion instruments, even adding found material (G.I. Sheets, cardboard, pots and pans literally) for texture.
"Although they were lying around," Blanco/Fiesto explains, "I didn't use any of the instruments that I, or most bands, would use in recordings."
How to rock audiences without a guitar
The live setup as seen in the launch was even more challenging: how on earth can anyone rock the socks off the audiences without, say, a guitar? Blanco eschewed all that for a primal setup: percussion instruments all over the place. After all, you can't get any more primal than that. Factor in local flavor by way of Ati-Atihan, and you have a modern Filipino street party (this time by way of Fiesto).
As Blanco gave the Teatrino audience more performances off the album such as the intimate "Lipat Bahay," and his aggressive call to action "Sayaw." He also did a medley of his old Rivermaya hits ("Liwanag Sa Dilim," "Hinahanap-Hanap Kita") rearranged to suit the new format. He also threw in new performances of "Yugto" and "Your Universe" that was as brilliant literally as the song itself was.
Emphasis on performance, yes. This seems to be Rico's new tack: bring back the "show" element to the live concert experience. Ably supported by lighting director Shari Villa-Synes, the event presented a Rico Blanco upping his game. It's not just about his music, but about everything a show is meant to be. Lighting, choreography, the works. With people getting bored with live gigs and settling for downloads, this seemed to be the Fiestamatik Wizard's answer.
'Stop talking, start listening'
The night would not be complete without the first single ("This one's for the press") "Amats," the performance of which people might have already seen in "Party Pilipinas" recently. Only this time it was done with full theatrical conviction.
Before Blanco ended the night, he declared, "There has been a lot of talk lately about music. It's time we stop talking and start listening." As soon as he said this he sang the last song of the night, his treatise on modern Filipino music, "Ngayon."
And with that, the Galactik Fiestamatik experience ended. For now. But as Fiesto himself promised, "You'll see more in the future."