I almost regretted going out last night.
We don’t have a Volt-In this week because Charity is out of the country and Lai is tied up at work, as usual. However, last Wednesday I received an SMS from someone totally unexpected: guitar maestro Perf de Castro (of Rivermaya/Tri-Axis/FrancisM fame), who’s known in Pinoy band circles as one of the best Pinoy guitarists ever. I had the privilege of knowing him personally during my bandstalker days and actually worked with him as “road manager” for a couple of his experimental bands before he moved to the US of A some two-three years ago. He’s back in town to promote his latest solo CD of classical guitar music – yes, the rock guitarist has turned classical; actually, he’s been like that even before he left for the US – and the reason for the SMS was to inform us about his gigs at Eastwood (Thursday) and Serendra (Friday). Since I don’t have anything to do on Friday, I decided to check it out, for old times’ sake.
However, I was dead tired from a week of travelling to our faraway clients (for our team had the most “unfortunate” fate of being assigned at four agencies which are geographically far away from each other) + I had worried about traffic and heavy rains on a Friday night without my own transportation + the gig is in Makati at 7:00pm and it’s already 5:30 and I’m still at my client’s office in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. I had a bout of indecisiveness until the very last minute, when my teammates dropped me off just before the freeway exit and a bus going towards EDSA happened to pass by. So off I went to Makati even if I know that I’m gonna be hella late.
I arrived in Ayala at promptly 7:00pm; I still have to take a cab going to Serendra (for I totally don’t know how to get there using public transport as I usually go there aboard Charity’s car + Serendra is a “sosyal” place, meaning only rich and feeling-rich people go there so there’s no way I’m going there aboard a PUJ ), so off I went to the taxi bay. Which, at that time, has a loooooong line of waiting passengers and no taxi cabs. To make matters worse, it rained really hard. In the Philippines, when it rains, there’s sure to be a traffic jam. I think I sorta predicted my destiny last night (see above) . I sent an SMS to Atsushi the Crazy Japanese Dude who’s already there at the venue to ask if the show started on time, and he said it did. At that point, I had resolved to the fact that I’m totally going to miss it, and started blaming myself for not listening to my gut feel. I could have just stayed home and got some much-needed sleep instead, ya know?
Anyway, long story short, I got to Serendra at 10 minutes to 8:00. I went straight to A Different Bookstore thinking I’ll just say ‘hi!’ to Perf and maybe chitchat with Atsushi a bit before plunging back to Friday night traffic again. When I got inside the bookstore, the show was still ongoing (I was able to catch the last 2 songs) at the 2nd floor. I just decided to wait for the show to finish and pretended to check out the books at the ground floor, when what I’m really doing was listening to the sound of sweet 10-string guitar music emanating from upstairs.
The show finally ended, and I couldn’t help but giggle when I heard the host say, “ladies and gentlemen, Perfecto de Castro!” At that point, I knew this was going to be a surreal night. He may be “Perfecto” to the A-B crowd, but he’s still good ol’ Pekto to me. I went upstairs and scanned the crowd for familiar faces. The first one I saw was Atsushi, who was looking very yuppie in a white long-sleeved polo shirt and slacks. I couldn’t resist telling him that he looks like a yuppie, and he was like, “I AM a yuppie.” Take note, this guy used to wear bicycle chains as fashion accessories on a daily basis. He then pointed me to Perf, who was wearing an almost-identical white shirt and slacks ensemble as Sushi, and was being surrounded by the alta-sosyedad asking for his autograph.
Talk about major upgrade. Most of his former autograph-seekers were punkilitos in requisite black shirts and torn jeans and hair which screams, “I need shampoo and conditioner!” Now, he’s got society matrons and girls with colegiala accents asking him to sign his CD.
I managed to tear him away from his new “fans” to have some small talk, and his first line to me was: “Kumusta na? Wala na yung blog mo ah.” (How are you? Your blog is gone.) I was like… huh? My blog is alive and well, thank you. But then, he followed it up with “puro telenovela na” (now, it has nothing but telenovelas), and I instantly had an “omigad, I’ve just been outed!” moment, something I haven’t felt for the past two-plus years of being away from the rock band scene.
More people approached Perf, so I went back to Atsushi, who instantly showed – well, flaunted is more like it – to me his new Sony 15x optical zoom digicam which he got in Japan for more than half the PH selling price. He then asked, “what’s your new camera?” Sushi is like that whenever we meet. It’s either, “is that a new phone?” or “do you have a new cam?” It stemmed from the fact that there was a period in the past where I changed phones or cameras every three months. Anyway, I pointed at my K-800i and said, “this is my new cam” . Sushi: “what phone is that?” Me: “a CyberShot phone”. Sushi: “there’s a CyberShot phone???” I guess he felt like my new toy outshadowed his new toy, coz he shot back with “well, mine’s got 15x zoom”. To which I said, “that’s a camera, man, mine’s a phone.”
Suddenly, Sushi said, “hey, your hair is nice. Where did you get that done?” When did he start noticing women’s hair?? And “where did you get that done?” Where did that come from? First, Perf’s got sosyalera fans. Then, Sushi was noticing women’s hair. What is this, Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Except instead of aliens in pods, we have rockstars turning into metrosexual yuppies.
Later on, while I was catching up with The Dawn’s former road manager Alvin R. (who has also turned corporate – he’s now a real estate agent), I spotted the two former rock guitarists chatting and I couldn’t resist taking a pic. Who would have thought that these two:
…looked like this three years ago, when I was still managing them as guitarists for SPaM and Mah’tiggahz?
But then again, who am I to talk. Instead of my usual bandstalker outfit of tee-shirt, jeans, Converse Chuck Taylors and messenger bag, I went to Perf’s gig last night wearing a girly blouse and high heels, toting a fuschia pink purse.