Bamboo was AWESOME!

Major props for an awesome band!

After eight years of playing awesome music, Bamboo, one of the best bands of the 2000’s, has disbanded.

After a couple of heartfelt sentences, Bamboo ended their litany to the fans with the epic “This is not the end” line. I believe them. The current Pinoy band circuit is so tight knit that before you know it, you’ll probably spot them doing something. If Bamboo Manalac and Nathan Azarcon can meet up and relive their Rivermaya days with Passage’s Ira Cruz and Vic Mercado (Nathan and Ira were also part of the Karl Roy-led Kapatid band), I’d suppose that we shouldn’t get shocked if we see one or two of them resurfacing in other bands in a span of months.

Surely, Bamboo will be missed. Their music stems from patriotic to romantic. They are recognized as an automatic contender for award-giving bodies. Bamboo Manalac is surely the leader of the band and rightfully so. Even if the band refuses to recognize that they named their band after the singer (according to Ira Cruz, they chose the word bamboo because the plant version of the noun relates to strength and flexibility), without Bamboo, they’ll just be a typical up and coming rock band. He instantly brought credibility to band and the fans finally saw the band as an outlet for their yearnings of the vocalist after he left Rivermaya in 1999. The way he belts out the tunes are mesmerizing and in terms of range, no band vocalist can outdo the awesomeness of his voice. He is also a great person to pair your product with (just ask Nescafe, Smart, Pepsi, Beer na Beer, Colt 45, Head and Shoulders, et. al.).

One of the biggest strengths of the band is that they are not typical rockers. They are smart and they bring in a certain kind of “sauciness” to the band scene. Their sound is rocking but it often breaks off the usual norm. They like to experiment with their instruments and they like to fuse other genres like reggae and jazz in their arrangement. They are also one of the finer bands to use the other facets of recording, as heard in their live and unplugged albums as well as their singles where they revive songs using their style. Their debut album, As the Music Plays, was double platinum-worthy while Light Peace Love, We Stand Alone Together, and Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday were also received well by the public.

I know you didn’t ask for this but here are my Top Ten Bamboo songs.

1 NOYPI / The song is an anthem for every Pacquiao win, every Azkals win, any Charice Glee appearance, and hell... every Noynoy speech! Instantly, they gave out a “supergroup” aura when they rock out the tune. I also think this is the best debut single any band as made since Parokya Ni Edgar started their career with Buloy.

2 HALLELUJAH / Like Noypi, this song dished out rocking awesomeness unlike any other band still existing in their generation. It also got mainstream attention when Eat Bulaga’s Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola started imitating Bamboo. Bamboo was happy with them spoofing them that it led to numerous gigs in Klownz and Zirkoh.

3 WAITING IN VAIN / The song is a famed work by legendary rocker Bob Marley and I believe Bamboo did justice to his song. He quickened the song without making it laughable and his awesome voice made sound-tripping to this extremely enjoyable.

4 SO FAR AWAY / Again, they revive a truly legendary track from Karen Carpenter’s collection of hits and did justice to it. He stayed true to the “heartfelt-ness” of the song and for a brief moment, it made a lot of old people sing along with him. Talk about connecting generations!

5 MR. CLAY / While the tune didn’t became a mainstream hit, it was still great nonetheless. I like it when Bamboo was pronouncing verses on an intense pace! He also cursed. It’s great when OPM bands curse! Anyway, whenever I want to headbang in solitude, I rock out with this song.

6 MASAYA / The song reminded me for some insane reason of Rivermaya’s Panahon na Naman. Sure, Rico Blanco sang the tune but there is some cool and yet reminiscing about the tune. It is also a heartfelt tune and mixing it with a wonderful lyric screams awesomeness.

7 THESE DAYS / This song is jumpy. It also has that feel-good edge and again it has that supergroup aura. Sure, the tune is a hairline away from bordering to “showband-land” but we need to forgive them because of the superb tune. I also like the rap in the end.

8 PROBINSYANA / At the start I thought it was a basic rock tune with a sort of crappy lyric... but then I heard it’s big band version where the trumpets and the other instruments were blaring awesomeness. All of a sudden it made sense that it was a good tune.

9 TATSULOK / I admit that while I liked the way they delivered the song, I think I liked the original more. The folk-ness of the song was taken out and while Bamboo needs to do their own take of the song, there were elements of the song that needs that certain kind of ethnicity. Nonetheless they still did a fine job with the song.

10 MUCH HAS BEEN SAID / Again, a heartfelt tune from Bamboo. With the way they handled Waiting in Vain and So Far Away, doing well with this material is a no-brainer. I think these songs appeal them to the women listeners.

I remember when a buddy told me he witnessed Bamboo and Nathan jam with Rico Blanco and Mark Escueta. Bamboo and Nathan were already in Bamboo then while Rico was still with Mark in Rivermaya (Rico turned solo eventually after having a dispute with the band’s manager). They ended up playing a couple of the band’s greatest hits and he bragged that it was awesome.

See, somewhere along the line, former group members meet and do the songs awesomely as if they never broken up!

Perhaps the same case with the Bamboo band?

We are praying and hoping.

Game over.


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