Thursday, May 4, 2017

White light. White heat. Sandwich at Forage Bar + Kitchen, Marikina

White light. White heat. Sandwich at Forage Bar + Kitchen, Marikina
by rick olivares

“I’m soaked,” croaked Sandwich guitarist Diego Castillo.

It’s a hot and humid Wednesday night. Forage Bar + Kitchen along Gil Fernando Avenue in Marikina looks like one of those trucker’s bars you see in American films. It huge, spacious, and well, there’s this trucker’s garage directly across. The place is packed. Three bands are performing tonight – Chicosci, Mayonnaise, and Sandwich.

However, it is Sandwich that takes the stage first as Chicosci is still missing one member who is stuck in traffic. And it seems just right. After all, it is their first time to perform here. Marasigan and bassist Myrene Academia both live in Marikina; not too far away from Forage. “Are you all from here in Marikina?” asks Marasigan.

Yeahs and cheers provide the answer.

“Well, it’s our first time here and we hope it won’t be the last… so enjoy.”

The band just launched into a resounding kick down the doors performance of “Nahuhulog” from their third album, “Thanks to the Moon’s Gravitational Pull.” Underneath the bright and hot stage lights and another incandescent performance as Sandwich is wont to do, the band feels like they’ve gone through a workout. During the performance, Castillo, dressed in long sleeves that are buttoned all the way to his neck, plays like he is trying to coax one last note out of his guitar.

His shirt is soaking wet by the time it’s over.

To Castillo’s left is lead singer Rayms Marasigan, ever the consummate musician, trying to find the right balance and notes as his rhythm section is too far to his right. To Marasigan’s left is the third guitarist Mong Alcaraz who commiserates with Castillo as the spot directly in front of him is littered with his sweat. It’s too hot that earlier, he took off his baseball cap. “I’m sweating,” he deadpans. An obvious understatement. Aside from the weather, the stage is well lit. The bright lights reveal the beads of sweat that have trickled down the faces of the three guitarists. Incredibly, Academia, playing with her back to the crowd and facing drummer Mike Dizon, looks serene and unperturbed. She’s the only cool cucumber of the bunch as Dizon is struggling with his bass drum moving away from him on a slick carpet. A roadie holds back the drum. Dizon, ever the professional, never misses a beat.

Scheduled for six songs, Sandwich performs eight. It took the audience one song to warm up. By the second song, “Outlaw” from their latest opus, “Debris”, the crowd is into it. When they launch into the crowd favorite “Two Trick Pony” where they cleverly insert lines from the Eraserheads’ classic “Alcohol”, many in the audience break out into song as well.

“That was good,” says a fully appreciative Marasigan to the crowd.

It’s past midnight when the band ends their set with “Sugod” from “Five On the Floor”.

Who doesn’t know the lyrics? Everyone sings along especially during the chorus where the song goes, “Rakenroll hanggang umaga.” It’s the last song but it’s like an adrenaline rush. It’s like hearing Tears for Fear’s classic “Goodnight Song” from the under the radar album, “Elemental” where the band plays endlessly on. In truth, Sandwich could. If Chicosci weren’t on deck, I suspect they would. This is a band with so much megawatt energy that they could light up a darkened place.

And how. “More!” demand some in the crowd. “More!”

“Next time,” smiles Marasigan wiping his brow.

It’s now a hot and humid Thursday morn. And Castillo is positively soaking wet. “That was positively the hottest stage ever!” he says.

White light. White heat. Here at Forage Bar + Kitchen.

S marks the spot. Sandwich was here.

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