It’s a trip down memory lane for Smiths & New Wave fans
by rick olivares
Memory lane for over a hundred Generation Xers led last Friday night to a small retro music bar along Visayas Avenue called Nomixx Retro Grille.
On a rain swept night, idiosyncratic but achingly beautiful songs that first emanated from Manchester, England, wafted from this small music bar.
It was “Acoustic New Wave Night” featuring the Camerawalls’ Clem Castro and Dead Pop Stars’ Rain Paggao performing mostly songs from legendary Mancunian band, the Smiths. And every one in attendance last night tapped their feet, nodded their heads, smiled and sang along to the songs that defined their youth.
The first song the duo performed was “Girlfriend in a Coma” one of their last singles from the Smith’s fourth and final album, “Strangeways Here We Come”. The song, which is about the potential death of a loved one; is dark and gloomy but arranged with a country-esque looping jangle that is trademark Smiths. Incongruous and yet perfect.
Extrapolated Paggao during the break between the two sets, “You long for the era you grew up in especially if it’s been a while since you’ve heard or even played those songs. It’s like going to Mass. You don’t just celebrate Mass, you remember it. The community, the show it’s like a time machine. Hence, Acoustic New Wave Night.”
“The Smiths’ songs are the full package. You fall in love with the melody. Then you listen to the lyrics and it makes you fall in love with it even more. If you listen or probe deeper, you will understand the sarcastic and introverted lyrics of Morrissey. And as a musician, ang sarap gitarahin yung music ni Johnny Marr. Layered. Simple but complicated in a way because he does so much. Mahirap pero ang sarap.”
"The Smiths," thought Castro, "wrote some beautiful but bittersweet songs. Even in their career, they make for great study considering what they all went through. I can identify with that."
While the duo interspersed the Smiths-dominated set list with hits from James, Modern English, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, and the Lotus Eaters to name a few, it was the songs of the Smiths that the crowd sang aloud lustily.
At one point, Castro asked one of the fans to sing along to Modern English’s “Melt with You” after which former Put3ska and Juan Pablo Dream founder and current Flippin’ Soul Stompers frontman Bing Austria to jam to the Colourfield’s “Thinking of You.”
Said one fan who refused to be named for this interview, “Yes, there are great songs. And they will forever be a part of my life. I can’t recall the last time I sang along to them. I think I will look for my old records – if I still have them. If not, on Spotify na lang.”
1. Girlfriend In A Coma
2. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
4. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
5. Girl Afraid
6. William It Was Really Nothing
7. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
8. How Soon Is Now?
9. This Charming Man
10. Bigmouth Strikes Again
11. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
13. The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
14. Everyday Is Like Sunday
1. Pure – Lightning Seeds
2. German Girl – The Lotus Eaters
3. First Picture Of You – The Lotus Eaters
4. Inside Out – Mighty Lemon Drops
5. Reach – The Pale Fountains
6. Thinking Of You – The Colourfields (sung by Bing Austria)
7. Bring On The Dancing Horses – Echo & The Bunnymen
8. Seven Seas – Echo & The Bunnymen
9. The Killing Moon – Echo & The Bunnymen
10. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
11. Happy Hour – The Housemartins
12. Love Vigilantes – New Order
13. Bringing Home The Ashes – The Wild Swans
14. Say Something – James