The Blast-Off is a music event spearheaded by Sonic Boom Philippines. It features the best of what the Philippines has to offer in music and merchandise. This event has been happening for 6 years now, so it’s basically one of tradition. Twenty bands, a mixture of homegrown talents and international rising stars, joined forces at the Grand Convention Center to sonically blow the minds of all music lovers and concert goers.

Aside from just the bands, there was also a celebration of the arts, in the form of t-shirts and other apparel. It was dubbed “THREAD!Fest”  featuring the creations of several renowned brands. You’ve probably heard of these brands around town. THREAD!Fest had a big line-up with local brands in Nick Automatic, Built By Sonic, TeeDee Hear & Wear, Killapinas, Scars, Markov Clothing, Strawberry , Joints ‘N Cookies, Monster Ink, Schizo, Dopee, and Atomic Industries. It also featured one international brand popular in Indonesia, Peter Says Denim. Coupled with the other sponsors who had booths as well, such as Jack Daniels and Clavel Sneaker Magazine, Sonic Boom Sinulog Blast-Off 2012 was jam-packed and action intense!

I was lucky enough to get free media passes courtesy of ZeroThreeTwo! I got to the venue at around 3:30pm. People were already lining up and buying tickets, but they weren’t letting anybody in just yet. Of course, having a media pass is a whole different story. My friend and I got to sneak past (well, not really sneak past, but you get the picture!) the bouncers and check out the preparations. Booths were in place and brands were setting up their merchandise for display. We got to listen to An Honest Mistake (band from Malaysia, one of the two international acts) soundcheck and they sounded good!

It was around 5 when the festivities went underway. Throngs of people made it, and to no one’s surprise, started lining up at the booth of Nick Automatic. It was safe to say that their shirts would be the first to be sold out. Crazy! But I was looking around at the other booths, and all the other brands were pretty good too. All the booths were offering discounts, stickers, drinks and tons of free stuff! THREAD!Fest ended up being a huge success for all involved, and it’s only going to grow bigger each year the Blast-Off happens.

As for the bands, there was something for everyone. A lot of genres were covered and everyone could take their pick. I’m going to be honest. I didn’t watch all the bands that performed. Some of the bands weren’t exactly my cup of tea, but I did enjoy the musical vibe of everyone jamming along and having a great time.

March The Sky opened up the Blast-Off. They amaze me every time I hear their music. Lots of prog rock in there and the guitars are definitely technical. Drop Out Club and their mix of rock, rap and hip hop made for an interesting listen. Foc Fashion’s music was a mixture of rock, funk and all the chaos in between. The good kind of chaos. Bethany had some good anthemic and alternative rock in their set. Maria Campbell was metal. It was amusing when the vocalist ended up giving a lot of free shirts, but wiped his sweat off before giving it to the crowd. Who’s Next featured John Dinopol of Urbandub on guitar and played a lot of Ska and surf tunes, so that was awesome as well. I personally enjoyed the set of Powerspoonz. A small moshpit formed on the left side of the stage and we got to join in on the moshing! I ended up tripping and falling in the chaos that ensued. There was this huge guy who used WWE maneuvers and throws. It was hilarious to watch. But all in all, no one was hurt, so that was a relief. An Honest Mistake, a band from Malaysia, took the stage and they tried to win over the crowd. It was funny how the crowd was tame, but when they started videotaping, the crowd went wild for a bit. Typical Pinoy! But I enjoyed their music as well, they performed a really tight set. Before they ended their set, they also tried to request for a wall of death. Something I had not come across before. It was basically a mosh pit, but from the left and right sides crashing into each other. It was fun but shortlived. Rocket Rockers, the other international band performing and hailing from Indonesia, also tried to win the crowd over with moderate success. It’s really hard to please the Cebuano crowd! Urbandub took the stage and people were bunched up together like sardines. They performed 4 songs. It was short but sweet. People were singing along and jumping. It was like Grand Con was shaking from an earthquake! The Ambassadors also ended up performing, and they did a stellar set. Punk at its finest with lots of LSS! I was personally excited to watch Typecast. It was a good set, but some technical problems with the microphone and the guitar kind of killed it. Faspitch finished off the show with flying colors. People were tired at this point, but Faspitch performed really well. They still have their chops. I guess it’ll serve as practice when they open up for Four Year Strong in February.

I went home a happy camper. We started at 5 and ended at 3. That’s almost 10 hours of standing, singing, moshing, jumping and headbanging. It dragged on a bit, but it was a really great experience. THREAD!Fest was a huge success and I’m sure it’ll be even bigger next year. Whether you like ska, metal, rock, funk, alternative or anything in between, the bands had something for just about everyone. Sonic Boom ended up with a great event because of the collaborative efforts of all involved. It truly was a great start and blast-off for the Sinulog proper. Catch you all for Sonic Boom Sinulog Blast-Off 2013!


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