INFLUENCE NIGHT

April 7, 2015


Why's everybody breaking up?

We were fifteen and slightly punch-drunk from the joy of being angsty teenagers when we first met Urbandub. They were---and still are---the pride and joy of Cebu, the Giant Sound of the South. Spoiler alert: here's where I start waxing nostalgic, because they were simply the best. I danced to First of Summer on my junior prom. I cried to Endless A Silent Whisper when a loved one died. I secretly resented wanting to have a No Ordinary Love from the college boy who'd broken my heart. Even though the then-teen me was a tad bit melodramatic, Urbandub was part of a huge chunk of my life. And now they have just announced that they were breaking up. I wish it wasn't right after Zayn Malik left One Direction. Too many breakups, too short time for my heart to recuperate.


Fast forward several years later and my cousin Mike and I are on a train ripping across the heart of Manila, hundreds of miles away from home. We used to share the same room in Cebu but she's now based in New York. Our destination? 70s Bistro in Quezon City where Urbandub is playing their famed Influence Night. This would be our first gig in ages. These days, my teenage band years have been forgotten, long traded for Taylor Swift and Beyonce (and One Direction #sorrynotsorry) and I've surprisingly embraced them with loving arms. Mike's even trying to make me love--no, give a chance--to Kanye, but I couldn't seem to bother. 

In more ways than one, Influence Night felt like a homecoming, a journey back to our roots.


There's a tiny queue at the door of 70's Bistro. We were given stickers and stamps. It was a tiny, intimate place and I loved it. A little island nerd like me shouldn't have belonged there but I found the dim lights and the feedback from sound check reassuring. Mike and I weaseled our way to the very front where we invented some friends, and we sat right where I could throw myself at Gabby Alipe's feet. And I could have. If I weren't so busy fangirling over Russell Manaloto, who was playing bass for Lalay Lim that night. Yes, I could be embarrassing when in the presence of guitar-slinging people.



It doesn't take long to hype the crowd up. The entire setlist was from their Influence album, thus the name Influence Night. I wanted to cry. Like every Urbandub gig, I felt so, so alive. The set begins and we scream and bob our heads. The guitars are perfect. The drums are clean and wild and they're trying to chase my heartbeat. Something ignites in my bones and for the first time in a long time, my pop songs are forgotten (sorry, Harry) and there is only the band in front of me, playing favorites lke Soul Searching and Sailing. I'm surprised I still know all the words. Even without the familiar lone female face onstage---my favorite person, Lalay Lim-- Urbandub is still flawless.



A small part of me is sad that they have to go on their separate ways, but it was inevitable. They were all growing up. They were becoming parents! So it was all natural for them to move on to the next chapter of their lives. But it's still a tad bit sad, especially when I look back to Influence Night and tell myself we'll never have that moment ever again. That there won't be an Embrace Night, or Under Southern Lights Night. But that's just me being dramatic. A bigger part of me is happy that even if they had to go and grow up, they have left a mark in the music industry and, corny as it sounds, in the hearts of many a Cebuano who love great music.


Live long and prosper, Urbandub! God bless you in all your future endeavors. x






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