Mmm…. Controversy

Esteemed local music critic Luis Katigbak wrote an incendiary article on the validity of the Bamboo NU Rock awards (heh) after seeing the nominations for the event this year. The Manila Bulletin site had the article uploaded, but it has since been taken off (normal for the site), so here’s a copy courtesy of Drip’s multiply site. Let’s go through the article:

“Another music industry insider came up with a hypothetical scenario: what if he was asked to present one of the awards that Angulo was nominated for, and on the night itself, they actually won? He said that in that case, he would grab the podium, lean into the mic, and scream, “What’s the matter with you people? Don’t you have ears?””

That would be nice.

“Marcus is listed as a performer but he’s not nominated for anything,” another observed. (It is thought by many that former Eraserhead Marcus Adoro’s first album as Markus Highway—Behold, Rejoice! Surfernando is Here Nah!—is one of the absolute best of the year.)

I am not as staunch of a fan of Adoro’s release as others are, but this is an interesting exclusion, especially considering some of the stuff that got in. Also, the nominees seem to be much fewer now. What happened to the long list of nominations I saw a month ago? If you check the current polls, there are essentially a handful of bands grabbing the all the nods. Those Drip nominations (more on this later) aren’t there anymore either.

“Dude! They should have nominated you guys!” This statement was directed at the lead singer of an insanely talented band that just released their fourth—and quite possibly best—album this year, well within the period covered by the Awards. This is a band that has been giving us songs that stick in your head and break your heart for over a decade now; they make world-class songwriting seem effortless. “We never get nominated!” the singer said, with a big, bitter-free smile. “Not even when we first came out. We didn’t even get nominated for Best New Artist.” (It often seems that almost any band with a little buzz can get nominated for Best New Artist.)

Hello Ciudad. I’ll listen to your album once I find a copy.

And then there’s Drip. One can argue that they aren’t covered by the Rock Awards, since they’re an electronic act and not easily classifiable according to genre. But first of all, lack of guitars and the usual band set-up aside, Drip does rock—harder than a lot of bands, to be honest, even if half the group looks like they’re checking their email while they’re performing. And second, they were recognized as eligible, as their manager Mark Laccay informed us earlier this year. But they only made it into one category: for music video, of all things. Never mind that the music on their album Identity Theft blows most of these other nominees away.

I wonder what happened to the other nominations, as I do recall Drip getting in for more than one category. Considering the Out of Body Special got in for more than one category, I don’t think NU can use the “not rock” card as an excuse.

Let’s be realistic. The business of running a radio station is still a business, and the possibility that an awards show run by a station chooses its nominees and winners based on corporate sponsors and major label muscle over actual merit shouldn’t be a shocker. But there’s a fine balance to be struck here: if an awards show loses its credibility, there’s no reason for the fans—and, consequently, the sponsors—to stick around either.

It’s just a shame that in one of the best years for local music in recent memory, a year where we were treated to album after album of enthusiasm-stoking excellence, one of the longest-running awards shows—on its 15th installment this year—should miss an opportunity to celebrate this outburst of talents. But, anyway, in these days of downloads, music blogs and sites, YouTube videos, regular production nights, and word-of-mouth powered by mobile communication and so forth, it is truer than ever that we don’t need the usual radio stations and rock awards to discover the music that matters.

Thank goodness for the internet. Otherwise I might be the one listening to LS Forever and whatever drivel they’re playing in those multiplying masa stations these days.


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