With an event name like Pulp Summer Slam, one has to expect nothing less than hard-hitting riffs and bodies colliding in a circle pit in sync with the music. The metal boys and girls headed straight to Pulp Summer Slam XVI this weekend to see both foreign contemporary bands and local icons come out and play for the annual metal music festival of Pulp Live World.
Despite the immense heat, fans came in dressed to the nines in their black band shirts, ripped jeans, studded denim jackets and their best pairs of sneakers to brave the stomping of the crowd—with some of the ladies and the men sporting heavy eyeliners. Some even went as far as dressing up in eccentric garbs that stole everyone's attention in the open field right before the real scene stealers take the stage. Spotted a couple hours before the show was a group of friends dressed up as the SlipKnot posse, a lad in a gas mask and diapers, and a PSS regular who went by the name, ‘Tenga’—who, true to his name, sported fake elf ears every year at Pulp Summer Slam.
It's easy to get lost in the crowd at Amoranto Stadium but it's easier to lose yourself in the music once the band members step out and start playing the songs you've got on repeat in your playlists. As alternative music buffs, the fervid anticipation for each and every record is a feeling you all know too well but actually being there surrounded by thousands of other fans with the bands we venerated playing the very songs right in front of you—it's surreal. You forget the long queue at the gate, the stench of beer and sweat, and the ruthless, tropical weather.
In the past, bands only start playing at least after 3PM consistently at PSS but there have been some improvements in the Filipino time clock this year. Kjwan—playing for the music fest back to back from last year—opened Pulp Summer Slam 16 for a familiar crowd who welcomed them with friendly jeers and moshing that makes one question whether these guys will last through the next band.
Dissatisfied with the already madcap crowd, Kjwan lead vocalist and actor Marc Abaya taunted the crowd with jesting remarks speckled with profanities, demanding them to get moving and even mimicking those in the back of the crowd who were standing idly. This effectively charmed the crowd who then were swayed to join in this high-energy opening act.
Local hard rock band Razorback, who were also returnees from last year, followed with a charismatic performance. ‘Sala sa araw, sala sa init, sala sa lamig,’ they sung, picturing the unbelievably feverish weather.
Look who's here! Everyone's favorite uncle, Pepe Smith surprised everyone as he joined Red Horse Muziklaban 2015 Champions, Insekto Pares and rocked out with them striking back at the malevolent afternoon sun to prove who can give out the more piping performance. Not to be outdone, Insekto Pares simply cooled the crowd down—that started to whiff hints of ganja—with their chill and melodic sound.
TURNING UP THE HEAT & THE VOLUME
Volumes went absolutely mad for their first-ever performance in our shores and—according to them—the biggest crowd they every played for. The boys from Los Angeles sure knew how to throw one off the wall performance, with Joe Buras of Born of Osiris joining the party in their whole set and joking around about who else wants to get laid.
‘I feel like I'm in Jurassic Park right now.’—Gus Farias, Volumes
Both Joe and Volumes frontman, Gus Farias raged all through-out; urging the frenzied crowd to ‘jump like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’, with Gus climbing on the metal frames of the stage and Joe cutting through the crowd division and passing by the mist-blowing fans while belting out tunes from both Via and No Sleep.
OZ metalcore band, I Killed the Prom Queen massacred the house down with a provoking set that did nothing to pacify the crowd. But everybody lost it when lead guitarist, Jona Weinhofen gave out his notorious daredevil stunt as he climbed on the metal frames of the stage—leaving us all exhilarated.
Here's Jona Weinhofen's regram of Bandwagon's photo of him, climbing up the stage:
Manila, Philippines, you were absolutely spectacular today! Thank you for being patient with us while we had some technical problems at the beginning, and also while I was falling over backwards, and messing up guitar solos, and missing the beginning of a song while I climbed down from the scaffolding. I hope you all had fun, because we sure did 📸@claudia_strife
Protest the Hero and Act of Defiance followed suit with their progressive and thrash metal sounds as the night fell, keeping their Filipino fans high off of booze and heavy music—more than worth the 555 pesos these fans shelled out to go totally berserk once every year.
Fresh from some behind-the-scene antics with their friends from Belphegor and Volumes, Veil of Maya made the crowd bounce with their aggressively catchy djent-ridden tunes.
THE BIG COMEBACK
Everybody was silent for a second before Danny Worsnop bursted out into the same stage for a second time since 2014—appearing with his former band, Asking Alexandria then—and greeted his longtime fans with a warm recognition in a slightly American accent. Danny then introduced We Are Harlot—the supergroup that started out as a side project with Sebastian Bach's former guitarist, Jeff George, and the former members of Silvertide and Revolution Renaissance.
We Are Harlot showed music fans a side of the English singer they never thought they'd ever see: A groovy, toned down yet spirited performance alongside the musical prowess of the George, Agra, and Weaver. Harlots kept fangirls and hard rock enthusiasts alike were in high spirits during their set.
Danny Worsnop wasn't the only one coming back to the P.H. as Lacuna Coil drummer, Ryan Blake Folden was born here and more than thrilled to be returning with the rest of his band from Italy.
These Italians sure know how to start one hell of a show as fireworks cued an explosive performance that got the crowd restless—with the boys and girls head over heels for vocalist Christina Scabbia who shared the stage with her equally co-frontman, Andrea Ferro. They had fans waving flags, moshing to their searing strains.
FOR THE NIGHT IS THE DARK
While some were already heading out for the gates right after Lacuna Coil closed their set, the true death metal fans weren't going to miss Belphegor blaze out in our shores. Not to be outdone by the others, the blackened death metal band fought fire with fire, razing the stage with pyrotechnics then set out to ‘conjure the dead’ with skulls and bones in their mic stands and props—much to their fans' delight.
For the SlapArmy and the rest of the local fans, the night was far from over as they gave Slapshock, Greyhoundz, and Wilabaliw one massive and berserk mosh pit, wrapping up Pulp Summer Slam XVI: Come Out and Play.
While PSS16 turned out to be one sweetly exhausting affair, there were a few things that were definitely amiss in the music fest. One will notice the faulty sound tech that apparently frustrated some of the bands like Veil of Maya. This isn't uncommon to a few other music shows in the Philippines. Although half of the fans locked in hysteria won't even notice this, it can be a major peeve to the performing bands and fussy listeners.
Overall, there's no place we'd rather be to get drenched in beer and sweat at this time of the year than at Amoranto Stadium. See you at the Slam next year!
Pulp Summer Slam is an annual metal festival by Pulp Live World.
GREYHOUNDZ, Slapshock, Kjwan, Razorback, Veil Of Maya and 3 more
Death Metal, post hardcore, Metal, Rock