Jam 'n' Bop

Music is more than just listening. It is an experience. Get up. Enjoy the rhythm. Sing it out. Dance. Jam 'n' Bop.

Hillsong United Live in Manila 2014

I am so grateful to have attended Hillsong United's Welcome Zion Tour live in Manila last June 11th. Before I knew my favorite bands: Switchfoot and Tenth Avenue North, it was Hillsong United I listened to every time back in the day. I also remember watching their More Than Life DVD (back when Marty Sampson was still the worship leader) too many times. I was a church kid, so their music was inescapable to me because we sang it all the time in our church. And I'm glad my local church introduced me to this amazing band. Ever since, I haven't stopped listening to Hillsong United and using their songs as my praise and worship.

Enough with the introduction, I can't wait to relive the worshipful night that is June 11th. I couldn't thank God enough for allowing Hillsong United to schedule a second night show in Manila. I thought I wouldn't be able to see them because the tickets are easily sold out. I haven't experienced such ticket shortage before even with other artists who have more chart-topping songs and are generally well-known than them. It's that moment I realized how Hillsong United touched the hearts of the Filipino people.

Hillsong United Live in Manila Joel Houston, Jad Gillies, Taya Smith

Before the concert/worship night

I was with a friend and we lined up outside Smart Araneta Coliseum past 4PM knowing the gates will open at 5PM. When the gates opened, we lined up again in the entrance. The security personnel cuts the line in two and we are now in front of the second line. While waiting, Hillsong United are doing a sound check. Hearing the instrumental and vocal practice added up to the excitement of everybody outside.

Matt Crocker Hillsong United Live in Manila

The curtains finally opened!!! We rushed in front of the stage. We were just behind two people. Our spot was really good or should I say THE BEST!

Relentless / Go / Break Free

Matt Crocker opened the setlist with Relentless. As soon as the electro-pop intro played, everyone was on their feet jumping -- yes, including me. JD with his megaphone followed up with Go then Break Free. Manila was turned into God's great dance floor at that very moment. It was beautiful -- a glimpse of what it will be like in Heaven.

Taya Smith Hillsong United Live in Manila 2014

Hosanna / From The Inside Out

Hillsong United classic songs: Hosanna and From The Inside Out were sang next by Taya Smith and Joel Houston respectively. After Hosanna, Joel sent a shout out that Philippines is their favorite and God's favorite as well! And he reminded us why we are there: We will have fun, sing and dance, but it means nothing if it's not all about the Name above all names, the name of Jesus. "The best song in the world can't change your life or save you, only Jesus can change your life," Joel added.

Joel Houston Hillsong United Live in Manila 2014

Scandal of Grace / Stay and Wait / Love is War

After the classics, they played worship songs from their latest album supporting the tour, Zion. Scandal of Grace is my favorite from the album and was looking forward to it.

After Love is War, Joel Houston shared a message, "If you truly believe in what you're singing tonight, we live like it. How you view God dictates everything in your life."

Joel Houston of Hillsong United Live in Manila 2014


I love Aftermath. It's too honest and visual. Sometimes we fail to realize how ugly and gory the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was, but in the ugliness and bloodiness of it all, we found our hope in our Savior and Lord's death and resurrection. During the outro of the song, they flashed Colossians 1:16-20 on the screen.

Hillsong United Aftermath Live in Manila 2014

Freedom is Here / Shout Unto God

Everybody was jumping and fist pumping during this combination. "Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. We lift Your name up, we lift Your name up."

Joel Houston and Jad Gillies Live in Manila 2014

Mighty To Save

I'm pretty sure everyone, including the ones who missed Hillsong United's live concert in Manila this 2014, would know they performed Mighty To Save. It was the highlight of the night especially when Joel asked to shut down the lights and the crowd to raise their phone's light up during the shine-Your-light-and-let-the-whole-world-see part. It was a lovely scene.

Mighty To Save Hillsong United Live in Manila 2014

All I Need Is You / Nothing Like Your Love

All I Need Is You is one of my all time favorite songs from Hillsong United. With arms held high, we declare all we need is Him. I remembered Mike Donehey's message about raising our arms up during worship. It is not the position of the super-spiritual or the ones who got it all together. It is the position of the weak, the needy -- of a little kid who needs to be picked up by his dad. 

Afterwards, Jad quoted Romans 8:31-39 before leading the worship with Nothing Like Your Love.


Oceans is quickly becoming a Hillsong United classic. Taya led the worship song. I'd like to point out how natural her angelic voice was. It just really showed in this song.

Taya Smith Oceans Live in Manila 2014

The Stand / With Everything

With the worshipful atmosphere Oceans set, The Stand and With Everything followed. I proved to myself how great Filipinos are in singing. The crowd sounded great during With Everything's "oh whoa oh oh" part. After the two songs, they left the stage and shut down the lights. After a minute, the crowd sang the "oh whoa oh oh" part in chorus one more time (suggesting the guys to come back on stage).

Your Name High

Yes, they did come back on stage. JD sang Your Name High and yeah, more jumping and awkward dancing!!! 

JD Hillsong United Live in Manila 2014

Wake / Alive

They also sang two songs from Hillsong Young & Free. I can't stop jumping and dancing awkwardly with my backpack on (yup! bad decision, I know). I think I literally danced during Alive from beginning to end. It was so much fun and refreshing.

Taya Smith, Joel Houston, Jad Gillies Manila 2014

One Way

Since we kept insisting them to play One Way, they granted our request and the Christian Filipino youth's anthem closed the set. 

Hillsong United's concert/worship night last June 11 truly blessed and refreshed me. It was more than just watching a performance. It was not a typical concert. It was a successful worship event not lifting up an artist's name, a brand or a song, but Jesus Christ.

soundtrack of spider-man is the best among superhero movies

After watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I realized how Spider-man has the best love story of all the superheroes (be it Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson). Okay, it was given that we see Peter's love interest a lot because she always gets in the way of his missions or, for whatever reason, his arch-enemies always abduct her (this is evident especially in Tobey's Spider-man series). But behind the mask, we got glimpses of Peter's relationship as an ordinary young adult with his girlfriend away from the "great power and great responsibility." That could be the reason why he is the most likable and relatable superhero of our time. He is as genuine as someone you might know when he is not web slinging.

Spider-man doesn't just have the best love story, but he also has the best soundtrack to go with it. His movies were bold in placing love songs in the background when other superhero movies were too afraid to put any song at all (I'm talking about songs with lyrics). Let's take a look at the best love songs that Spidey introduced to us.

Song For Zula - Phosphorescent

Maybe you were like me, soon after watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2, you tried to look for this song. These type of song inclusions in the movie magnify how Peter's love story is a vital part of Spider-Man.

Gone, Gone, Gone  - Phillip Phillips

Spoiler alert! This song was used in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I just think that the "Like a drum, baby, don't stop beating" line was foreshadowing something haha.

'Til Kingdom Come - Coldplay

I love how Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man incorporated music in the series. They really provide a scene where it's nothing but the music. Like this scene when Peter just skateboards and practice swinging in a garage while 'Til Kingdom Come was playing.

Signal Fire - Snow Patrol

The line "No, I don't wanna wait forever" was the perfect song to close Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. It seems like Peter just can't have Mary Jane in that series. There's always something that holds their relationship back.

Vindicated - Dashboard Confessional

Vindicated is the best Spider-Man song and rightfully it was used in the best Spider-Man movie. The song perfectly captured Peter's hopelessness because of Mary Jane's engagement in Spider-Man 2. He let her slip away and marry her fiance. But in the end, his "slight hope" ended up coming true when Mary Jane in her wedding dress was at his doorstep. She ran away from her wedding to tell him how much she loved him.

I surely missed out couple of songs to prove my point that Spider-Man has the best soundtrack of all superhero movies. Let me know what songs I had left out in the comments section below.

Bazooka Rocks is the very first indoor rock festival in the Philippines. It is on its third year now and will be held on August 31st this year at the SMX Convention Center. The partial lineup for Bazooka Rocks 3 was announced today during Pulp Summer Slam 14.

Here is the partial and official Bazooka Rocks 3 Lineup:

Saves The Day

Senses Fail

We Are The In Crowd

The Summer Set

Taking Back Sunday

The Used

You Me At Six

Will update soon as the complete lineup is announced.

hillsong united manila 2 night concert

Last March 19, Becca Music announced Hillsong United's Manila concert on June 13th, 2014. The tickets were not immediately available after the announcement, but they were open for reservations. I emailed for reservation on March 20th. I waited for confirmation, but I did not get any. I was surprised when the tickets were already available for purchase to the public on April 10th and I still didn't get any confirmation about my reservation when I made it just a day after the announcement. The only tickets that were available when released were for General Admission section. The tickets were literally sold like hotcakes. In less than a week, Araneta coliseum was sold out. 

Since I don't have tickets, I joined online requests asking for a second night. The promoters stayed silent until last night, my friend tagged me on a Facebook post. It was a picture of the band announcing that they will have a second night. Maybe after some closed door negotiations, it happened! Hillsong United's 2014 Manila concert will have a second night! They will perform here in the Philippines on June 11th and 13th (13th was the sole original date). I was finally contacted regarding my reservation. I can buy tickets three days before they make the tickets available to the public but too bad, I haven't checked my emails the past three days. 

I was really happy about this news. I rushed to Smart Araneta Coliseum's ticket booth after our church anniversary service last Sunday. When I get there, I overheard the girl in front of the line. She couldn't buy a ticket because it's sold out. Then, I saw Hillsong United concert tickets status flashed in the screen and I saw the words SOLDOUT! I panicked. Not again. I looked closely to the the monitor until it appears again. Apparently, only the Upper Box A and B are the ones sold out. Praise God! I was aiming for a VIP ticket. I asked the cashier for two VIPs and she informed that the section is a standing room only. The transaction went smoothly and I finally held the tickets in my hand looking at it like it was some golden prize. Thank You!

I can't wait to worship with this band. May they be an instrument for God to move.

car radio twenty one pilots review

twenty one pilots rocked the MTV Movie Awards yesterday with their powerful performance of Car Radio. They wore their heart out and introduced their brand of music when they opened the show. I am pleased that MTV is still not done presenting their music to more listeners. Last year, the duo was featured in MTV Push. While MTV Push barely helped their popularity, the MTV Movie Awards is doing wonders for them. The song entered iTunes daily top 100 and will surely debut in Billboard Hot 100 when the tracking period is over. This will be their first song to be in US’s main chart containing all genres.

The mixture of rock, hip hop, piano-driven pop, electronic and folk style of twenty one pilots sets them apart from all the other bands around. Couple with that brilliant storytelling, lyrical depth and emotion, the band is just in another level even though they have just released their label debut album, Vessel.

Car Radio is the most fascinating song I have heard in the past few years. It started off with Tyler talk-rapping with a light accompaniment of keyboard and drums. As the song progresses, the instrumental became fuller and no first time listener could have prepared for the explosive techno-pop breakdown tied up with Tyler's screamo in the end. The sound is not the only praiseworthy here. The lyrical content is mind blowing: "Faith is to be awake / And to be awake is for us to think / And for us to think is to be alive / And I will try with every rhyme / To come across like I am dying / To let you know you need to try to think." The vocals is powerful and compelling, adding weight to the sensitivity.

I have formulated this thought that maybe the world is not yet ready for twenty one pilots just like they were not ready with label mates, Paramore and fun.'s first albums back then. We know both bands went big with their second albums, RIOT! and Some Nights. I thought this is how it will turn out for them too, but it seems like Vessel will bring it on for twenty one pilots.

image courtesy of Real Bear Media
OneRepublic Love Runs Out review

Counting Stars has surprisingly become OneRepublic's biggest hit after Apologize. Now, the challenge is to choose the right follow-up single. It will be the deciding factor if they will keep or kill the momentum going for them. With the sound of their latest single, Love Runs Out, it is clear they are keeping it.

Love Runs Out was supposed to be the lead single for Native but Ryan can't figure out a chorus for it so it ended up not being on the album. A year after the album's release, they are re-releasing it with this new track.

The Native vibe is recognizable in Love Runs Out. It has the edginess of Counting Stars and the instant appeal and memorability of Something I Need. Thinking about its sound, I think OneRepublic didn't really intend the album to be represented by electronic pop rock songs: Feel Again and If I Lose Myself. They wanted the experimental ones, but because the planned lead single was not finished, they went for the safe choice. It backfired on them when these radio-friendly singles failed to become big hits and the unconventional single choice was the one that became successful. I'm glad the public made Counting Stars a huge hit which led us to Love Runs Out seeing the light of day.

The first lines of the song will make you hooked with its brilliant rhyming and melody: "I'll be your light, your match, your burning sun / I'll be the bright and black that's making you run." The verses help build up the emotion leading to the explosive hook that will surely invade the airwaves. Ryan Tedder's vocals sounded aggressive than ever before which complimented the ambitious production.

Nowadays, the general listeners' taste is eclectic. Just check the current top 10 in iTunes and you will see all of the genre represented (you will even see that Despicable Me song at #1). This is a time to bring something new to the table. OneRepublic definitely did with Love Runs Out. Now, I am eagerly anticipating what sound they will incorporate for the fourth album.

What are your thoughts on Love Runs Out? Feel free to use the comment box below.
ed sheeran sing review

Title: SING
Artist: Ed Sheeran
Album: x

Ed Sheeran, what happened?!? He was one of the most interesting artists to come out from the UK in 2011 with a solid debut album. The gentleness and peaceful atmosphere that + brought us was refreshing compared to emerging British rock and indie bands back then. Now, he is leaving that style and going for something more mainstream. SING, his comeback single, was produced by Pharell -- the guy who is in every #1 songs (Get Lucky, Blurred Lines and Happy) and his influence in this new single is clearly audible. Pharell is a great artist and producer but I am skeptical about his collaboration with Sheeran. The sound of SING can easily be compared to Justin Timberlake especially when Ed is using his falsetto. The originality in his artistry is being masked by the production that is making him sound just like other pop artists.

SING will surely win him a larger audience because of its mainstream appeal. I just hope this style doesn't represent x in its entirety. Ed can surely rap and be fun but he is at his best when he's sensitive and introspective.

image courtesy of Billboard
i will wait mumford & sons

I've shared before that Mumford & Sons is the reason how I got into folk music. But I haven't told the story how I got into Mumford & Sons. Like my post yesterday, it's because one of my favorite bands loved them. Ruben Juarez of Tenth Avenue North tweeted how he loves I Will Wait. I listened to the song and was surprised to discover that folk music can be so much fun. Afterwards, I listened to their Grammy awarded Album of the Year, Babel. I loved it a lot. I bought a physical copy of it the next day.

Mumford & Sons' songwriting has depth and color that is not just entertaining to listen to but insightful as well. They don't give away what the meaning of the song upfront. I have to dig deeper, most of the times, what they are singing about. By doing so, I can relate to their songs with my own personal story.

terraplane sun get me golden

Switchfoot shared their Fading West Spring Tour pre-show playlist. It's amazing to have a glimpse of what your favorite band loves to listen to. I am not familiar with a lot of the songs included in the playlist which is pretty cool. That way I get to discover new artists and new songs. And I did. I am currently loving Get Me Golden by Terraplane Sun.

I gotta plan in the palm of my hand to get me rollin
I gotta plan in the palm of my hand to get me golden

The same playlist is the reason I appreciate Lorde's Team as well. I think I should listen to the whole playlist more often. It collectively sends out summer vibe.

the 1975 matthew healy live trinoma manila

Confession time: I have no idea who The 1975 was back in February. It's only after I saw my Facebook friend posted Girls that I came to know about them. I got quickly addicted to the song. I know they will have a mall tour here in the Philippines this March which was free (same promoter as The Relient K show) so I wasted no time listening to their album.

the 1975 matthew healy live in trinoma manila

The 1975 debut record is solid. It was groovy. It makes me want to dance every time I listen to it. I instantly became a fan.

I'm happy my friend got me a ticket for The 1975 show in Trinoma a week before the show. He told me that those are the last tickets and there are others who failed to claim theirs.

the 1975 live in trinoma manila 2014

The 1975 concert I went to was held last Saturday in Trinoma mall. I arrived at 4 PM and was surprised to see people already crowding around the activity center. At 5 PM, they let us enter the venue. The band arrived an hour later, but the show still started at 7 PM. The venue was jam-packed. They opened with their self-titled song, The 1975 (that's something new, all I know was self-titled album haha).

the 1975 live in manila 2014

The crowd surely know their lyrics. We all sang along to each of the songs and yes, we sang in British accent: "But she cahn't be what you need if she's seventeen. They're just garls. They're just garls."

the 1975 manila 2014
the 1975 live at trinoma manila 2014

The best moments of the show were during the performances of Girls, Chocolate and Sex. Everyone was dancing and fist pumping. I recorded the chorus of Girls. Watch it below:

I also recorded Settle Down since it's one of my favorite tracks off The 1975.

I enjoyed the show so much. The 1975 are awesome performers. Matthew Healy's vocals sounded as good as it was in CD. I'm glad they announced their plans of coming back here in the Philippines even before they left. I will be surely looking forward to that.