Rockin' - to The - Angst - and - Pain - of - Saosin

7:21 PM Ahid Arrusmani 2 Comments


I first became aware of Saosin’s existence some time in 2003, when a song of theirs was played on the radio. What got my attention was the name more than the song, because although the song was not bad, it wasn’t exactly my kind of music. So it isn’t surprising that Saosin has played little part in my life’s soundtrack for the past few years. Of course, I have a few memories that involve songs of theirs – mainly Seven Years and Voices, because, let’s face it – these are the ones that got serious airplay.


Thanks to an unexpected twist of fate, Saosin was the first foreign act I saw this year. Lest you think I see a lot of foreign acts, I don’t. Which is why I make it a point to try and see as many as I can when they do find the courage to fly over to our corner of the world, despite our being infamous for terrorist attacks. I had originally planned to see The Killers, but as fate would have it, they canceled their Asian tour at the last minute, not, as rumored, due to fear of real killers, nor band members being sick of each other, but to an illness. At least, that’s what the press release says.

A few minutes after I learned The Killers concert was canceled, a friend of mine said he had two tickets for the January 22 concert of Saosin up for grabs. All you had to do was say dibs. Thanks to impulse and a speedy reaction time, dibs I typed, and mine were the tickets.

So it was that I found myself amidst a high concentration of heavy mascara and, strangely, short skirts on a Friday night in Makati. The gates of A-Venue were to open at 7 pm, said the square ticket which was predictably red and black, so my ever-loyal (will go to the ends of the earth with me, in this case, the central business district which he avoids as much as possible, as it offends his Diliman-bred sensibilities) companion and I correctly assumed that the concert would be starting around 9 pm.

After a two-minute ocular of the place (Smoking area: check, Washrooms: check, Entrance: check, Burly bouncers: check, Teenage crowd: check), we left to forage for food. When we finally surrendered our tickets and selves to a thorough security check though, we realized we should have been more circumspect. If we had, we would have noticed that they confiscate lighters at the entrance. We felt this was uncalled for; nowhere on the ticket or at the entrance did it say that lighters were prohibited. The lighters were unceremoniously thrown in a box, which later disappeared.

We arrived just in time to catch Typecast’s last two songs, which they seemed as eager as the crowd to finish. Their performance wasn’t bad; in fact it was rather good as most of their gigs are. It was simply a matter of not being able to wait for Saosin to take the stage.


Not for the impatient, Saosin took their time setting up. The band’s beetle logo, which was projected on the screen some twenty minutes before the show started, really got the crowd going. At first, people would scream and clap whenever the beetle would shift directions, but after a while they tired of it, and resorted to sticking their fists in the air in front of the projector, right where the beetles’ behind was.

Finally, the performers went on stage, beginning their set with “I Keep My Secrets Safe." Almost instantly, hundreds of cameras went flashing in the air. I remarked, “these kids have probably never experienced a concert where people hold up their lighters," which was unfair of me, because the audience was not just composed of kids.

‘Small heart’

Saosin itself began as a sort of secret, having earned their main stage success and massive fan base through word-of-mouth. Their songs were downloaded over five million times on MySpace and they scored primetime on the Vans Warped Tour, all before releasing a full-length album.

Their music began in Orange County in 2003 with their self-released first EP, Translating the Name. (Saosin means “small heart" in Chinese, a term derived from a 15th century proverb about fathers advising their sons who were being married off for money not to get emotionally involved with their brides.)

After the original lead singer Anthony Green (formerly of Zolof, currently of Circa Survive) left, Saosin discovered high school student Cove Reber in a nationwide search. A contract with Capitol Records was signed soon after. Aside from Reber who is now Saosin’s vocalist and lyricist, the band is composed of bassist Chris Sorenson, drummer Alex Rodriguez, and guitarists Beau Burchell and Justin Shekoski.

To be honest, I am more an Anthony Green fan than a Saosin fan, but majority of the crowd last Friday would probably be against me. Reber was charming as far as long-haired, t-shirt and jeans-clad vocalists go, especially since he took the time in the middle of a song to take a video of the crowd. (Note to rock stars: cameras are the way to the Pinoy collective heart. We are, after all, the people who wave at news cameras, no matter the crisis.)

I had to admit, even I was charmed when Reber demanded that everyone jump. “I want everyone to have fun, okay? If you don’t jump, you’re not having fun. So jump," he said, before launching into an eardrum-crushing performance of “Voices." I wasn’t charmed enough to actually jump, but I did enjoy the rest of the set.

Saosin also performed Sleepers, Changing, Collapse, Deep Down, It's Far Better To Learn, The Alarming Sound of a Still Small Voice, On My Own, I Never Wanted To, Bury Me, You're Not Alone, and Seven Years. They ended their set with the 8-minute track Fireflies, but returned with They Perch On Their Stilts, Pointing, and Daring Me To Break Custom for an encore. Reber returned to the stage after the show, just to take another video. This, of course, elicited more squeals from giddy fans.

One of the show’s highlights was Justin’s guitar spin during the encore. A fan posted a video of the encore, which has a good shot of the guitarist’s spin. Another grateful fan typed this note on the official Saosin forum just hours after the show: “Hey thanks for rockin here in Manila..hope you guys come back!! Like Cove said..dreams do come true..and I never thought I would see Justin do his guitar spins live man! It's just amazing!!! A dream come true..thank you! Have a safe trip guys!"

Like most bands whose sound is on the heavier side, lyrics are difficult to make out above the other instruments, not to mention the roar of the crowd. Also, songs that are half-sung and half-screamed really swallow the words up.

Ironically, Reber wants the fans to pay attention to the lyrics. “I’d love for people to check out the lyrics in the way kids would do in the ‘70s, when they’d buy records, put them on the record player and sit there looking at the record insert, really diving in head first," he says on the band’s official website.

Judging by the way the fans could pick up at any point Reber left off in the singing, I’m probably the exception when I say I didn’t know all the words.

“There are times in our set where I am so pissed off just because of a line I’m singing, or I’m almost in tears because of certain words, and that’s the emotion I wanted to give on our new record. When kids hear it, I want them to feel everything that I’ve felt over the past three years," he also says on their website.

Last Friday, fans sang their throats sore and surrendered to all the angst, pain, and even a bit of tenderness for a couple of hours. When the show was over, they disappeared into the night, ears ringing and hearts racing with Saosin’s songs. – YA, GMANews.ಟಿವ

this article was edited from http:/www,gmanews,tv/story/183218/rockin-to-the-angst-and-pain-of-saosin-in-makati-concert

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