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February 1, 2014 — The World Trade Center in Pasay City was packed with loyal rock fans who came from nearby cities just to participate in this huge yearly event. Fanning the flames of rock for fifteen years, the Red Horse Muziklaban has been constantly searching, promoting and supporting amateur bands and have chosen ambassadors who will best represent this cause. This year was an extra special party, as the 15th year couldn’t be more timely as to also celebrate the Chinese New Year, ushering in the Year of the Horse.

I’ve listed down some of my highlights from last night’s Red Horse Beer Muziklaban from the show opening with female front women, listening to a 90s throwback setlist plus some crazy scientific mystery in the middle of the concert, not to mention huge slingshots used to throw things at the audience Believe me, it’s CRAZY and I’ve pointed out FIFTEEN of them:

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Tensions were high as the chosen five bands from all over the country gathered yesterday, January 27, 2014 at the Hard Rock Cafe, to see who will get the most coveted title as the 15th Red Horse Beer Muziklaban Grand Champions.

Judges were industry mavens: MCA Music’s Sammy Samaniego, Red Horse Beer Brand, Joemar Climaco, Anne Ablaza-Gomez, Jack Mina and of course rock’s tastemakers, Red Horse Beer rock veterans Slapshock’s Jamir Garcia and Lee Nadela and Razorback’s Tirso Ripoll, Brian Velasco and manager Patrick Pulumbarit and Neil Fernando from Woo Consultants.

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It was a tough decision to choose between the five bands from Batangas, Cebu, Cagayan De Oro, Manila and Cabanatuan.

The judges had to choose between “We”, “Rigmarole”, “Hubito’s Tribe”, “Stellar Skin” and “Manila Under Fire”.

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Another surprise gig from Red Horse Beer was held at the Andres Bonifacio Shrine in Manila last Friday. Former Muziklaban Champions Mayonnaise performed as passers by, mostly students and commuters on their way home, stopped to watch. As the music started the crowd, curious as to what was initially happening, realized that their weekend highlight brought right to them.

Mayonnaise performed in front of an elaborate sculpture of Andres Bonifacio symbolically depicting him in his fight for freedom and independence. The last two Red Horse pop-up gigs have all been in places representative of Manila with the first one held in Plaza Miranda and the second one in Baywalk Roxas Boulevard. The Bonifacio Shrine in Lawton strikes the heart of most Filipinos, seeing the father of Philippine Revolution as an inspiration to rally for our very own Pinoy Rock.

Red Horse Beer Bonifacio Shrine

There is much Pinoy pride seeing former Pambansang Muziklaban champions promoting the upcoming finals, as Mayonnaise has produced hit songs that Filipinos  know by heart. People sang along as they performed “Jopay”, “Bakit Part 2″, their cover of a much loved Filipino ballad, “Ipagpatawad mo”. The band also performedtheir latest single, “Paraan” which has a recently released music video. 

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We are at an age of huge concerts and massive festivals headlined by industry monoliths which made touring in a handful of dates every year at large arenas. Rock has never been more popular, and more successful than it has in more than a decade. Yet as events grow larger and larger, we forget the essence of rock and roll as some of the musicians we wish to see and hear make a fleeting appearance on these big events. As this continues, what happens is that the gap between artist and audience have never been greater.

Yet being on the ground is something that Red Horse is known for, as every year they skim through all applications of aspiring Muziklaban champions nationwide. With that spirit, instead of asking people to go and watch a gig, this time around, the gig is delivered to them. What would you do if suddenly a famous band started playing right in front of you  as you walked by?

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Last December 13, 2013, the people who were watching the sun go down along Baywalk in Roxas Boulevard by the Manila Bay were in for a big surprise.

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So it took me a while to write this because I waited for the noise to drown out. It’s like one of the biggest hangovers you’ve ever experienced and you didn’t really know what to say until everything starts getting silent and then you begin to remember all the vague details you had several days (in my case, weeks) to recover. It was a party, I must say.

Muziklaban has become this yearly event that makes new traditions. Their inimitable support for the local music scene, including the constant search and development of future rockstars sustain it. It’s forging new lines in a family tree that creates a strong rock and roll fort. Leaders won’t be leaders unless there are hopefuls that emulate them because once upon a time, all the current Red Horse Beer ambassadors started out as hopefuls with a dream, as with any other band we admire today. After an entire year’s search, a band called A Music Theory based in Metro Manila took home the grand prize. Because they’re now part of the Red Horse family, you’ll be seeing more of them touring, performing and promoting their work in future Red Horse Beer events, alongside Slapshock, WilaBaliw, Greyhoundz, KJWAN and Razorback.

The grand finals was an example of that, as the five finalists performed in between the sets of the five main bands. To me it was a test of how good they were at par with the headliners which is good training, even for those who didn’t get the grand prize. Experience is priceless. But when you do reach that level of rockstardom, you’ll see that having fun is part of the equation. It’s always great to look forward to each year’s grand finals. It’s the culmination of all the touring, which are pockets of craziness to begin with, so you can imagine this season ender as all of those compounded together.   Read More

Red Horse Vulcan Theme Bike

Apart from the bands, one of the main highlights of this years Red Horse Muziklaban Grand Finals is the showcase of the Red Horse Vulcan Theme Bike. The amazing Red Horse Beer design was conceptualized by the Hardcore Brothers, who are well known for bike customization and at the same time, are no stranger to the rock scene.

Red Horse Vulcan Theme Bike

A few years ago, you may know that the Hardcore Brothers had a radio show at the now defunct NU107, where they combine their riding philosophies with rock music. A motorycle was the symbol chosen this year because if you’re familiar with Bon Jovi’s song Wanted Dead or Alive (On a Steel Horse I Ride), this Red Horse Motorbike is a Steel Horse connecting rock to the fearless rider.

Red Horse Vulcan Theme Bike

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My name is Niña Sandejas. Duly educated in fashion but would rather take photos of musicians and go to concerts for a living.

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