Picture this: you walk into a time machine that immediately transports you into a time of questionable choices, undefined relationships, and dimly lit nightclubs. Replace a DJ with a full live band and you have the setting for Brent Faiyaz’s first-ever stop in Manila.
As I walked through the hallowed halls of the New Frontier Theater, I was immediately greeted by the waft of Dior Sauvage and flashes from digicams circa 2000. Despite being two hours early for the show, the theater’s floor standing area was nearly packed to the brim. Brent Faiyaz was the internet-proclaimed King of the City Boys, and his loyal Filipino subjects would not miss the appearance of their king.
Once the lights dim, the crowd erupted into cheers reminiscent of those heard at some of Metro Manila’s hottest nightclubs. The violin-strings of “LOOSE CHANGE” from his latest record, WASTELAND, start to swell. The crowd is electric, with deafening screams from every side of the theater. Then, when you think it couldn’t be any louder, the spotlight shines on Faiyaz — and the audience goes nuts.
While the crowd was of a certain aesthetic and social class, you couldn’t deny that they were a dedicated bunch. They knew every single line to Faiyaz’s entire setlist. For some artists, especially those whose songs go viral on TikTok, their crowds’ cheers are the loudest with their popular tracks. However for Faiyaz, there was no distinction between which songs were the most famous ones. The audience sang just as loud for “PRICE OF FAME” as they did for “ALL MINE,” for “F*ck The World (Summer In London)” as they did for “Clouded,” for “BAD LUCK” as they did for “DEAD MAN WALKING.”
The energy from the audience was just a reflection of Faiyaz’s electric performance. The concert was admittedly one of the best live performances I’ve been to — Faiyaz was accompanied by a stellar live band that a put a new, refreshing spin to the studio recording versions of his songs. Where as the recorded versions are on the slower, more sultry side, his live performance was upbeat, engaging, and you couldn’t stop yourself from bopping your head. The band was tight, and the singer even gave the guitarist the spotlight for a killer guitar shred solo. His voice was just as good as the recordings, and the sound still carried over the deafening shouts of the audience.
His love for Manila was palpable, and he would continually talk about his first time touring in Asia. After he closed off his show with his collaboration with Drake & The Neptunes, “Wasting Time,” the crowd left the night still ecstatic and wishing for more.
Overall, Brent Faiyaz’s concert was larger than life, engaging to watch, and never missed a beat in hitting all the marks of a great live performance. Call me a converted BGC boy, because I’m ready to go back to the WASTELAND.
Listen to Brent Faiyaz’s latest record WASTELAND below.