Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many people are in the crowd –– as long as you get to enjoy the ambiance of whatever setting you find yourself in. This applies to SYQL Productions’ second iteration of their annual New Year, New Scene, a warm and intimate start to a new year for the Filipino gig scene.
Even the rain poured down, it didn’t dampen the crowd filling up the tent of 123 Block. Though it took a while for the event to find its footing, Ysanygo’s opening act drew the crowd in with a soulful set of tunes –– with performances to “Comfortable Silence” and “Horizon” making the ambiance of the gig feel a lot closer knit than usual. Those standing in front of the stage were seen grooving their hearts out to the sibling duo’s flawless harmonization, with others also snapping their fingers along to the beats of their stirring set.
SHNTI’s set was a rocking good time that serves as a smooth transition from Ysanygo’s R&B sound. With the rising rapper gaining the crowd’s attention, her live renditions to “F*ck It (I’m In Love Again)” and “YUH” broke through with a spirited energy that exuded swagger and self-assurance. Her very own stage presence had the audience fully tuned in to her performance, further solidifying her status as one of the most promising hip-hop acts of the moment.
One of the biggest highlights of the night came from the eight-piece boyband KINDRED, whose phenomenal performance captivated the entire audience from beginning to end. Their explosive opener “KZone” set served as the perfect catalyst for the show, igniting the performance with an immense burst of energy that resonated throughout the crowd from that very moment.
The atmosphere was instantly charged, and the audience’s enthusiasm became finely tuned –– setting the tone for an electrifying experience as their set went on. Their slick (and quite humorous) choreography was a joy to witness in tracks like “Lambing”, as the unparalleled chemistry of the group shined through in such a clear and incomparable manner. Hearing “Hoe It Up” was a notable nod to the smooth R&B sounds of the 90s, while their performance of “Ligaw” drew the audience closer than ever as the group went down and danced with the crowd in a fun and special mosh pit performance.
To cool the audience down from such an energetic set, dwta performed her series of folk-pop tracks that transformed the venue from a mini rave into a warm campfire surrounded by friends. The Bicolana singer-songwriter’s soft and cozy harmonies felt like several confessionals shared to the crowd, thanks to her conveying a warmth that feels familiar, if not comforting. Her hits “SMP (Samahan Ng Malalamig Ang Pasko”, “Santigwar”, and “Padaba Taka” felt even more personal in the live setting –– showcasing just how much her live sets immerse audiences in with their captivating storytelling.
Following it up, viral hitmaker Toneejay took to the stage to perform his hit song “711” along with “Bawat Piyesa” and his latest release “Bagong Tradisyon.” His signature string of hits felt and sounded just as good in the live setting, given how much fervor he gave in his performances. With just how universal his songs translate into shared experiences live, it makes sense as to why the air is charged with anticipation, and the audience, a collection of eager faces, holds a collective promise with the Toneejay and his music.
Dayaw made a strong impression on the crowd with their experimental jazz-funk fusion –– weaving together a variety of traditional instruments (like a flute, long drum, and a pair of bongos) alongside a guitar, bass, and a keyboard. Its an impressive performance that drew the audience into an entirely different musical realm than what the local gig scene is used to, but is also one that deserves far more recognition for its awe-inspiring nature. In a way, the crowd was simply mesmerized by what they were witnessing, which indicates a promising nature for such an untapped genre in the country.
For the final showcase of the night, PLAYERTWO reeled the entire audience in towards the stage with their high-octane opener “P2 ENERGY.” As usual, the hip-hop trio utilized their (signature) infectious energy to lift up the crowd’s spirits –– giving each and every one of us watching a full show worth losing our minds to. “HDYF” amped the vigor of 123 Block to 110%, with the group mentioning that such an ambiance reminds them of their humble beginnings back in Davao.
The unabashed nature that the trio convey adds a unique flair that highlights both their individuality and cohesion as a unit. And with just how much fun all of them were having on stage, it translated extremely well to the spectators in attendance. PLAYERTWO performed their latest single “FLYYY”, alongside “TIKTIKTOKIN”, “THINKIN’ OF LOVE”, and “THAT’S MY BABY”, which presented a setlist that knew how to utilize the group’s most impressive aspect of showmanship –– even bringing the audience together for a raving mosh pit performance.
Like their past gigs, the diverse lineup at SYQL’s second ‘New Year, New Scene’ contributed to a highly enjoyable evening, seamlessly weaving together a tapestry of varied musical genres that showcased the best offerings from the Philippine music scene. Despite a smaller crowd compared to past gigs, the intimate atmosphere truly heightened the overall experience. The audience united as one in their appreciation for the music, showing that in some ways, such intimacy surpassed larger gigs as the artists connected with the audience on a more personal level.
The evening, set to ring in the new year of 2024, exceeded expectations. The size of the crowd became inconsequential as the true essence of the night was the shared enjoyment and fulfillment among all of the attendees present at 123 Block. Rain or shine, it was a testament to the fact that the impact of a live gig goes beyond mere numbers; because what truly matters is the lasting impression of joy and satisfaction that accompanied everyone home that night.