Cebuano indie rock outfit Kubra Commander has had a stellar year since the September 2022 release of their second full-length album Rhythm Tourists. It’s their first for respected Manila-based independent label Lilystars Records, whose artist roster includes acts from all over the Philippines (including Orange & Lemons, The Bloomfields, and The Geeks), as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Sweden.
Further solidifying their chosen sound – a blend of ‘90s Britpop (Oasis, Kula Shaker, late-period Stone Roses) and modern psychedelia (The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tame Impala) – the record has garnered rave reviews among listeners and peers.
“From a personal standpoint it becomes even more rewarding when there are people who appreciate the music that’s been put out, and that’s something I’m very thankful for,” affirms bandleader, singer, and guitarist Bobbi Olvido. “I believe that art should be self-serving first but it also needs an audience for it to thrive, so it does feel great when I hear of positive reactions from people, friends, or fellow artists who’ve heard the album, and there’s also a certain sense of fulfillment from it.”
Olvido has been an elder statesman of sorts in Cebu’s indie scene, having played for the likes of Foc Fashion, Sunday Sunday, and a host of other local bands. He is also the head coordinator of John Bottles Events, an production team who has brought in-demand acts like Orange & Lemons, Pedicab, Megumi Acorda, and others to play well-attended shows in Cebu. But this time, he and the rest of Kubra Commander are headed to Metro Manila for a four-show tour in venues in Makati and Quezon City, beginning on Thursday, October 26 at SaGuijo Cafe.
“We had our first Manila tour last year in October, and after that I wanted to make this a yearly thing as much as possible as we continue to learn and improve,” he says. “More importantly though, it’s about trying to find and reach an audience outside [of] where we’re from and to get the music across, and that’s something I really want to hopefully achieve with this project. Perhaps it may not happen right away, but I believe that this tour does help with that cause.”
Prior to coming to Manila, Kubra Commander organized a six-leg ‘Kubralalala!’ mini-tour in several Cebu venues to raise funds for the tour, and contacted several Manila-based producers like Locked Down Entertainment and Furiosa to book shows here. “It was challenging but fun, and we’re very happy and grateful with the outcome and the support that we’ve received from our friends, peers and supporters in Cebu,” says Olvido. “There’s also been overwhelming support from Manila friends, prods, communities, and fellow artists, and it really helps validate the decision to come to Manila and play shows.”
The band – which also currently includes Mich Pacalioga and JB Villagonzalo on guitars, Jah Acab on bass, JJ Dayak on synth and keys, and Tim Williams on drums – are also set to release a new single, “Kublai Can,” on all streaming platforms this Friday, October 27. To watch Kubra Commander live in Manila, make sure to catch any of these shows:
- October 26 at SaGuijo Cafe, Makati with Sandwich, Pedicab, Megumi Acorda, Tarsius, KANA, Oz Kabuhat, and a vinyl DJ set by Diego Castillo
- October 27 at Mow’s, Quezon City with 10AM Departure, Tarsius, and Fugu Musk
- October 28 at Mow’s, Quezon City for the Awanggan Vinyl Launch Party with Avalyn, Eulavye, KRNA, Narcloudia, and Skies of Ember
- October 28 at The ’70s Bistro for the Kubra Commander + The Bloomfields Double Single Launch with The Bloomfields, Orange & Lemons, KANA, and PEPSI N DEO
Listen to Kubra Commander’s latest album, Rhythm Tourists, below: