The big question was, can this band still hack it? It’s been 13 years, and a reunion gig after being gone for such a long time could induce anxiety, if not doubt from skeptics.
Teeth was one of the bands that found mainstream success in the 1990s, the second golden age of contemporary Filipino music. It’s first hit single, “Laklak,” became a drinking anthem.
Not long after the release of its self-titled debut album, which included the alternative-rock ode “Prinsesa,” Teeth frontman Glenn Jacinto fell ill, though he fortunately recovered after a year.
The band then recorded and released the EP “Bum Squad,” followed by its second full-length, “Time Machine” in 1997.
Its third album, “I Was a Teenage Tree,” was released two years after, with Jerome Velasco (guitar), Mike Dizon (drums) and Jacinto, but with Dok Sergio replacing bassist Peding Narvaja, who left for the United States.
When the ’90s ended, Jacinto also set his sights on migrating to the US—eventually settling there in 2001. He would play occasionally with touring Pinoy artists.
The rest of the band members pursued their own careers in the local music scene.
There was never an opportunity for Teeth to play in Manila with a complete lineup, until plans for this gig came along.
Produced by Pinoytuner.com, Teeth’s reunion concert was held May 15 at the Metrotent in Pasig City. Gates opened at 6 p.m. but it was almost 9 when a sizeable crowd showed up at the venue.
It was a gathering of rock fans in their 30s and 40s making time on a Thursday night to catch a performance that they may never witness again.
The front acts knew that they were playing before a more mature audience that evening, and gave in to the pleasure of serving older songs during their sets.
Although Kamikazee played more recent hits like “Unang Tikim,” it also rendered “Tsinelas,” one of its earliest releases.
Chicosci resurrected “Sink or Swim,” the first hit single from its debut album released 14 years ago, and “Paris,” a track from its sophomore release.
DJ duo The Diegos induced a wave of nostalgia by spinning a string of ’90s hits during their set—from The Breeders’ “Cannonball” to Blur’s “Song 2.”
A video interview by Lourd de Veyra and Jun Sabayton with three Teeth members—Sergio, Dizon and Narvaja—was shown. The audience liked it, but by that time the feeling of anticipation was so thick you could almost touch it. You could actually hear the excitement in the crowd’s hoots and howls, and no amount of diversion could curb that excitement.
And so the most-awaited moment arrived. Teeth aptly opened its first set with “Tugtugan Na,” the first track from its eponymous debut studio album. After passionate screams caused by the sight of all of the band’s members together on stage, the crowd seemed to be caught in a standstill—perhaps out of disbelief that, in place of the beer-guzzling, long-haired ’90s rock star was a blazer-clad, sober-looking Jacinto.
But that was only the calm before the storm. As the band performed “Galit sa Mundo,” the audience regained its excitement, which lasted throughout the set, which included songs from all three Teeth albums.
The band played “Epekto,” “Hay Sarap,” “Time Machine,” “Take a Ride,” “Bum Squad,” our personal favorite, “Unleaded,” “Me,” and “Chicharon” in quick succession.
But we knew the night was far from over. “BMX,” followed by “Dogs Can Fly,” ignited the second set, but it wasn’t until an all-too-familiar opening riff blasted off that everyone felt the euphoria they had all been yearning for. Barely a second into the chorus, the crowd was singing along to “Prinsesa”: “Dalhin mo ako sa iyong palasyo/Maglakad tayo sa hardin ng ’yong kahariaaaan …”
There were more raised fists, and more people jumping, and we would’ve sworn that we saw quite a few middle-aged rockers close to tears.
The crowd mellowed down with the sentimental “Darating,” and remained calm as “Sorry” was being played.
And just when people had wished they “had a car” and “nice fancy clothes,” there was another wave of frenzy with the opening chords to the intoxicating “Laklak.”
The crown went wild. For a few minutes it felt like the ’90s all over again—Teeth fans slam-dancing and crowd-surfing in mosh pit mayhem.
After the heart-pounding performance came the song that would end the show and leave a pang of regret in our hearts. Teeth capped off the evening with possibly the last song that struck a chord in the hearts of fans before disbanding, “Shooting Star.”
Despite over a decade of separation, Teeth proved that it’s still a band that could pull in a crowd and play tightly.
The reunion gig was probably what Sergio, in a previous interview, imagined it to be: The “most beautiful Teeth experience for fans and for everyone.”
It might have been the first and last Teeth reunion concert, but it was worth the long wait. To quote lines from the closing song, “And maybe I’m lucky to have seen you tonight/’Coz I needed something I have always dreamed about.”