“After midnight,” as the JJ Cale song famously covered by Eric Clapton goes, “we’re gonna let it all hang out…” That’s exactly what happened last week, as we stepped out of the office a few minutes after 12 a.m. to go to Strumm’s—whose owner Mari Lagdameo was celebrating his birthday.
The young band Brat Pack was onstage, joined by another youthful musician, Ian Lofamia, who was blowing his harmonica with such flair and intensity that it fired up everyone.
Beside him was yet another kid, Michael Vargas, who, with his violin, engaged Lofamia in a smoking “duel” that, at certain moments, felt like a loose “call and response” to good times.
They were playing the blues, but it sure sounded like a celebration—not only as a nod to Lagdameo’s birthday, but likewise a toast to musical passion among Filipinos.
Later on, Brat Pack bassist David de Koenigswarter and keyboardist RJ Pineda got into their own hot jam, playing like children possessed by the magic of music.
“Got my mojo working,” sang Brat Pack vocalist Christine Mercado, yet she gave life to the song as if the band itself wrote it.
In the audience, Lagdameo shared a table with Tonyboy Cojuangco and Louie Ysmael. At the next table sat Peng Perez de Tagle. They watched and listened with rapt attention. This was
a different kind of show they were experiencing—no longer pure blues but a bit of country, jazz and soul thrown into the mix. In other words, rock ‘n’ roll as only Pinoys could do it.
Dancing till the wee hours
The next band, Route 70, excelled in R&B and disco. Fronted by Dingdong Eduque and Maso Diez, its covers of Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind and Fire, among other dance-floor staples, did not need much prodding for another group in the audience to get up and shake their booty.
We were referring to Milky Evangelista, Pipo Liboro, Boyet Sison and Gina Valenciano-Martinez—names and faces that recall “Penthouse 7,” Where Else? and other disco memories.
Everybody danced, unmindful of the wee hours.
Brat Pack plays Wednesdays at Strumm’s, Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati; tel. 8954636
Chivas Regal 18
Also recently, we found time to experience the pleasure of drinking Scotch whisky, courtesy of Pernod Ricard Philippines, subsidiary of France-based Pernod Ricard which owns Chivas Regal.
The company’s on-premise executive Luis San Juan was on hand to welcome media members, who were treated to a buffet lunch at Circles in Makati Shangri-La before proceeding upstairs to Sage for a Chivas mentoring and tasting session.
Chivas Brothers sent its Hong Kong-based regional mentoring manager for Asia, Darren Hosie, to introduce Chivas Regal 18-year-old blended Scotch whisky.
Hosie was a fine mentor as he explained the distinct and subtle flavors of Chivas 18. For starters, three small bottles labeled “Islay,” “Grain” and “Strathisla,” respectively, were laid on the table; they comprised the various malts and grains in the Chivas 18—which incidentally has won the Blended Scotch Whisky award at this year’s International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.
The panel of judges’ comments were quoted: “Stone fruits lead in a very attractive nose with peach being most dominant. Nutmeg, cinnamon and sherry follow. Wonderfully warming in the mouth. Rich in sherry characters with raisins and plum. Vanilla is prominent in long, well-sustained finish. Delightful.”
But of course we had a hard time distinguishing those flavors as we took sips of Chivas 18. What we appreciated, with Hosie’s guidance, was how to best enjoy it—by mixing equal amounts of Chivas 18 and water.
There’s a difference, said Hosie, between Scotch mixed with ice (on the rocks), and liquid water itself, because it would take time for the ice to blend with the whisky. The purpose of water, he added, is to eliminate the sometimes painful flow of alcohol into the body without diluting the taste and flavors of the whisky.
The result was an enlightening, invigorating way to enjoy Scotch whisky. Like red wine and beer, drinking whisky moderately, as in two glasses, is said to be good for the heart.
So, it wouldn’t hurt to say, “I’ll have a Chivas Regal.”
Pinoys in ‘Chicago’
The word is that there are at least a dozen Filipino musicians in the 16-member orchestra accompanying the Broadway musical “Chicago,” which opened Dec. 2 and runs till Dec. 21 at The Theatre at Solaire in Parañaque. It is co-presented by Smart Infinity.
Among them are trombonist Francois Mendoza, pianist Joseph Tolentino and guitarists Jayson Rivera and Lester Demetillo.
They were chosen from 25 submitted video auditions, and went through a four-hour rehearsal prior to the musical’s opening.
Catch a glimpse of these talented Pinoy artists when they take a bow from the orchestra pit.