Red Ninja Productions kicked off the final month of 2017 with their annual Year Ender Fest! Fans and friends bombarded B-Side for nearly 12 hours to see their favorite acts—proof that the local music scene is still alive and kicking.

12 Hours? No Problem!

With 21 acts set to grace the stage last Saturday, the corner of Malugay and Mayapis endured an abundance of cars early that afternoon. No one wanted to miss the first few acts: folk group Ben&Ben, Reese Lansangan who had to rush to another venue for another gig, TheSunManager, Coke Studio PH artists Moonstar88, and the Red Ninja debut of six-year old Suman, Ebe Dancel’s nephew, who played drums for Peryodiko! Although it began a little later than expected, the crowd stuck around to check out food from It’s A Wrap!, merch from CustomThread, and the other cool vendors.

The Riot Act live at Red Ninja Year Ender Fest 2017

Keiko Necesario serenaded us with her soulful tunes, followed by math-rock band Run Dorothy, then a rampage of musical delight from the boys of The Riot Act. Cheats brought the energy up another level, with Jim Baccaro jumping to the roof in place of his wife, vocalist Saab Magalona, who still rocked out even with twins on the way! Music industry ace Raymund Marasigan joined the band on the drums for their last song before moving on to his other band, Assembly Generals.

Cheats live at Red Ninja Year Ender Fest 2017

The four-piece electronic hip hop supergroup blew the crowd away with their signature snarky flow. As they gear up to release a new album early next year, they showed us that they’re only getting better. Fellow doyens Hale introduced us to the newest member of their band: ex-Silent Sanctuary member and now the Hale’s violinist Chino David. The strings, although not necessarily sounding melancholy, adds another layer to the band’s music and is something we look forward to in their next album.

Hale live at Red Ninja Year Ender Fest 2017

For the third and last time for the night, Raymund Marasigan gets up on stage as the frontman of alternative rock band Sandwich. They played hits like “Sugod”, prompting the crowd to literally go wild inside the sauna-like venue. To be fair, the band was right—we rock and rolled until the morning. Tweaking the mood was IV of Spades who funked us up with their bass-infused tracks, making us want to grab the person next to us for a dance. Bonus points for the boys who showed off their voguish and genre-appropriate outfits!

IV of Spades live at Red Ninja Year Ender Fest 2017

Carlos Castaño continued the vibe with his dreamy indie-pop landscapes, and while we wait for him to release his fourth album, let’s appreciate how authentic he sounds live. WanderBand semi-finalists Rob & The Hitmen hit the stage next, succeeded by instrumental trio Tom’s Story. Their music offered us a change of pace; refreshing to the ear as it made way for pop-rock band Over October. Tonight We Sleep, There’s ERA, and Runway Crimes took over as Sunday morning rose, but the crowd remained in place throughout the night. By 3:00 AM, Lions and Acrobats capped the stunning night with new tracks from their sophomore album “Mundane”.

A Bright Future

21 different artists showed up and gave their all. The Red Ninja Year Ender Fest is an excellent precedent of how hard-working, generous, and creative the Philippines’ musicians are. The coming together of these artists highlights their diversity. We don’t need to compare their music to international artists and say that they sound alike—local music is world-class on its own.

U DO U would like to thank Red Ninja Productions not only for partnering with us, but for also creating a space for our artists to flourish. Happy holidays, everybody!

Photos by Simon Vigan.