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7107 IMF: Feast for the ears


Red Hot Chili Peppers (Dian Carl)

Despite an initial dash of controversy (re: funding) and criticisms (on its supposed “weak” lineup), it is safe to say that the 7107 International Music Festival (7107 IMF) held at the Global Gateway Logistics City field did well in giving festivalgoers their musical fill.

In what could well be compared to a full course meal, the first day of the 7107 IMF served as appetizer for those who travelled all the way to Clark for the historic weekend. The night’s flurry of chest-pounding house music – from DJs Reid Stefan, Alvaro, and the day’s headliner, Kaskade – and fireworks reminded the congregation that the affair was meant to be one big party. People even got the chance to extend with the nightlife in an after-party by Smart at the V8 Baresto.

The second day was an entirely different entrée, as the menu suddenly turned rock-heavy in preparation for the event’s Red Hot zenith.

After well-digested native pop-rock dishes from our very own Itchyworms, Rocksteddy and Up Dharma Down, came the first international serving: Diverse alternative rock from The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, highlighted by vocalist Ronnie Winter’s duet of the band’s hit “Your Guardian Angel” with his Filipina girlfriend.


Kendrick Lamar (Dian Carl)


Empire of the Sun (Dian Carl)

Then, Grammy-nominated rapper Kendrick Lamar changed the flavor and stimulated hip hop taste buds with his Top 40 hits “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Poetic Justice.”

Electronic duo Empire of the Sun’s psychedelic measures and kaleidoscopic stage theatrics (and head gear reminiscent of Rico Blanco’s Galactik Fiestamatik persona) packed a certain zing similar to Lady Gaga shows.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers was both the main course and the dessert. Even preceding acts acknowledged that the rock quartet was the secret ingredient to 7107’s massive crowd, with Empire of the Sun frontman Luke Steele’s statement “Are you ready for the (Red Hot) Chili Peppers tonight?!” driving the point.

The packed crowd patiently waited for RHCP’s almost one-hour setup. The lull ended with a trumpet solo (by bassist Flea as my strong guess) signaling the band’s rousing entry. The Peppers kicked off their full-concert set with “Can’t Stop,” as if describing the crowd’s reaction of throwing itself into a frenzy.


Flea (Dian Carl)

Throughout the set, the audience sang along and headbanged to the Peppers’ repertoire, from classics “Under The Bridge” and “By The Way,” to contemporaries like “Snow (Hey Oh).” Only “The Zephyr Song” was missing…

Flea was so spontaneous with his quirky spiels, and would often connive with guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and drummer Chad Smith in ad libs. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis, meanwhile, effortlessly threw around a slew of rap bars and sang in his unique melodic style. (Golden nuggets: Flea’s handstand walking and Anthony’s dance moves.)

Before the night was over, they dished out – much to the delight of the audience clamoring for it – a fitting final encore: “Give It Away,” as RHCP absolutely did.

With music essentially served on two buffet tables – the main stage, and the second stage, which featured local acts – organizers were not only successful in championing the OPM spirit, but also served the audience’s diverse music palates well (Kjwan, for instance, more than held its own against the main stage’s house music on the first day).

Aside from the actual grub’s eye-popping prices, the long lines at the beer tent and the extreme portalets, the 7107 IMF wasn’t bad at all for my first music festival.