Boyce Avenue, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

Who ever coined the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, was wrong, or at least not entirely correct. That’s why books have covers, it helps you decide which ones to read. What’s inside; is a different matter altogether, the same holds true with music and you can tell a great deal about a band by the songs they cover.

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

Boyce Avenue’s second video upload to YouTube in 2007 was an acoustic version of a song by Rhianna, “Umbrella”. It struct a chord with many, regardless of it’s bare bones production quality and launched their musical career, to date it has garnered almost 12 million views. Since then, literally, multitudes have taken a look at this band, racking up impressive numbers on their YouTube channel with 7,993,289 subscribers and 2,414,711,579 overall views, yes that’s billions! And still counting!

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

As you scan their account, many of the covers are radio friendly hit songs but also include a wide range of genres, from classic rock to pop to alternative. Either on their channel or during a live performance, song choices and the style in which they perform them, are tell-tale signs. Hugely popular here in the Philippines, the most streamed artist in the country, now embarking on a five city tour in various parts of the archipelago, island hopping bringing their brand of music to the masses, Manila was their first stop.

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

A treat to kick off the night, two bands from out of town, a pleasant surprise, typically there’s a local group to start things off. International up-and-comers, a singer from the States, hailing from Oregon, Savannah Outen and young pop rock band out of Australia, ‘At Sunset’. Harrison Kantarias, Andrew Kantarias and Tom Jay Williams of ‘At Sunset’ started things off, hitting the stage firing on all cylinders.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

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iRocktography: See what music looks like...

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Like Boyce Avenue, this band also includes charismatic brothers with a entertaining demeanour on stage, showing emotion and a striking energy. What really impressed though, was how they handled adversity. Something most wouldn’t have noticed, a few technical hiccups while on-stage, such as part of the drum kit falling off the riser or Harrison on lead vocals breaking his guitar string. These small incidents give insight to the nature of their psyche. Really, a stage presence beyond their years, with only a slight twitch of a reaction, he hastily re-tuned the guitar and continued on, seemingly unfazed by it all.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

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iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

Savannah was up next, a voice with a soothing and sultry quality, think Pink with a dash of Natasha Bedingfield, she’s also made her mark in the YouTube world and holds a resume which includes some impressive work with Disney.  Her cover song of “Chandelier” by Sia, showcases her vocal skills and I may prefer it to the original. Her new single is “Boys”, a smooth, yet anthemic pop song, a production of quality, well done.
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In case you’re not a huge YouTube fan, a bio tidbit may be in order here. Boyce Avenue’s core members consists of three brothers hailing from Sarasota Florida, Alejandro Manzano, Daniel Manzano and Fabian Manzano. There’s something special about siblings performing tougher in a band, history shows great success with bands of brothers or sisters. Maybe it’s the family bond that makes them standout or the inherent vocal qualities that harmonise so well. And they don’t just do acoustic covers, they have also released a couple of albums with original music, think Switchfoot meets the Goo Goo Dolls with a smidgen of extra tenderness thrown in for good measure.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

The 21 song setlist contained mostly cover with originals sprinkled in, and of course, an acoustic segment at about the halfway mark, when their tour drummer, Jason Burros, took break and Daniel sat in on the cajón, that wooden beatbox thing you actual sit on as you play. Highlights for me, included a medley of Oasis songs, the Foo Fighters classic, “Everlong”, and a track by Bruno Mars, “Locked out of Heaven”, all respectably performed, not just copycats of the originals.
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iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

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What struck me though, although mostly covers for the evening, they performed them like they were their own, with conviction. You could actually sense that they had a connection with each and every song. Maybe, not just choosing them because of their popularity, but because they experienced a bond with the words or the melody.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

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iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

Stage production was alluring, not overdone done but thoughtful in it’s design and a pleasant balance with intriguing lighting effects playing off some well placed smoke. They utilised one of my favourite stage effects, a smoke machine that creates a denser ‘fog’ so it lingers close to the ground and doesn’t block the artist face. Also throwing in periodic blasts of smoke from small cannon’s attached to the front edge of the stage and to top it all off with confetti at the end of the encore.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

They regularly changed guitars throughout the concert, but not just for amusement, done intentionally to tweak the sound to accompany the song itself. Daniel performs on the bass guitar with an animated style, always intriguing to watch, generally bass players don’t move around too much. At the end of the show he even climbed up on the drum kit and jumped off from a decent height.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

Not much chatter in between tracks, Alejandro introduced his bothers and himself to the crowd, which brought an uproar from the fans. No need really to introduce the well-known songs themselves, everyone knew exactly what was next, within the first few notes. Expectedly, the Pilipino crowd sang along, of course, in unison and in tune. “We got some singers out there, I swear the Philippines has got some of the best singers in the world!”, Alejandro stated with a knowing tone but still in disbelief, it’s not their first time performing here. They’ve also collaborated with some other artists who have made their road to fame on YouTube, some who have also performed in the PH, Kina Grannis, Tiffany Alford and Alex Goot.
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iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

 

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

“Thanks for supporting us, when we first played in Manila, February 2009, and that was the first time we had ever played anywhere outside the States and you guys came out in the thousands to support us and we’ve never forgotten that, so thank you”, then after a brief pause, Alejandro spoke in Tagalog “Mahal namin kayo”…“We love you!” When they did say something it was meaningful and with a humble quality.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

A common theme tonight, in that all the groups began their musical journey in cyberspace, and they were just as impressive live, as they are on video. Boyce Avenue performed with passion, this was no glorified karaoke night. Now having grown beyond the moniker of a YouTube sensation, this band of accomplished musicians and consummate performers, are known internationally. One of those groups on the cusp of super stardom and if they can wrangle up a hit song or two of their own, it’ll send them to the stratosphere. Of course, you’ll evaluate what’s on the cover of a book, that’s human nature, but the trick is not to jump to conclusions.
iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like…

Thanks going out to Ovation Productions for another well done event…

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