Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Sixteen musical acts and hundreds of their fans gathered at Greenfield District on May 18, braving the sweltering 33 degree weather for summer music festival Summer Noise. As Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner put it, “It’s so fucking hot here. I can’t believe you guys have been [out] there this whole time.”
It’s one of the risks you have to face when organizing an outdoor music festival — you can’t exactly control the elements. It’s also much more difficult to control sound quality outdoors. Despite this, it’s difficult to say that Summer noise wasn’t a blast, what with an impressive lineup of acts that put on one great show after the other.
Among the standout sets were opener hip-hop collective Uprising, which performed political songs like Kemikal Ali and BLKD's “Mister Lamon” while members dressed as congressmen and goons threw money all over the stage and images of politicians and poverty in the Philippines were flashed on big screens.
Cynthia Alexander started off with a disclaimer (“Warning, paos ako”). She was backed by her band of frequent collaborators, delivering a performance that could only be described as a much needed respite, a calmness amid the political frenzy we endured the week prior.
In a Summer Noise exclusive, tide/edit was joined onstage by The Ringmaster’s Francis Lorenzo, who added a tinge of his dream pop sound to tide/edit’s usual post-rock. Whether it was a conscious decision by the production or purely coincidental for the group to play just as the sun was setting, it created the perfect, near-dreamy atmosphere for the sonic collab.
The band debuted two songs they had worked on with Lorenzo. “First time namin magkaroon ng third guitar player onstage,” said guitarist Clarence Garcia. “Pagkatapos ng set amin na ‘yung gitara niya,” he joked.
Those who expected to chill out and relax to bedroom pop beats of Norwegian artist Jakob Ogawa were instead given a shortened set that was mired in back and forth discussions between Ogawa’s band and the tech team. At one point, the singer called out those in the tech booth for “not doing their jobs right.”
Australian dance-rock band Last Dinosaurs kicked things back into high gear with an energetic set that turned the crowd into a sea of bobbing heads and flailing arms with their hits “Apollo,” “Italo Disco,” and “Eleven.”
Experimental pop act Japanese Breakfast — American musician Michelle Zauner’s solo project — brought even more fun to the stage as Zauner alternated between playing guitar and dancing around the stage and, at times, on the amps below to sing to fans and hold their hands.
The band played songs off second album, “Soft Sounds from Another Planet,” their newest single “Essentially,” and a heartrending cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams.”
Closing the night with boyish charm and mellow tunes was returning act Thai singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit.