UNDER THE RADAR
Clubbing has always been alive in Metro Manila. It became popular in the ‘90s when ravers would dance to old school tunes like “Higher and Higher” and “Till I Come”. These are ‘90s dance hits that popularized trance music in the country. If you were a raver, you probably remember wearing goggle shades and elephant pants inside a dark, cold club.
Meet Bullet Martin, a 29-year-old advertising exec, who remembers every moment of his younger days as a parteeh boy. Among the popular spots Martin and his friends frequented were Kemistry in Malate, ABG's and Sambo’s along Pasay Road and Seven-Eight Orange on Makati Avenue.
“Honestly, it was what drove us every week. We always looked forward to a stress-free weekend. We made mistakes and tried a lot of nasty things in the past. But we grew up and learned our lessons. What I don’t regret are the friendships we built along the way,” he says.
24-HOUR PARTY PEOPLE
Martin and his barkada would meet at the nearby McDo before heading to the club. A few minutes after midnight, they were already sipping the famous puñeta drink, a concoction of pineapple juice and rum. Before 2 a.m., the crowd was jumping to the speeding electronica music.
After the hop-dancing years at Sambo's, the spotlight turned to dance events produced by groups like Groove Nation and Natural Born Klubbers (NBK) in the late ‘90s.
“Some call them consortiums. I just call them events. It was those days when new TV series were launched through dance consortiums. Then, event groups would bring international star DJs like Paul van Dyk and Ferry Corsten to venues like Enterprise Tower and the World Trade Center,” he shares.
Since then, electronica has become a mainstream in Manila’s party scene and so did the glowsticks.
“Late last year, we heard rumors that an underground club was to be opened. We didn’t know if it was true. It reminded me of the warehouse event in the famous American indie film Groove. It’s about time,” Martin says.
The news was indeed true. After the launch of Primero’s new events group Driven Manila, the main man decided to turn a 20-year-old, 600-sq.m. warehouse on 135 Yakal St., Makati into a party capital. Last Feb. 3, Warehouse 135 opened its doors to Manila clubbers with a new lifestyle. Fashionistas, who are not just limited to elephant pants, flaunt getups inspired by fashion from different decades. Old clubbers promote the love for dancing and the latest music from both foreign and local spinners.
“It’s got the right stuff,” he enthuses.
Apart from having a spacious dance floor, Warehouse 135’s appeal would be the fusion of modern and industrial designs. If that’s not enough, Warehouse promises to place the country in the global map by using special effects by Martin Mac and sound architecture by Eastern Acoustic Works (winner of “Best Sound System” and “Best Sound Product” at the 2006 Club World Awards). RnB, hip-hop, new school and sexy dance music are among the club’s eclectic lineup.
THE REBIRTH OF UNDERGROUND
Warehouse 135’s grand opening was not to be missed. It showed Manila’s evolution in culture, fashion, technology and music. International DJ Shunji Moriwaki represented today’s global music, while DJs Anton Ramos (famous for his Chillout Project) and Elmer Dado played for the local scene. The tickets cost P700, which is the usual price of events these days.
Another smashing event was Warehouse 135’s Chinese New Year Party, which brought back one of world’s hottest female DJs, Lisa Loud. The “first lady of dance music” rocked the night with her strong and tribal beats.
Then last summer, The Jude Lee Experiment and Erwin Edralin were the spin stars at “Driven Boracay.” Manila’s party scene moved to Bora, which happens every year. Beachfront hot spot Hey Jude was the perfect venue for Driven Manila’s summer event. It’s not just about the beach anymore. Boracay became a large sandy disco.
Last night, DJ-producer Steve Porter came to Warehouse 135 (www.drivenmanila.com) to play his famous blend of breaks, house, trance and techno. The American DJ famous for his “Porterhouse” remixes began producing music at 16. Since 1999, he has toured the globe with spin stars and has produced 50 originals and 30 remixes. David Jacob of NBK/Kee Club-Hong Kong also played tracks of today’s electronica. So who ever said the dancing’s over?
The party never stops.
Note: This is a true account about an electronica fan and is not intended as a historical piece. The flow of information is in context of mainstream culture.
Photos by Daniel Tan for Driven Manila