Gigging: Stonefree Reunion feat. Join the Club

When I was sixteen, I was in a state of band frenzy. It was, after all, a great time for Original Pilipino Music (OPM). Local bands were playing on the radio, music videos were seen on TV, and gigs were everywhere. I was a college freshman then, and I lived, breathed and embraced the freedom that I mustered soon as I was out of my nun-advised alma mater.

I fell in love a couple of times those days, over three to four minutes of lyrics and melodies. So when it all died down and the local bands started disappearing – so did my enthusiasm for local music. One of the bands who went AWOL on us it seems – were Stonefree and Join the Club.

I never saw the band Join the Club play live then but my roommate had a copy of their debut album. We would crank that up and play it in full volume. I have a personal preference for their single “Lunes” over their hit “Nobela” and enjoyed “Tinig” and “Dekada”. The rest of the tracks are faint in my memory – and sadly my roommate never got her CD back from a classmate who probably ripped the hell out of that and still decided to keep it.

So when I finally saw Join the Club on stage last Tuesday night, I couldn’t help but feel proud. I’m pretty sure that 16-year-old me would look up to 24-year-old me and say, “You’re so cool.” That’s right, cause I finally saw JTC. And I’m old enough to order beer. And I can go home past midnight without my mom calling me.



Mostly, it’s because it felt like fulfilling a young girl’s dream – mine, weirdly – and I felt really warm and happy at the time that I sat there grinning at the band 90% of the time. Of course, grinning didn’t feel like a task as lead Biboy worked that stage and made us all laugh during intervals by making jokes about Stonefree.

Stonefree, on the other hand, I got to see live. It was big concert, headlined by Parokya ni Edgar. I have very little recollection of the night, as we were standing on a field with mud on our toes, raindrops falling on our heads and a curfew that eventually killed the party. I did, however, remember their performance of “Ikot” to which they asked everyone to sing along to the last lines, “Tuloy-tuloy ang ikot ng mundo” as they repeat it for several times. It was their set’s ‘moment’ in my opinion, and it was one of the few things that resonated in me.

But as I was standing far from the stage and was miserable under the rain despite having the best company then (wink wink Roy), I never really observed Stonefree that much. So I was delighted to sit a couple of meters away from the band (and even an arm’s length away from the vocalist when he was having a quick chat with JTC’s lead after they stepped out of stage) and see them perform a little bit more intimately.

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The verdict is that they are endearing, up close. Since it was the original line-up’s reunion, Miro (vocals) told us stories of how the band started out and a whiff of nostalgia was in the air. They were such good sports too – that despite the two drunkards possibly ruining their moment on stage, they were able to quip and play along.

It was a good night – and take the word ‘good’ for the complete sense of it. I didn’t want to leave 70s Bistro that night, I wanted to stay and cling to my memories and at the same time, take in everything that was happening that night. And it tore me to pieces to wake up the next day not knowing when I’ll see them again.

I shouldn’t be too dramatic – they’d probably play a few more shows, right? Right?

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