UP Dharma Down (Philippines)

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Live Review from Underground 51:
In from the Philippines, Up Dharma Down took the stage and began to plug their CD even before fingers had touched strings, keys or sticks. With good reason too – these are songs worth buying, before the stock markets turn us upside down again and give us another good shake.
Starting up, the band offered a Cocteau Twins kind of vibe, but with drums hit like John Bonham. A pleasing combination. You might call it belligerent soul.
Singer Armi Millare looked the Underground right in the eye and pulled together some jazzy instrumentation under a commanding vocal. Second and third songs pushed the boundaries further, blending theatrical elements of prog rock into the mix.
Perhaps five bands in one night was a little much, for the crowd seemed entertained but slightly less than gripped, and by song five, you could hear the background conversation volume increase. But the band had the last say with a pulsing, pounding closing number in tagalong that stopped the chat.
Millare is certainly the centre of attention, yet it’s hard to describe her appeal.
Imagine, if you can, an attractive, female Roger Waters. Actually don’t try that at home. Go and see Up Dharma Down for yourself.
Paul M

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