William Elvin and the Circus Tour

DSC00262.JPG Live review from Underground Rustic:

1. Tomorrow’s Left Behind
2. Miss Elizabeth
3. How’s The Bed, Sandy?
4. Bubblegum Blues
5. 10/23
6. On My Way To Calvary
7. Encore: The Circus Is In Town

在風格上,四人組合William Elvin and The Circus Tour充分展現了美國九十年代另類搖滾的瘋狂。當晚,筆者覺得自己彷彿正在觀看Foo Fighters、Smashing Pumpkins光輝歲月的MTV Unplugged表演:雖然使用木結他,但是一點也不acoustic,在小小的酒吧內,聲音反而有點混濁。然而,來自菲律賓主音William Elvin是一名出色的作曲家,最值得欣賞的是兩首節奏較慢的情歌Miss Elizabeth和10/23,歌曲表露出思鄉、抑鬱的情緒。而他樂隊的The Circus Tour,只能說是一隊十分專業的組合,在半個小時的表演中,筆者實在找不出任何一拍、任何一個音符出現瑕疵。
– Elson Tong

True to the band’s name, William Elvin and the Circus Tour performed an entertaining and colourful show. Optimistic opener Tomorrow’s Left Behind included the uplifting lines “It’s time to dream again" from lead singer William Elvin Manzano as his voice soared, bringing a sense of joy to the Hong Kong-based Filipino band.

We’re singing some new songs,” Manzano told the crowd, before launching into fresh track Miss Elizabeth. The sun-soaked opening chords and warmth to the singer’s voice recalled Van Morrison crossed with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, while the influence of Stereophonics could also be heard in the bright acoustic early 00s guitar playing.

The song was full of allusions to god and destiny, bringing a slight religious edge to the songwriting.

A falsetto chorus paired with Rico Cristobal Jr’s soft and sumptuous bass line on How’s The Bed, Sandy?, before Bubblegum Blues segued into a big, bluesy showtune with the husky vocal intonation of Elvis over a lolloping beat. It was clear Manzano’s forte was the blues: his voice oozed soulfulness and showmanship. Meanwhile, the drummer was cucumber cool, leading the group into a crashing crescendo with shouts of "Hoh!"

Then, Manzano announced, "We’re gonna play a love song, you’ll probably think of me as a smooshy romantic after this!" to the sound of cheering and whistles. The song, 10/23, lived up to his promise, its falsetto-laden verses giving a ballad feel. Guitarist Andrea Charity Battad played major chord rhythms while Manzano picked his way through a starry-eyed melody, while singing about how some people build walls, yet others choose to love. Topical stuff, brilliantly composed.

Penultimate track On My Way To Calvary was a coiled spring of tension and energy, beginning with heavy strumming that recalled The Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man. The drums snapped and rattled as the song built in intensity and Manzano’s guitar took on a more aggressive punk tone. "Now I stand before my God, I hope I don’t die in vain," he sang amid the cacophony. After calls for an encore, Battad swapped out with another player, and The Circus Tour rounded off the set with a Kinks-style guitar jangle. A jolly finale to a very solid show that left the audience wanting more.
– El Jay

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Performances by William Elvin and the Circus Tour: