“It’s Friday. People show up late right? I know it’s only 8:15, show’s at 9:00…” Carousel Casualties vocalist/guitarist Emmie Villegas is anxious for the band’s launch in Saguijo for the Madison EPYes, it’s early, but inside the bar, four tables are already filled. Normally, even at the scheduled start time, having one table occupied is somewhat okay. It’s a good sign, he is reassured, people will come. He helps set up the band’s merch table and tarpaulin.

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The merch table. By night’s end, the supply of cds was sold out

“Do you think people will come?” he asks again, and not for the last time within fifteen minutes.

The response: “It’s Friday night, looks like rain, dude. I think people have better things to do.” It’s fun to play with Villegas’s trepidations. He delivers a weak peal of nervous laughter.

“Will you just relax??”

Fast forward to the band’s opening song there hours later: Saguijo is packed wall-to-wall.

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Carousel Casualties: a mild-mad bunch

The title for the EP is actually short for “madness in unison” explains the Anglophile Villegas: “Madison is taken from our song called “Flats”, and it describes a state of mind where you are most comfortable, yet very insane with so much thoughts in your mind but somehow you manage to be calm. Thus, madness in unison.”

The night itself was an exercise in variation and escalation as each guest band brought its own unique sound that collectively celebrates the creative health of the indie music scene.

For example, Banna Harbera and Rob and The Hitmen played jazz-inflected soul-funk.

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Banna Harbera performing the groovy song “Persistence”.
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Rob and the Hitmen with Banna Harbera’s Jake Masigan

Kissling’s music combines 60s inspired rock’n’roll with a dose of post-punk energy.

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Kissling

Moonwlk‘s electropop filled the bar with an extra shot of energy, with Nick Lazaro urging the crowd to buy the Carousel Casualties EP because “it’s really f**kin’ good!” Lazaro made sure of it: he is the producer, after all.

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Gabbi Buencamino and Nick Lazaro of Moonwlk

Paranoid City suffered from Friday night traffic and made it to their performance slot just in time although they had to make do minus synth player Rommel Celespara. He made it just as the band wrapped up their set.

Paranoid City's Dax Balmeo
Paranoid City’s Dax Balmeo
Japo Anareta of Paranoid City
Japo Anareta (r) and Eric Strange of Paranoid City

Meanwhile, the members of Carousel Casualties signed copies of their EP.

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Carousel Casualties captain Emmie Villegas
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Co-guitarist Pau Villanueva
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Bassist Jot Nicanor
And drummer Xavier Lucente
And drummer Xavier Lucente

Villegas’s worries at the start of the evening were unfounded. While most of their guest bands have their own sets of fans, it was clear that everybody did show up to soak in and sing the Casualties’ melodic indie-pop/post-rock tunes. The band is clearly an indie community favourite and ran through their set with a joyful energy they shared with the crowd. Cries of “more!!!” were met with a triumphant cover of “Ang Huling El Bimbo” which–while providing an endearing closer– was also a tad unnecessary. The Madison tracks and the band’s joie de vivre–a mild madness, if you likewere the reasons for the success of the launch anyway.

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After the launch, Villegas reflects: “I never expected that people would actually show up and fill the whole place. When we started this band together, our primary goal was just to have fun and properly record the demos to be shared with our friends and families. I believe that this EP launch marks another milestone in our lives as musicians. It gives us so much happiness knowing that our music can reach beyond what’s expected. And with that thought, we aim to work thrice as hard to deliver far beyond the depths of our craft.”

Carousel Casualties’ Madison EP is currently only available during their gigs. Check out their official Facebook page for details and updates.

Photos by Francis Reyes

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