Monday, November 16, 2009

It’s Eevee, Babes

ENZO Villegas just wanted to have a girlfriend. He and his bandmates got more than what he bargained for.

Less than 24 hours before Manny Pacquiao won an unprecedented seventh world title by methodically beating the bloody pulp out of Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas, a little known band from Davao City was making a little history of their own at the Ninoy Aquino Sports Stadium in Manila. In what many consider to be a stunning upset, Eevee, whose pop-rock sound easily recalls the Eraserheads and Sugarfree bested 12 other worthy contenders to win the 5th Nescafe 3-in-1 Soundskool 2009 Battle of the Best College Bands.

The seven-month old band, whose name is basically a wordplay on its lead singer’s initials, is also composed of Paolo Raymundo Segura on lead guitar, Jerrick Sy on bass and Craig Neniel on drums. With a very catchy original song, “Gusto Ko Lang Ng Girlfriend,” a deceptively clever ditty about longing for not just a girlfriend but a “girlfriend na walang sabit,” Eevee captured the imagination of the panel of judges composed of Sony Music Entertainment executives Vic Valenciano and Jinno Mina, Souncreation Studio head Shinji Tanaka, band manager Darwin Hernandez and Nescafe Philippines Marketing Promotions head Yayin Bangcoro.

In a spectacular grand finale, the show’s opening sequence showed videos of the finalists from the early qualifying stages to the interviews with the judges to the radio tours, the photo shoots and the workshop, mentoring and team building sessions in Boracay. I have to say that all finalists were very fortunate to experience this kind of special treatment. Other battle of the bands contests or any other similar competition for that matter, could learn a thing or two from the way the Nescafe organization took its annual Soundskool event very seriously and how it has invested heavily on this particular talent search. This was a first rate production from the word go.

Following the tried and tested format of the finalists performing with their mentor bands together before getting their last chance to impress the judges with their final original number, the Grand Finals night is not without its own share of highlight reels including the pleasantly odd combination of Soundskool alum Hilera and finalist Disco…Disco…Disco, the seasoned stage presence of Play, the show-stopping vocal stylings of Daryl Garlando of Lady Suzette and a surprisingly killer rendition of the slow-burning, stop-and-go, six-minute epic, “In Case of Fire” by Sandwich and Nameless Heroes, the band that many including myself predicted to win it all.

But the night belonged to Eevee, who also covered Rico J. Puno’s “Macho Guwapito” during the early rounds and more than held their own in their number with mentor band, Pedicab. Winning this year’s derby also meant taking home P250,000 in cash, P100,000 worth of music equipment for their school, the Philippine Women’s University of Davao and more importantly, an exclusive record label deal with Sony Music.

When I asked him if he still wants a girlfriend after winning all these prizes, Enzo just smiled and sheepishly replied, “Gusto ko pa rin ng girlfriend. Maghahanap na lang ako ng ibang topic para sa mga susunod naming mga kanta.”

With their victory, girls should no longer be that hard to come by for these lads. Their Facebook fan base has been growing by leaps and bounds since then. Ah, the things that dreams are made of. And I stood up Katy Perry for this? Just kidding. Best of luck to Eevee, of course. And hats off, as well, to Nescafe 3-in-1 Soundskool 2009.

(Band photo taken from Eevee's Facebook fan page as added by Rica Segura Villanueva.)

Here’s Eevee in an early performance of their hit-bound tune:

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