It pays to check the IG Stories.
Without it we might have missed the opportunity to watch Rivers and Robots live. I’ve been listening to them for quite a while but their newly released album, Discovery, got me hooked to this Christian indie band from Manchester. A combination of acoustic, indie folk and atmospheric sound (that’s the “Rivers”) with a bit live electronic (that’s the “Robots”) blended with Ogden’s smooth vocals creates this once a bedroom project into a 4 piece band. Later on I appreciated their early albums and Jonathan Ogden (the lead vocalist) solo EP’s. I’m into metal core right now (with bands like Wolves at the Gate, For Today and Memphis May Fire) and listening to Rivers and Robots (plus that IDM group, Tycho) are polar opposite of my diverse musical taste.
Our preparation for the concert took us a month. First I bought 2 tickets from SM Batangas City (by early November, I grab one for Joan) since it’s so hard to get it online. I then check the location on Google Map because I’m not familiar with place. It’s near Magallanes which is the first provincial bus stop going to Cubao. Then the venue is part of Green Sun hotel. I told my wife that the concert venue has a hotel so she decided to book us a room with free breakfast buffet. We don’t want to go home that night after the concert, tired while travelling 70 miles back to home. We rather hit the sack right away after the show. This trip is my late treat for my wife’s birthday and as a gift to Joan’s 18th birthday debut. We had her choose between having a debut celebration or going to a concert with hotel accommodation. Obviously she picked the later. Good girl!
We hit early in the road to avoid traffic since it’s a Friday. We checked in the hotel about 3 PM, took some rest to prepare for the concert. Then it started to rain heavily. By 5 PM, we took a 5 minute walk to the nearest Jollibee to have our early dinner. Good thing the rain had stopped. Going back to the hotel, we first check the venue to see if people are already there. It was on the 3rd floor of Green Sun. Well the folks who got the meet and greet tickets were still there so we headed back to our room and change our clothes. So by 6: 20 PM we fall in line to wait for 7 PM for the doors to open. The line wasn’t that long or overcrowded.
Once they ushered us in the Eye (sounds like Illuminati stuff!) we were treated to a spectacle of 360 degree proportions! I haven’t seen something like it (the band was surprise also). Walls turned into canvas as it projects some artworks and videos related to Rivers and Robots. But we are more interested on where we will sit. I ask the ushers for their opinions but my wife suggest we should seat near the stairs of the stage. It’s free seating as the ticket indicates so since we are early to come in we get to choose the best ones. The place is not a big concert hall as we expect so anywhere you sit you’ll be close to the stage. That It gives this intimate feel to the concert. Not bad for us who got the 500 peso ticket.
As we look around, people are filling up the seats but there are still vacant seats when the show started. We estimate 400 people in attendance. It took 1 hour and a half for the show to begin (why that long Becca Music?!), and since some of the concert goers are eating their dinner on their seats as they wait for the band, I decided to go back to our room to get some bottled water and our raisin bread because we started to feel hungry. But soon as I got back to our seats, the band enters in and took the stage. People starts to clap and cheer as each of them climb up on stage and took their instruments. They’re ready to give us an awesome night!
They open their show with Dreams, the first song in their latest album then followed by the second song also on that album, Call Your Name. The repertoire consists of mostly their new album and few of their earlier songs:
We Will Overcome
Brighter than the Sun
Boldly I Approach
Burn For You
Acoustic set– The Bridegroom and White as Snow
Lift Up My Eyes
Shepherd of My Soul
Know You More
The crowd favorites were the first two songs, Provider and Lift Up My Eyes. Jonathan sang two solo acoustic that made the whole venue went pin drop silence.
The 1 hour and 30 minute show ends with the song Waiting for You. With its catchy and happy vibe it launches us in feel good mood. After that, that was it! It’s a wrap! We trying to cheer them back to stage for an encore but they didn’t. One whole set with no breaks and no front acts. Anyways the show was a blast. What more can we ask for. The band was amazing! Even as I write this (after 3 weeks) I can still feel that performance. Listening to them in Spotify is one thing and it’s another level to see them live. My wife and Joan are now hardcore fans of the band (my wife’s” fall into sleep” music is Jonathan Ogden’s EPs and Joan listens to Discovery while doing her chores).
After the show I approached a familiar face to say Hi. Its pastor Kit and his wife. We had our pictures and talk for a moment. Would love to chat some more but I told my wife and Joan wants to go to our room because they’re so sleepy. Another familiar face we met (by accident) is Phoebe, daughter of author Marlene Legaspi-Munar, in the elevator going down to the lobby.
Before we go to our room I check them in the hall to their rooms. No soul found. I think all the guests (including them) are now sleeping. So we went inside to call it a day.
The next day, me, my wife and Joan lost all hope to have pictures and get the CD signed by the band. But as we check out of the hotel that morning so sad and a Grab taxi is waiting for us outside, all of the sudden we saw Jonathan walking at the lobby. That was after I decided to go to the bistro to check if they are having breakfast. Nathan was there so I ask for a signature and a picture. Coming back to see my wife and Joan, Jonathan was at the lobby (I think he’s shot a part of their video blog) going to the bistro to have breakfast. Wow talk about providence! We took the opportunity, have pictures and got the CD signed. I wish to go back to that moment because I have lots of things to say to Jonathan. The only words I was able to say was “Are going to have breakfast?” I should have said something else! Anyways, we went home so happy and with a new appreciation of the band. Thank you Becca Music for bring the lads of Manchester to the Philippines! And to Rivers and Robots God bless you as you reach the world with the music and the gospel! Hope to see you soon!