May 31, 2016

Music, moshpits and mayhem at Pulp Summer Slam 16

It wasn't until arriving at Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City that I realized they weren't exaggerating when they said "biggest metal music fest in Southeast Asia." The place was packed with people. People dressed in black. From the bleachers they looked like ants, swarming, slam-dancing in an organized sort of chaos, the way ants do around crumbs of food. The food, in this case, was music.

Pulp Summer Slam is an annual music festival organized by Philippine-based, music-centric publication, Pulp Magazine. It is the largest and longest-running metal fest in South East Asia. I first heard about Pulp Summer Slam some years ago from a friend and fellow writer, a Manileño and old-school rocker who shared my penchant for the kind of music  your mother wouldn't sing to you. I've been itching to go ever since.

Ecstatic doesn't even begin to describe my feeling when I found out last February that Lacuna Coil was one of the eight international acts headlining Pulp Summer Slam 16. I've been listening to the Italian gothic metal band since high school. I forged some of my closest friendships over Lacuna Coil and mix CDs of their songs. It was undeniably a sign from the metal gods that this year would be my initiation into The Slam.

On April 30, I braved boisterous crowds and the hellfire that is the Philippine summer. For what? I'm not entirely sure. I normally hate crowds and raucous public events. But my normal self also feels, most of the time, like an outsider looking in. So my normal self hungers perpetually for adventure and connection and sensory experience. These are the things that move me out of my mind. These are things that I sought and found at the moshpits of Pulp Summer Slam 16, in the heady swirl of music and mayhem.

My takeaway from the experience, because there's always a takeaway, is this: beneath the chaos and carousing, the slam dancing and smoke, our politics and predilections, we are all just ephemeral creatures in search of something - a voice, meaning, connections. And, sometimes, diving head first into the depths of human experience is what it takes to find that something.

Pulp Summer Slam 16 lineup:

Lacuna Coil / Belphegor / We Are Harlot / Veil of Maya / I Killed the Prom Queen / Protest the Hero / Act of Defiance / Volumes / Greyhoundz / Slapshock / Razorback / Kjwan / Wilabaliw / Insekto Pares

For updates on future Pulp Summer Slam events, follow the official Pulp Magazine Website and their Facebook Page

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