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Tuesday, April 11, 2023

SA WAKAS NAPANUOD DIN KITA: Dan Labayo's story of finally seeing the Sugarfree side of Ebe Dancel

04/11/2023 02:26:11 PM

Editor's Note: On a busy month of March, Ebe Dancel staged a repeat of his recent successful show about Sugarfree's 20th anniversary of album Sa Wakas. Once again, Dan Labayo covered us all with thi blog post below. Check them out.

The event name captured exactly the thoughts in my mind – SA WAKAS (FINALLY), I was able to see Ebe Dancel perform his famous songs from Sugarfree as well as his own tunes. Sugarfree was one of the bands that I listened to a lot during my younger years. I was so excited to go to this event, and what happened was way beyond what I expected for that night. 

Ebe reprised the 20th anniversary of Sugarfree’s album, “Sa wakas” that night, as such the title was headlined #sawakastherepeat. This time, Red Ollero opened the event. <S>andwich came after him. Then, Ebe and his Sugarfree bandmate Mitch Singson for the rest of the night. I have to mention, though: this was the first musical event I attended that had a stand-up comedian for the opening act, and it wasn’t bad at all (in fact, it was awesome). For the longest time, I wanted to see Red Ollero. So it was a definitely thrill for me to see him on stage and perform, and (yeah, get a selfie with him after his set.


This event was a roller-coaster journey of some sorts for me. At times, I didn’t know whether I would shoot photos with my camera, or maybe abandon shooting and just shoot a video. And there were times that I actually did both. Yes, that’s why the videos came a bit shaky. Initially, I wanted to do the most though was to have both my camera and mobile phone go and just stand there to listen. A lot of Ebe’s songs made up the playlist of my college and highschool life, and for me to listen to them live cannot be easily described by words. Thank goodness he performed a long set! If this was a normal set, 3-4 songs wouldn’t have cut it. Well, Ebe sang 23 songs for almost two hours, with only a 15-minute break in between.

Ebe started his long set from the ground running with Sugarfree’s hits “Prom”, and “Kung ayaw mo na sa akin.”. Yeah, I wanted to freak out and just sing but I needed to shoot but I guess I managed to do all of that, while singing.   After this, Sugarfree’s former drummer, Mitch Singson, joined Ebe on stage. With him manning the drumset, (UGH THE NOSTALGIA), Ebe played the band's earliest songs, “Telepono” and “Mariposa”. I WAS ALIVE WHEN THESE TRACKS WENT OUT AND WHEN I WAS A KID I LOVED THEM RIGHT OFF THE BAT. I SWEAR! Being able to finally hear them live is more than a treat for me.   

And the hits just kept on coming. After Ebe played Fade Away alone, The Manila String Machine joined him to play Kandila, Kwarto, and Wala Nang Hihilingin. I managed to shoot a video of Kwarto which I will upload soon. 

Gab of Parokya ni Edgar was there, and this was his first time attending an event after his operation.

Ebe also expressed his gratitude to Mitch on stage by thanking him and giving him the floor for a few words. The scene was very touchy. I captured some photos of it. And although they may be blurred, but oftentimes we can sacrifice perfection for the emotion as photographers and this is one of those moments for me. 

The show ended with Sugarfree’s top song (At least, the most played in Spotify), Burnout. In that moment, I decided to put my stuff aside and watch. And it was totally worth it. 

Ebe’s songs always hit us in certain ways. It may give us kilig moments, like when he play Makita Kang Muli (I can still hear Jericho Rosales yell ‘LIZARDOOOOO’ when I hear this song lol), or Bawat Daan. You may relate to it when you listen to Hari ng Sablay whenever you feel like you could not do anything right with your life. When you just got off a relationship breakup, you listen to Kwarto. Then, when you're on your way to moving on, even if the feeling won’t really go away, listening to “Burnout” had that effect. 

That’s what made Ebe’s songs so special – it pretty much, in his own way, his former band’s sounds way, captures life as it is. You accept your life’s the low parts, you relate, and maybe know a bit more about yourself.   

This is one of the most memorable moments that I have as a music photographer, and I am forever in debt to the persons that made this happen, especially Ebe. 

PS..: I finally have a selfie with him too 😊

All photographs are taken by Dan Labayo. Special thanks to Backspacer Records and GNN Entertainment for having The SlickMaster's Files cover the event.

Authors: slickmaster, Dan Labayo | © 2023 The SlickMaster's Files

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