A gig where the audience isn’t holding onto their phones is possible — just ask Kwago

Photos by Alyssa De Asis and Michael Lorenzana for Echoes PH

 

There’s something thrilling about not knowing where the party’s at. I had to ask around a few times to locate where Warehouse Eight was, and I had to walk down a dark alleyway to find where the light was coming from. The slightly hidden area is sandwiched between well-known spots along Chino Roces Extension — making it feel like a covert hideaway from all the festivities happening around nearby bars.

Once you go in though, the scene gets a bit hard to fully encapsulate. The event itself has the nuances of a gig, but has the intimacy of a Friday evening hangout with friends. It is reminiscent of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, but in a way that’s uniquely their own. Shoes were scattered all over the floor, and no phones are allowed inside the Echoes Bedroom. I guess that’s Echoes for you — a place where you can drink, hang, and listen to music without unnecessary noise.

“We really wanted a place where we could listen to live gigs but still interact with people where it feels intimate,” says Echoes co-founder Kayla Dionisio. Along with Kwago’s founder Czyka Tumaliuan, the two started arranging monthly nightcaps as a platform for musicians to play and hone their craft. It then evolved into a community where a bunch of creatives could showcase their work and share their passion.

Traces of the artists’ works can be seen all over the place too — including the pantry, where guests can lounge while food and drinks are served. A beer tower can be seen around the corner that features excellent craft beer from Craftpoint Brewing Co., a partnership that started out from a cold email. As co-owner Marvin Moreno puts it, “It’s nice that you’re drinking something na in a way, art din.”

There is no definitive divide between the artists and guests in Echoes. In Echoes bedroom, there was literally no stage, as guests sat on the floor with their shoes off. A disposable camera was passed around along with shots of communal gin. Since phones weren’t allowed, we were able to pause and really take in the moment. “The idea of [Echoes] was so interesting that I couldn’t resist… You’re not bound by just music, and you meet people and share that idea that you have something that defines you other than your job,” says Migi de Belen of Nights of Rizal, who delighted the audience with his loose and compelling set. Poets took center stage as well, each with their own materials that resonated much better with an audience that wasn’t looking down at their phones.

Michael Lorenza is a former guest-turned-videographer. He captures the essence of Echoes by saying, “It’s really how authentic it seems compared to usual events. I consider myself an introvert, and it’s difficult to feel comfortable usually, but they’re really welcoming.”

The evening is filled with small surprises, as Echoes isn’t one to play by the rules. Towards the end of the night, I found myself hanging at the pantry with newfound friends, talking about our
“day” lives and having a tote bag count among the guests. As Kayla put it, “I hope they can take back a really good memory or meet someone good, something that they can really remember.”

 

You can read more about Echoes and their upcoming events on Warehouse Eight’s Facebook and website.