What we learned from Ben&Ben and Clara Benin (and their fans) at Karpos Live Mix 2.2

Photos by Gian Nicdao

 

Two years ago, it would’ve been unthinkable for two indie-originating acts to headline a concert in a major events tent, much less perform an hour-and-a-half-long set to a packed crowd.

But Karpos Live has blessed us with two purely local affairs in only a matter of months. For the Mix 2.2 show last Oct. 6 at the ABS-CBN Vertis Tent, they had Munimuni as opening act, and the three Bs — Ben & Ben and Clara Benin featured as co-headliners. Clever name pairing, sure, but also a musical combination that made for a helluva show. Clara’s slow and steady acoustic jams perfectly complemented Ben & Ben’s high energy folk hits.

[READ: Munimuni takes a spiritual approach to the folk rock genre]

Both acts have been in the gig circuit for a couple of years now, so we’re beyond excited that the local music scene (covering both indie and mainstream) has reached a point where it’s thriving to this degree. In the name of answering the hows and whats of this rapid rise, we used last week’s show as an opportunity to ask some fans. Here are their answers, plus some other things we learned from the show.

Family affair : Clara Benin takes the stage with her dad, Joey Benin.

Clara Benin is a literal fairy with a mesmerizing voice. That bit during Riverchild where the ballet dancer appeared while Clara sang and strummed her guitar? Ethereal. By the time Parallel Universe came up, we had to dab away a couple of tears. Sidenote: her makeup was also poppin’ — that highlight was visible from where we stood near the back of the room (Clara, if you’re reading this, please drop the shade name).

Clara’s dad is Joey Benin, former member of Side A. You know, the one responsible for penning the hit Forevermore. The elder Benin played guitar with his daughter during the first portion of her set.

Maliwanag: Lead vocalists Paolo and Miguel Guico wore matching jackets during their set.

Many concert-goers didn’t know the exact number of Ben & Ben members (or their names). After talking to a couple of them, we concluded that when it comes to Ben & Ben, it’s the music that matters anyway. No judging, though — nine names are a lot to remember. Here’s a cheat sheet for your reference: Paolo and Miguel Guico: acoustic guitars and vocals, Poch Barretto: electric guitar, Jam Villanueva: drums, Agnes Reoma: bass, Pat Lasaten: keyboards, Toni Muñoz and Andrew de Pano: percussions, and Keifer Cabugao: violin.

[READ: Meet Ben&Ben: the outsiders of local folk pop]

Ben & Ben can really put on a show. Who said that indie folk pop would be boring to watch live? (us, initially) (but we have since been converted). The band delivered an electric performance from the moment they opened with Sunrise, probably fueled by how loud the crowd was (still can’t get over the screams and the singing along during Kathang Isip). Also, an important question: Where to cop Paolo and Miguel’s matching burnt sienna-colored jackets?

Ben & Ben & Benin: Clara Benin stepped out to join the band for a live version of their Burnout collab cover.

Local music is thriving because of friend recos and Spotify playlists. After talking to some fans, we learned that many of them heard of Clara and Ben & Ben through music recommendations from other people. Friends Err and Gel, both fresh grads, won a contest to see the show. Err explains that it’s the emotions conveyed by the songs that pulled her in: “For me, the lyrics speaks talaga. Parang kinakausap ka nila directly. Nakaka-relate ka kasi,” she says.

[READ: Three Ben&Ben x Clara Benin mash-ups that we’d love to hear at Karpos Live Mix 2.2]

 

A Ben & Ben & Benin collab is something everyone needs to listen to.

While the possibility that they’d perform a song together was there, we weren’t prepared for when it actually happened. The cover of Burnout by Sugarfree and Ebe Dancel was even better live. Relive the moment here.

 

Karpos Live Mix 3.3 with Bruno Major and Jess Connelly is happening on Oct. 23, 7 p.m. For more details and updates, follow Karpos Live on Twitter and Instagram.

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