Leah C. Salterio – The Philippine Star

October 8, 2021 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The new setup for Ely Buendia’s first solo concert this pandemic, Superproxies, is something he hasn’t experienced before. It has taken him quite a while to perform online and he needed to convince himself that yes, it can be done.

Ely admits doing a concert just didn’t become his priority when the world turned upside down because of this health crisis. “I had to adjust to the new situation, the new normal,” the erstwhile Eraserheads frontman says. “Besides, there was really no desire on my part to perform last year. The priority was just to survive, take care of the family and just take care of my mental health.”

Having no popular venue for online shows was another reason that prevented Ely from staging any musical performance in 2020. “There was no precedent,” he maintains. “An online show requires you to be actually in a venue also. There’s a new venue in Las Piñas that holds online concerts. That’s where we will do this show.

“A year or so, you’d want to go out and perform again for an audience electronically. Even for an online audience. It’s also for your mental health. It’s about time that you go out. Do what you do best,” he adds.

The forthcoming Superproxies is the first online concert for Ely, who will be joined by his son, Eon Drake Buendia, for the first time onstage. The latter is following in the eminent footsteps of his superstar dad. Evidently. It was just a matter of time before the 21-year-old Eon comes out on his own as far as his musicality is concerned.

Come Oct. 9 at 8 p.m., Eon will be introduced to the music world when he shares the stage with his dad and performs with him for the first time in a virtual concert. The title, Superproxies, was taken after The Eraserheads’ song, Superproxy, which Ely penned with Francis M for the band’s 15-track Cutterpillow album in 1995.

Eon, who is now in his senior year taking up Music at the College of Saint Benilde (CSB), was “a bit apprehensive,” basically because he doesn’t really like to be associated with his dad.

“He wants to carve his own career path and not be compared to me,” says Ely about his son. “But Eon is also very, very excited being in this concert. He hasn’t been playing live for a long time now. Any chance he gets, I’m pretty sure it’s more of excitement than apprehension for him.”

Ely does not mind performing in an empty venue for his Superproxies online concert. “Sanay naman ako doon,” he admits. “There was a time, back in the day, there were only two people watching us when The Eraserheads was still a struggling band playing at Club Dredd in Quezon City. That’s not a new thing for me. I don’t mind.”

“Sometimes, you can just get lost in the music and you don’t even care if there’s someone listening,” he continues. “I rap this guitar all the time at home, singing in the shower, where there’s no audience. You can also enjoy making music just for yourself.”

Asked about the things to expect in the show, Ely informs he will concentrate on the songs that people want to hear. “Songs of the E-heads. There will be songs of mine that I think should also be given the spotlight. Songs that I’m proud of which came after The Eraserheads disbanded. Pupil songs, solo songs. Those songs represent my songwriting abilities.”

A new band, Nobody’s Home, will perform its solo set and do the front act for the show. Ely points out he is not performing with Nobody’s Home. “They will have their separate set. I’ll be performing with my own back-up band.”

He will perform with his all-female back-up band with Pat Sarabia on drums, Audrey Dionisio on acoustic guitar, Carissa Ramos on bass, plus “the great, legendary guitar player and my idol,” Nitoy Adriano on lead guitar.

“They have been my back-up band for solo shows for five or six years now,” Ely grants. “They will be joining me in this show.”

Although he wrote only one song, Metro, during this pandemic, Ely assures his fans there will be new songs from him. “But I want to take it really slow and don’t rush it. Make it grow organically, so you probably won’t be hearing an album from me soon. I have ideas in my head, with melody and lyrics. Right now, it’s still in the planning stage. There’s nothing recorded yet.”

The pandemic undoubtedly challenged Ely. He is still pre-occupied even when he’s at home. “I’m busy with the business, producing music for up-and-coming artists. I could write about the pandemic. There’s so much to unpack from the past years. There are a lot of ideas there.”

“I’d like to say I’ve matured a lot as an artist,” he says. “I know everyone says that, but I think I have. There was a lot of growing up during the pandemic. I’ve been challenged as an individual and as a person.”

Apparently, Ely has been busy with his personal growth during this pandemic, doing mostly creative endeavors, as well as learning the financial and administrative aspects of the business.

“I’ve been taking musical lessons, guitar,” he shares. “I’ve been busy with my home studio trying to upgrade it and turn it into world-class professional studio. I’m also taking Japanese lessons. I’ve done a couple of scripts.

“Just getting into martial arts right now and delving deeper into guitar playing, which I haven’t really done before, even though I’ve played the guitar for almost four decades now. I just think there’s always room for improvement.

“I also educate myself whatever good music is supposed to be right now, whatever good books are or good films. You always have to keep up with the times and that’s how you deal with creating something. There’s really so much you can do with all this time in this pandemic. That’s why I’ve been trying to keep myself busy.”

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