ONE OF the most popular rock bands in the country, Sponge Cola, is set to launch its sixth studio album, Sea of Lights, via an intimate one-night concert on March 29, 7 p.m., at the Power Mac Spotlight, Circuit Makati.
The concert will bring to the stage not only the new songs off of the album but also the songs that the 16-year-old band is known for including “Nakapagtataka,” “Bitiw,” “Tuliro,” “Tambay,” “Gemini” and so many more.
“[The term ‘Sea of Lights’] was first coined by Rakista Radio [because] there’s this thing we do when we play live,” the band’s vocalist, Ysmael “Yael” Yuzon, said during a March 18 press conference in Luxent Hotel in Quezon City.
The band — composed of Mr. Yuzon on vocals, Erwin “Armo” Armovit on guitars, Reynaldo “Gosh” Dilay on bass and Ted Mark Cruz on drums — usually asks the audience to turn on their phones’ flashlights and wave while they are performing certain songs like “Jeepney,” which they performed in the 2017 Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo.
“We just claimed the term and made it the title of the album,” he said.
The album is said to “celebrate the sound and musical style” the band is known for while also “experimenting with new sounds into the mix.”
The band has already released some songs from the album: “Phantoms,” “Paliyabin Na Ang Lahat,” “Meron Ba?,” and “Promises (featuring Karylle).”
“The song [“Promises”] was the instrumental [Mr. Armovit] played during my wedding,” Mr. Yuzon said.
Mr. Yuzon married singer Karylle (Ana Karylle Padilla Tatlonghari-Yuzon, the daughter of singer Zsa Zsa Padilla) in 2014.
During the press conference, it was remarked that the band has been in the business for almost two decades and now that another decade is ending, Mr. Yuzon said that this makes him feel nervous playing the concert.
The band was formed in 2003 after Mr. Yuzon and Mr. Dilay met in Ateneo de Manila High School as members of the school’s theater guild, Teatre Baguntao. They initially got their start by playing in high school band competitions and earned modest popularity in other campuses.
They were then joined by Mr. Armovit and drummer Christopher “Chris” Cantada who left the group in 2008 due to health problems. Mr. Cantada then went on to have a successful YouTube career.
Mr. Cruz joined the band as its drummer in 2009.
They wanted to name the group Sponge after Robert Smith Surtees’ 1853 novel, Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour but heard of a Detroit-based grunge group already named Sponge so they decided to add “Cola” to their name to make it easy to remember.
The group’s first self-titled EP was released in 2003, which included five original songs including “Jeepney.” The songs, including their cover of Madonna’s “Crazy for You,” helped the band enter the mainstream, getting radio airplay.
Sponge Cola’s first album, Palabas, was released in 2004 and the title was a homage to their roots in theater.
“We just want to create a show people will enjoy. It’s a party with people we’ve been with for so long,” Mr. Yuzon said of the concert.
The intimate concert venue, he said, works in their favor as they will be able to see people even if they’re situated at the back.
“It’s a good venue, even if you’re behind we can see you,” he said, noting that this will lend to more interactions with the audience.
Aside from Sponge Cola, the concert will also feature performance by Leanne & Naara, Gloc-9, Karylle, and I Belong to the Zoo.
The Sponge Cola Sea of Lights concert will be held on March 29, 7 p.m., at the PowerMac Spotlight, Circuit Makati. Ticket cost P2,250 and include a physical copy of the album. Tickets are available via — Zsarlene B. Chua