Underground music in Cebu: This is not a phase, mom

Underground music in Cebu: This is not a phase, mom

For the nocturnal crowd, Cebu’s night life has always been high-spirited and vibrant, but if you happen to hear powerful drumming, throaty vocals, gritty guitar riffs and emo lyrics, that’s probably the scene of the young having the best nights of their lives.

Meet Plug and Play Studio, a local indoor rock organizing team, that has a sure-fire way to keep emo back in action in Cebu.

Its metal, punk and emocore music shows transport audiences back to the time when they were high on teenage angst and the reunion of these fans of all ages prove that these subcultures have never been just an isolated memory of the youth.

“Cebu-based emo, punk, and metal bands, like all other musicians in Cebu City in the past until now, are amazingly talented,” Plug and Play Studio said.

“If they get enough support collectively from our fellow countrymen and record labels to put their songs on the record and to give them the right amount of recognition, we could build a world class music festival for real,” the studio added.

The local-based music studio hosted several shows this year, with Emo Night, Pop Punk Party, and Paramore Night 7, among its well-received events.

Plug and Play has been revolutionizing Cebu’s underground music scene since 2012 and has wrapped up this year’s music shows.

“We just finished our series of Farewell Rock Shows on December 10, 2022 but the team is working on something new that we could not disclose for now,” the studio said.

But it’s not at all closing time because the emo, punk, and metal revival continues as Plug and Play Studio managed to gather more than 15 bands just this year and has provided them a more solid community.

“They get money and food depending on the ticket sales, and opportunities to introduce their artcraft to the industry,” the studio said.

Because of what Plug and Play has done, these genres can now emerge in the stillness of the evening, showcasing a wide range of local talents.

“The emo, punk, and metal community in Cebu’s music scene is not just about the music they listen to, but it’s also about being consistent in raising awareness, building friendship, and helping each other and the unfortunate ones,” the studio said.

Plus, the fact that you can get your money’s worth (for as low as P300) while supporting a good cause, like a fundraising for cancer patients/survivors. (And hey, there’s free beer and a raffle entry, too.)

Aside from the artists’ point of view, Plug and Play has also put together a unique crowd and listeners who find good release in the underground scene.

Allan Scrabbles, its CEO, confessed how these subcultures tell different stories and how the music speaks to them.

“Some of them would speak about their traumatic experiences, suicidal thoughts, struggles, and other personal problems and how the genre changed their perspective positively in dealing with them,” Scrabbles explained.

Let’s be real, anyone can define these genres in their own way, but more than the powerful guitar riffs or sentimental acoustics, it’s the confessional and emotional lyricism that helped us feel understood and heard.

Sadly though, Scrabbles revealed that he’s leaving the country and his band Break Offenders that used to perform for these crowds.

“It was fun, and something that I’m going to miss for I will be leaving the country in a couple of months,” he said.

In a few months, Plug and Play will soon have a base in Perth, Western Australia. Scrabbles has made it his mission to maintain these subcultures vibrant and to never stop performing for the crowd.

“I would like to thank my team, especially Mark Jay Reyes and the Escario Boys, the venue staff in Handuraw Pizza and Holic Live, the awesome tech guys in Sound Scream Audio, the talented individuals from Rapidriot, Inhuman Resurrection, Storya, System of a Gout, Megan, Dying Helena, Spectre, Wanyk, Lavender, Faltered Sky, 1038 ST., Wessa, As If You’re Okay, Lonely Space, Munimuni Cebu, Seryus, Paralanguage, Way To Fall, Again We Start, Break Offenders, Run Rabbit, Trtlehze, Rouge, Hours We Keep, Southern Witch Hunt, The Defender, Drive Me To Juliet, Killing Amy, Island of Sofia, Xy-Vy, Findlay, Incognitas, Them Who Remained, Kids from Yesterday, Wednesday at Wendy’s, and Madsticks!”

Most of us have probably outgrown the smudgy eyeliners, Cobain shirts with striped long sleeves, and self-doodled Chuck Taylors, but the sense of belongingness has stayed with us in this community.

And just as what Plug and Play has provided in the neighborhood, we hope to see more opportunities for Cebu’s underground music scene and vast networks for the broken, the beaten, and ... you know the next word to this.


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