The Aegis Concert for Edmonton was held last July 29 at the River Cree Resort & Casino, as part of their 2012 US and Canada tour. This was the band’s 3rd visit/performance in Edmonton.
Aegis was originally formed as AG’s Sound Trippers, with the AG standing for their managers’ last names, Abenoja and Galindo. They chose the term “aegis” which means “shield” or “protection” - as a metaphor for their kind of music, that of a balm from heartbreak and desolation. A 6-member band, it is comprised of sisters Juliet, Mercy and Ken Sunot as Vocalists; Stella Pabico in the keyboard; Vilma Goloviogo in drums; Weng Adriano for bass guitar; and the lone male member, Rey Abenoja for lead guitar.
The show opened with two front acts: Vanessa Oller singing “God is Speaking”; and duo Virgie and Delia, who are regular performers at the Edmonton International Airport. There was also a presentation of a plaque by Hon. Consul Esmeralda Agbulos for producer Dr. Nimrod Montano, for his community service to Filipinos both locally and in the Philippines. Incidentally, the concert and raffle proceeds served as a fundraiser for a dental mission to the Philippines in 2013.
After about an hour from start time, the main attraction was introduced. Hyped as a concert to “rock & roll” the city, the opening number was a little bit sedate, for our expectations. It didn’t take long though for them to impress the audience with their powerful vocals. This is a concert that definitely does not rely on fancy wardrobe, intricate choreography, and special effects - but simply on the music. Aside from their hit songs Luha, Halik, Basang Basa sa Ulan, May Bukas Pa, they also did covers of Adele, Journey, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez and requested songs by the audience - covering a vast repertoire of ballads, dance music and rap. These were eagerly lapped up by the audience who sang, applauded and shrieked on cue. The vocalists are power belters, hitting notes that get higher and higher, notes that you think can’t be reached but are actually hit. Juliet Sunot definitely has the strongest lung power among the sisters. She delivers her songs effortlessly, while hamming it up with the audience and the cameras, and delivering comedic lines as well. It would be ideal though, in the whole mix of the songs, to have some that will show restraint in vocal delivery, for a greater appreciation of the powerhouse sections.
Talent comes in different packages. If you do not know the Aegis band members and you see them for the first time offstage, you will not think that they are such musical dynamos. They are unassuming, grounded and deferential. And these qualities are probably a major factor in their audience appeal, making them relatable to a lot of people. At the end of the night, you appreciate these visits by Filipino artists who embody talent and good values and reinforce your notion that there definitely is no dearth of Filipino singers!
* This article was written for and published in the Pinoy Times August 2012 issue.