Say what you want about the Vancouver music scene, and then say something different after reading this. In the past six months the city has seen Young Thug grace a stage at the PNE, and Manila Grey sell out Fortune Sound Club. Tickets for Manila Grey’s show at the end of 2019 went for as high as 96 US Dollars, on stubhub. Yup, a little bit of history.
Let’s make it clear – this wasn’t a regular sellout. All space left the building as soon as the faces of the 1z (collective) took their place on stage, a stage that they have graced upwards of four times since 2017. These were two seasoned Fortune-veterans, part of the reason why they were able to perform with such fluidity and leave no tickets unsold.
Manila Grey’s success can be summed up in a variety reasons.
They Do Their Job:
The music industry can be somewhat of a maze – a maze with a number of paths to a finish. Finishes that, with the aid from some gimmicks or tricks, can be found sooner or later.
If the above isn’t the option that appeals, artists can focus on finding their way by creating organic-replay-value music efficiently and, most importantly, effectively.
Based on how the team has moved since their debut EP in 2017, No Saints Under Palm Shade, Manila Grey have reached their current success and continue to climb because of their music. Because of how they sound live. Because of how in tune they are with what exactly, Manila Grey and the 1z Collective represents.
You only have to attend one show (let alone five), to witness that Soliven and Neeko were meant to meet Azel “The Wizard” North all the way back in 2010. They have created a clean and appealing sound that has the three individual handprints all over the stream. Songs from “Raindance” to “Disco Eyes” ooze chemistry and reveals an attention to detail from a trio of musicians who have kept the same goal in sight.
The 1z Collective:
It wouldn’t be right to talk about Manila Grey’s success without bringing up the “1z.”
Contributions from the likes of Strikes, Cyro, Renz, Dennison, Osi, B.DT and the rest of the team are what allows for plans to be executed. What’s that saying again? “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Get yourself a team that is firing on all cylinders in a selfless manner.
Manila Grey are comfortable with their relationship with Vancouver. In an interview with Wave 89.1 out of the Philippines, they described their home to be grey, showered in rain, and submerged in gloom. Gloom in which they choose to work in. To have a working relationship with anyone, or in this matter any environment, you have to embrace your partner for what they are, and not for what they aren’t.
Well, what they aren’t, yet.
Vancouver isn’t Los Angeles. It isn’t Atlanta. It isn’t Toronto. It isn’t New York. Heck, it isn’t even Memphis to the world of music. But the city does breathe authenticity and has Wi-Fi. The possibilities are still endless here. The city’s “roadblocks” don’t seem to be slowing down Manila Grey. That or the team has found a secret way to maneuver smoothly through the lack thereof, in their own backyard. Nevertheless, the sold-out show at Fortune, the recent one in Manila, and even the ones coming up in Toronto and Winnipeg, wouldn’t happen if the collective despised where they worked from.
The Vancouver show proved to be worth the price of admission. Even if you were one of the few that had to shell out 100 dollars to get through the doors. The value was simply just in the building.
Multiple members of the 1z collective showed face and entertained the masses, including a charismatic opening performance by Renz Monclare, the newest 1z signee. Once he left the stage after his best Hulk Hogan impression, it was time for the faces of the franchise to treat their fans and create a moment.
Neeko and Soliven began their set with a homegrown roar from the crowd ready to sing the entire catalogue. Tracks like “Eastbound,” “Friends of Friends,” “Youth Water,” and “Silver Skies” allowed fans many chances to showcase their standom. The nights’ most powerful performance looked to be during “Specialize” where both musicians put their unique talents on full display with a raw rendition.
To the approval of many, if not all, new music from their new project, No Saints Loading, was leaked. The crowd rocked to the never heard before sounds and lyrics, and most notably to track #1 on the project, “Night Code.”
The evening ended somewhere around 1 a.m. with “Timezones” giving a timely wheel that allowed those captivated to hit a “Rollin, rolling, rolling,” one more time.
Even if you couldn’t move to your left or right. Even if you didn’t hit the dance move you were waiting to hit due to lack of space. Even if you paid your daily lump sum just to take it all in. It was worth it. You were entertained.
Through the rise of Manila Grey, it is easy to incorrectly point to where things really did start. Was it the moment when a City and Colour fan and an avid Nelly listener decided to do business together? Was it when the duo found their wizard? How about when the music video for “Timezones” was released in April of 2018?
Or, was it at Fortune Sound Club – where once again, the leaders of the 1z Collective sold out the most historic club in Vancouver. What can be set in stone is that Manila Grey, even through the gloom of Vancouver, have become pioneers. Without a doubt.