Montreal’s music community joined together to perform for relief efforts in the Philippines
On Sunday, March 24, local Montreal artists performed at École Privée to help raise money for relief efforts in the Philippines, following a devastating typhoon in 2018. While the artists may have taken a pay cut to perform at the charity event, the cause behind the show made it well worth it. It was organized by the McGill University Filipino Asian Students Association (MUFASA), the McGill Association of North American Born Asians (MANABA), and McGill graduate Chuong Trinh, a.k.a. Waterboii, one of the night’s performers. It was their love for music and passion for helping others that spurred the idea for Bahay, the name of the event, which means “home” in Tagalog, one of the Philippines’s official languages. They thought the name sounded welcoming.
While the event took place late on a Sunday evening.—far from an ideal night to attend a show—the renowned Montreal club began to fill up around 10 p.m. With up-and-coming artists including Qi Yama of the art collective KAJ, Waterboii, Dev, Gxlden Child and more-established local rapper Lou Phelps set to hit the stage, the energy in the tight-knit venue grew by the minute. The perfectly-timed smoke machines and bright light lasers helped to add a vibrant aesthetic to the mysteriousness of the club’s dark, gloomy walls.
As Abdou, a DJ from KAJ, curated the playlist from around 10:15 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., the dancers in the crowd really began to move. By the end of the set, his eclectic, unique sound had clearly impressed, as the dancing crowd had filled any remaining space on the dance floor.
Minutes later, only a focused eye could have spotted the nonchalant movements of Qi Yama, who appeared gripping a mic behind Abdou and the elevated DJ booth. Then, he let the crowd have it.
He began to flow with an energy that surprised some, given his calm demeanor. His melodic bars rang through the small room, as some peered upwards in search of the catchy tune that mysteriously appeared. His set was short and sweet, as if not wanting to give away his secrets. As he wrapped up, Qi Yama descended back down from the stage to a booth nearby, leaving some slightly confused, and most wanting more.
Around 11:45 p.m., following a bustling set of hip hop hits from Netherboii, frequent collaborators Dev and Gxlden Child joined on stage, for more intense sets. As Dev took centre stage and Gxlden Child joined the DJ behind the booth, Dev’s questions to the crowd had them shouting back full-force.
“How are y’all feeling tonight?” he asked the crowd, through the autotune-laced mic that accompanied his sound. Their answers were muttered and matched his intensity—likely due to a mixture of alcohol and excitement. “The producer of this song is my boy and he’s Filipino. Shoutout to the Philippines, man,” he said.
As his set progressed, Dev performed each song with the same energy as the last, his body gyrating with passion. While it seemed like he could go on for hours, it was Gxlden Child’s turn to shift from bopping his head behind the DJ booth to performing at the front of the stage. He took Dev’s place and carried out his setlist with a more gloomy, melodic sound. His music’s energy quickly had its effect on the showgoers, as their movements slowed down to match Gxlden’s dark flows.
When it seemed like the crowd had given all of the energy they had to give on a Sunday night, they were resurrected by a performance from Waterboii, one of the organizers of the event, and a MUFASA and MANABA general member. Waterboii performed the entirety of his set from the dancefloor, with the crowd forming a circle around him, essentially creating a 30-minute moshpit.
The ambience quickly shifted to one that was reminiscent of a pre-2016 XXXTentacion show, with distorted trap instrumentals and raging vocals. Waterboii’s energy was infectious, as he bounced off of the crowd members and belted lyrics at top volume.
As Waterboii’s set came to an end and the mosh pit dispersed, his set came to an end, it was time for the night’s final performance. Lou Phelps, a household name in the world of Montreal hip hop, brought his funky, bouncing musical style to the Bahay event. As the attendees rapped along to the lyrics of his notable tracks like “Come Inside” ft. Jazz Cartier and “What Time Is It?!” ft. Innanet James, the infectious smile on Phelps’s face effectively helped spread an aura of good vibes over the audience.
“I knew what had happened [in the Philippines], and that’s why I was so honoured to be asked to perform for the event,” said Phelps in a later interview. “I have a few friends that are from the Philippines, also.”
The event raised over $2,000 towards relief efforts in the Philippines, a feat Waterboii hopes to surpass in the near future.
“Over $1,100 is pretty neat for a first time, but we plan to make bigger, better events in the future,” he said. We all believe in the potential of events like this, and we want to push communities to support a cause, and create new concerts for different audiences.”