The final round of this year’s Wanderbattle is upon us

Wanderland is an institution, a metonym for local, grand-scale festival gigs. And every band that has been knighted with the honorary title of Wanderband from years past — from Oh, Flamingo! to The Ransom Collective — have gone on to make big names for themselves, but always with the now iconic Karpos show as their stepping stone. This might not be a big deal for you if you’re the kind of audience member who’s just in it for the international acts (and if you are, come on man, it’s 2019, support your local music scene!). But for up-and-coming bands looking to establish themselves, the selection of the next Wanderband is kind of like the Olympics.

That being said, we’re in the final round, my dudes. It’s been a pretty ferocious competition — the first round took place last December at Social House Circuit Makati, and numerous acts from Any Name’s Okay to Ysanygo have graced the stage for a chance at greatness. Now it’s down to four; from Manila, we have the luminous indie act Kremesoda and the cream-smooth soul act Nathan & Mercury; from Cebu, we have jazzmasters Intertwined and the Dirty Hit-esque funk group Three Legged Men. These acts are so stellar that come Saturday, whoever’s in charge of picking the winner is going to have the hardest job in the world.

You’ll get to see these four bands, each musical champions in their own right, go head to head for the coveted Wanderband title, at the San Miguel Wanderbattle Finals, which are set to take place at the ABS CBN Vertis Tent, this Saturday on Jan. 19. (And if you’ve ever been to a Karpos Live show, you already know how awesome the venue is.) Joining them at the show will be the last Wanderbattle’s winner and first runner-up respectively — Basically Saturday Night and Carousel Casualties.

You’ll also get to see the works of this year’s Wanderartist finalists: Frances Maria Dandan, Vena Martinez, Shanel Salcedo, Joshua Panaligan, Anya Bongato, and Raco Ruiz.

Tickets go for P250 at the entrance, and that comes with two free beers, which is already one beer better than the back-for-your-buck norm of most other local shows. It’s only January, but it’s already looking like a good year for local music.

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