Photos bu Izza Zamoranos
In an effort to escape my academic responsibilities even for just a few hours, I decided to catch Jaden Smith’s first show here in Manila last Oct. 23. If I‘m being honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I was always just a casual listener, occasionally viewing his pretty, rose-tinted music videos and adding his bops Icon and Summertime In Paris to my playlist rotations. I’d always known he was a talented artist, but I was curious to witness how he would take the stage as a performer.
Come Wednesday night, I lined up in front of Xylo Nightclub for the first time. I first noticed the lavish interior and cozy atmosphere and knew at first glance that it was the perfect venue to give Jaden the warmest of welcomes.
Starting things off, Out of Scratch set a chill mood early on in the night as if it were a calm before the storm. Trippy visuals on a gigantic three-panel screen accompanied his beats, and oftentimes I’d catch myself spacing out like I was spellbound. Turning up the energy was DJ NIXDAMNP! playing rap and house bangers everyone knew word-per-word (myself included!) throughout his set. It felt like I was back in my favorite Katipunan bar, only more boujee.
Three hours flew by in a flash. The next thing I knew, ERYS visuals (from his latest album) started appearing on the screen to tease the headliner’s grand entrance. Jaden climbed up the elevated platform, and in a matter of seconds, got the whole crowd chanting his name in excitement.
For his first visit to Manila last Oct. 23, Jaden Smith played hits from his newest album, ‘‘Erys.’’
“Manila!” was all Jaden had to shout to get the whole room fired up, and the energy wasn’t just crazy, it was absolutely infectious. He kick-started his set with his hit song I from his most recent album “Erys,” and it was more than enough to keep me bumping my head as though I didn’t have an 8 a.m. class the next day. His performance transitioned seamlessly between hits, playing bangers like Batman (a personal favorite), GOKU, and capping his set off with his biggest hit, Icon.
Aside from Jaden’s explosive performance, his outfit also caught my attention. Wearing a distressed denim vest over a black shirt, patchwork jeans and tons of bling, Jaden proves that, aside from being a music icon, he is a fashion icon, too.
It was quite surreal seeing him in the flesh for the first time, and it’s safe to say that the artist has grown into so much more than the karate kid I knew him as. Jaden is no longer the kid rapping bars in a Justin Bieber song; the captivating energy he exemplified that night in Manila proved to everyone that he is more than the icon he claims to be.
It took me a while to catch my breath after it ended. I’ve always thought Jaden was good, but I was wrong; he was great. I can only hope for his return, but until then, I’ll be blasting his discography on loop for days on end. The whole night felt like a four-hour sugar rush that made my short-lived escape from responsibilities one I do not regret.