The Dawn (the Filipino rock/new wave band)


The Dawn ca. late ’80s (L-R, front to rear) the late Teddy Diaz (guitars), Jett Pangan, (vocals), JB Leonor (drums) and Carlos Balcells (bass guitars).

If memory serves me right, they were one of the two only bands that existed in the 80s, the other is the pop-ballad band, Neocolours.  I was in grade school and I would have to say that it’s the music of Neocolours that captivated my ears when I was younger.  I consider Neocolours as the Spandau Ballet of the Philippines while The Dawn as the Duran Duran equivalent here in the Philippines.  When the band disbanded in 1995 just when there was a band explosion, also called the second golden age of Philippine music, I was in high school going to college, full of angst and insecurities, that I rediscovered their music.  This is when I began to like the band, really like the band, The Dawn, but at the time they were in a hiatus.  That time I was into alternative music where on top of my list are The Eraserheads.

In late 1990s, thank God, The Dawn made a comeback and they’ve been giving us again wonderful songs. However, at present, they’re still around but not as active as before. Interestingly, great local bands have come and gone but The Dawn has remained steadfast despite changes in some of its members–Jett Pangan and JB Leonor are the two remaining original members–especially now that bands are no longer the “in” thing (well, at least for now, nothing is permanent) and solo artists are again the center of the local music universe. But when they do get to perform on stage, expect a fully-charged, intense performance.

The Dawn is also the only Filipino band I think that had a movie as lead stars. Their movie is called “Tulad ng dati,” a title of one of their songs, shown in 2006. And I saw this movie! It was good.

I’m writing this short piece about The Dawn because earlier today, my agency, the Commission on Human Rights, celebrated its 29th Anniversary and The Dawn was invited to perform.  I took a video of their first song (my hands were shaking) and from the distance where I was sitting to the stage, the music of The Dawn was quite intense! I went closer to the stage towards the end.

JB Leonor was giving it all on the drums. Buddy Zabala (from the Eraserheads!) was just cool and relaxed and unaffected with all the fun noise. And this other guy who replaced Francis Reyes on guitar who looks familiar but I forgot his name? He’s good that I forgot about Francis Reyes (but Francis Reyes I really admire as a writer and a DJ/host more than his being a good musician). And Jett Pangan, it is obvious (it is good) that he practices, his voice is still as engaging and powerful as ever. I don’t move a lot but The Dawn made me jump and raise my fist as they played their song.

Because it was a once in a lifetime thing, once in a blue moon that I get to see the band, “The Dawn,” for free, not letting the moment slip by, I approached Mr. Jett Pangan, the lead vocalist of The Dawn, after the mini-concert for a souvenir photo. Bonus also that I was able to quickly hug him tight (I can still remember the softness of his T-shirt and his slim waistline). Trivia: Lea Salonga has a huge crush on him.


Me and Mr. Jett Pangan of The Dawn

Because of circumstance, I wasn’t able to get a picture with the other band members. In case they stumble into this post, I wanna say thank you for giving your wholehearted performance!


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