During the bonfire to celebrate the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ recent UAAP Men’s Basketball Championship, the Itchyworms, Ateneo alumni themselves, performed their classic, “Beer” early into their set.
The entire Ateneo Grade School parking lot – where the bonfire celebration was held – erupted into song. Even those comfortably seated in their tents raised their bottles in toast and sang along as well.
The Itchyworms have been performing non-stop for over 27 years now and have continued to make new music with an average of one album every five years. They have been one of the country’s biggest draws in the music scene for almost two decades and yet for everything they have done and achieved as a band, they have yet to tour the United States as a band.
That all changes this coming March when the band goes on a nine-city two-week tour where they will play in New York (March 24), Dallas (March 25), San Antonio (March 26), Houston (March 29), San Francisco (March 31), Los Angeles (April 1), San Diego (April 2), Chicago (April 5), and Las Vegas (April 7).
“It’s a tight schedule,” noted guitarist and vocalist Jugs Jugueta, but that is what rock and roll is all about. It will be tiring but I am sure it will be fun and all worth everything.”
“Whenever we go abroad for a show, I get nervous because I don’t know if people will like us or receive us well,” admitted bassist Kelvin Yu.
“It’s a challenge” added drummer and vocalist Jazz Nicolas.
And yet, in two previous shows abroad, the Itchyworms were pleasantly surprised by the reception.
“It helped that there were Filipinos in the audience who knew us and our songs so they were singing along and dancing,” Jugueta shared about their experience at the Tokyo Beyond Festival and the Music Matters Live concert in Singapore. “And that also helped get the rest of the crowd to appreciate us.”
“Like in Singapore,” elucidated Yu. “We thought walang may kilala sa amin. The Filipinos in the front row were singing and dancing and nadala yung crowd.”
“It is gratifying for us as a band to see people sing along to the songs and of course, to show us their appreciation,” added Nicolas. “Most of the bands we performed with in those shows were young bands – bands who have been together for like three years – and when they find out that we have been together for over 25 years, they are amazed.”
“Now, that made me feel like a tito,” chimed in Jugueta that got the band laughing.
When the Itchyworms hit the United States, they will be joined by guitarist Chino Singson who moved to Canada late last 2022. Mikey Amistoso of Ciudad, who recently joined as part of their touring and live band since Singson now resides in North America, will also make the trip as will their road manager Gabs Angeles.
“I think it is great that even long into our career, we are still experiencing these ‘firsts,’” summed up Jugueta. “All these experiences push the band forward.”