Magnum Presents: Azealia Banks in Manila

When I first heard about Azealia Banks coming to Manila, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not really a fan but it’s nice to know that more acts are coming to the country, especially the lesser-known ones. We have Stars, How To Dress Well, and Grimes. It’s comforting to know that there are people who are taking the effort to bring our indie favorites to the Philippines.

But then I found out that the concert is by invite-only, as dictated by the Magnum team (the ice cream) that brought her here for their one-year anniversary. I thought it was off – flaunting her concert all over Twitter only to say that it’s “ultra-exclusive.” It’s kind of like waving a glass of water at a thirsty man’s face. Of course the uproar was there. Fans of Banks who didn’t have the right connections couldn’t watch, even if they could afford to buy tickets.

The ice cream has become very controversial. It began as a status symbol, with people announcing to the world that they can afford to eat Magnum. I once saw a collage online of a girl eating the ice cream and one picture showed her holding the receipt. Yes, it’s delicious, but it’s not exactly gold.

And now it has come to this. The high-society image of the snack (to many, that is) has become even more exclusive, with an invite-only party to one of the burgeoning musicians of our time. To fans of Azealia Banks, it’s not exactly good for the Magnum image. And from my experience, the fans are the ones who hold a particular dislike for the popularity of the ice cream. But like I said, I only like 212 so it didn’t really matter.

Somehow, Nikko managed to get us invites. I have to admit I was psyched. A concert is a concert, and a free one at that, and the possibility of hoarding the new flavors of Magnum bars was extremely tempting.

The mini-concert was great. It was held at the gardens of this house in Forbes Park. Azealia was great, and I found myself dancing even if I only knew two songs. People went wild over Harlem Shake but when she closed the show with 212, I went absolutely nuts. The energy was something else but I suspected that only a few were true fans, most were there to support their celebrity friends – or ogle at them. It would have been crazy if everyone who came loved her music.

I feel guilty for attending the show, knowing that there are bigger fans who could probably rap along Azealia’s songs. Nikko and I still believe that the Magnum team should hold an intimate gathering with the singer, then have a bigger, more inclusive concert the following night. But I’m still thankful that the team extended an invite. I wish I could have tried the new flavors – I was about to bite into one when Azealia popped into the stage, greeting us in English, minus the standard mabuhay.

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