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ETC way beyond 'Basics'

Funny impressions and fantastic guests fill a terrific comeback concert



It took a while for popular quintet ETC to return to the stage after 2008's successful "Bring It Back" concert, but bring it back the band finally did last Sunday night at the Bitec complex in Bang Na. The new show, "Back to Basics", mined the group's latest mini-album, "Push".

Singer Apiwat "Neung" Pongwat, keyboard players Manluck "Soh" Toomkanont and Sothinan "Bee" Chailangkarn, guitarist Pairoj "Ole" Tammarot and bassist Porrachaya "Mint" Ramyothin performed on a stage illuminated by suspended coloured spotlights. Big vertical screens played old-fashioned graphics and song lyrics.

Neung, wearing a smart black suit, opened the three-hour show at 8pm with a string of hit singles, "Khai Niyam", "Ya Tham", Plien" and "Chao Chai Nitra".

The pace picked up with "Rak Kang Diao" and "Sing Mee Cheewit Tee Reak Wa Huajai", but the mood then swung again with tunes for the broken-hearted, including "Jeb Lae Chin Pai Eng", "Mod Wela" and "Phid Tee Chan Eng".

In promoting the concert earlier, ETC had invited its fans to come and discover who were their inspirations. It turned out that the members decided the 1990s to become musicians due in large part to the R&B trio Soul After Six, and now here was Soul After Six joining them onstage.

The trio showed off remarkable skills and great voices on such familiar songs as "Kon Hin Lamur", "Hen Chan Mai", "Roo" and "Rak Kao Kao", on which Neung chimed in.

The ambience was fully relaxed while another guest, Singto Namchok, did an acoustic set on a small stage at the heart of hall. He sang his popular single "Ting" and the Stevie Wonder classic "I Just Called to Say I Love You".

More romance ensued with a short piano solo by guest Nat Sakdathorn, who drew applause with his own hit "Ploa Thur" and ETC's "Natee Sudtai".

Sarunrat "Lydia" Visutthithada then appeared onstage in a lovely black and red dress to offer "Lerm" and Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" in a powerful voice.

The guests were all terrific, but the highlight of the evening was still ETC when all five members took turns doing hilarious impressions of famous artists.

Bee, with his curly, spongy hair, looked just like singer-saxophonist Sobchai "Ford" Kraiyoonsen while playing "Rak Thur". Mint set the bass aside to mimic Songsit "Kob" Roongnophakunsri on "Patiharn", and tanned Soh displayed his dance moves performing Bruno Mars's "Lazy Song".

Neung was his usual tidy, gentle self in evoking Uthen "The" Prommin on the tender song "Kohok Na Tai", and Ole did a clever take on Patiparn "Mos" Pataweekarn's "Leaw Lai".

A slew of fast tracks - "Nag Fah", "Rak Khon Aow Tae Jai" and "Jing Jing" - turned the hall into a joy-filled disco, and the "house" was truly on fire for the thunderous encore, "Phao Thur Kuer Kham Tob".


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