Pepsi Battle of the Bands is back with a bang and this time with Ayesha Omer as host and on judges panel Fawad Khan frontman of ‘Entity Paradigm’ who stood runners-up of first edition of Pepsi Battle of the Band. Farooq Ahmed frontman and lead vocalist of ‘Aaroh’ winners of first edition of Pepsi Battle of the Band is also on judges’ seat. Third judge is Meesha Shafi whose credentials to be a judge aren’t enough and she be selecting new talented bands when she isn’t that established herself.
Again Pepsi Battle of the Band comes at a time just like late 90’s when many band were fading out. Junaid Jamshed from Vital Signs had started a solo flight, Awaz also disintegrated was also fading, Junoon was facing wrath of government after their ‘ehtisaab’ song and when Ali Azmat shouted ‘lota, lota’ during a concert in Lahore, Junoon were banned to perform in Punjab by Manzoor Ahmed Watto’s government. This trend gave rise to solo acts and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Junaid Jamshed, Ali Haidar, Sajjad Ali, Abrar-ul-Haq, Hadiqa Kiani, Saleem Javaid, Ahmed Jahanzeb and many more started to rule the music stage.
This time around Pepsi Battle of the Bands got an over-whelming response from budding musicians and bands as approximately 100+ bands poured in from all over Pakistan to prove their mettle and only 06 to proceed to main round competition was expected to be intense too. Winner of main round aka grand finale will get an album deal which includes producing + recording + editing + mixing at any leading studio, concert and tours throughout Pakistan and royalty album throughout.
Review on some of the bands that performed;
Naksh means impression and they are here to inspire, according to Naksh they had been performing together for last 15, 16 years. Three brothers and a school friend had been jamming together since then their lead vocalist Mehak joined them recently. Mehak feels that there is a good chemistry between them while producing music. They performed Bolo Bolo by Sajjad Ali with nicely arrange music, played well and sung by Mehak’s powerful, bassy yet flat vocals.
Positive had a very positive feel to them, they were also part of Pepsi Battle of the Band’s first season and did make it top ten even at that time, Positive said that thinking should be optimistic and with a positive attitude. Positive sang a very soulful song Kalab by Allan Fakeer, which was sung exceptinaly well by the lead vocalist Yousuf and tabla & flute added soulful flavour to its full content.
Pindi Boys led by Jasim Ahmed were a very disappointing, although they have released some of their music on social media but even that couldn’t help them to grasp the in-demand music. Lyrics and compositions are done by Jasim and then music is arranged with all members while jamming. They neither sounded any different nor were they any near to Pakistaniayat as claimed. They sang their original track titled ‘Pindi Boys’, which failed to impress at any stage.
Kashmir was the first real rock band of the evening with real rock attitude and music also, they started off during 2012, first had a difficult name to their band now are called as Kashmir, according to their lead vocalist Bilal; their basic genre alternative rock but they also mix and fuse music of other genres. They performed Hamesha by EP and their performance was 30% of what EP sang at first season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands. Vocalist could have added a little more fire but failed to do so. Wes Khan lead guitarist was highly praised by Fawad Khan for his excellent playing style and referred him to Slash.
Bari the Band two piece band, sang Yaara by Aaroh and surely they sang much much better then Farooq. Music could have been a bit better.
Madlock from Lahore is a three piece band into alternative rock music as claimed, but when you get to hear them on stage they were too soft to start off with and followed very flat kind of high pitched vocals, music arrangement was also very mediocre type but end scream was scintillating.
Shajr sang ya Ali by Mekaal Hasan, sung exceptionally well but was missing the kind of vocal tone required for this kind of song, it seemed that they had jammed very hard for this performance, and their overall performance was okay, with only vocal tone not matching the mood of the song.
Soul Anesthetics performed their original song and from very outset of their performance they seemed to be out sorts, very dull sounding music with equally disappointing vocal performance.
Aura was another disappointing performance by with too much inspiration ColdPlay, they failed to produce anything unique.
OB Positive, another three piece band and they have doing music together for almost ten years now, for them music is passion. They performed aeitebaar by Vital Signs and although they sang it well but vocals of both didn’t synchronize which effected their performance to some extent. If both vocalist go their ways, they may end up well.