Thanks to Kalyan (who BTW celebrated his birthday today as well – HB, K!), I managed to get into Mount Carmel College to watch the Amateur Band Contest, which also featured Mrinal‘s group – Phenom! I went as the band’s official photo/videographer. What a blast!
Lots of good bands playing, but of course I was there to see one in particular, and I was not disappointed. These guys are really good (given the little they practice together) – a very tight band, and despite the amateur status – very professional in their approach.
The lineup was Gaurav on rythm guitar and vocals, Sashi and Mrinal on lead guitar and drums (alternating), Deepu on bass, Jnaneshwar on keyboards and Noella on vocals.
They played four songs – starting with one from Greenday, followed by a Roxette number, then an own composition, and finally a Pink Floyd number. (This in itself was amazing – the bands were restricted to 20 minutes including setup, and few managed to fit in more than three numbers).
Mrinal played drums for three of the songs, and lead guitar for the last one, and was (as expected) very, very good in both roles (though I personally think he should focus on developing on one instrument).
Gaurav’s singing was amazing, especially the last number! Serious power lungs there!
Of course all that is precious little use if you don’t have serious thump behind you, and there was no thump lagging from Deepu’s side. Sashi was all over the place, justifying (but not overdoing it with) the use of distortion, and surprisingly good drumming as well. And Jnaneshwar really filled the place during “Coming back to life”.
And lead singer Noella’s voice …. ah, sheer heaven! Controlled, clear and perfectly in tune, with looks to match!
Even if I must admit to some bias – Phenom stood out as a far better band and sound than most of the others – simply because they didn’t do the one thing I really detest – turn all volumes to full, put distortion on every instrument, and mindlessly strum away at some “metal” cover. Sadly, many groups at this event did just that.
Why do Bangalore bands assume that the only music a band should play is metal or trash rock? What happened to the real rock of the 60′s and 70′s – where people relied on their abilities as guitarists/keyboardists/singers instead of hiding their (lack of) talent behind distortion and other effects?
I maintain that at a contest like this (with competition in “mindless metal mode”), you could probably win and walk away with all prizes by simply plugging in a few clean guitars and keyboards, shelve the multi-effect pedals, add some reverb, and give the audience some good music. You’d stand out like a sore thumb, but then that’s the point – if you stand out, you get noticed.
In fact, Noella with her “Sleeping in my car” clearly got noticed for this very reason (apart from her great performance, of course) – this number was effectively the only non-rock number in the entire competition.
Ah well, I guess my age is showing.
I took lots of video and photos, and while I won’t put the video online (almost 400 MB!), I guess some photos and maybe some MP3s should be in order. Coming soon!
And of course a plea to Phenom – hey guys, let’s have a website!