Category Archives: Rock in India

“Backstreet Boys to headline Rock in India ’10″: The National WTF Moment

You know, once in a while, you come across things that make you laugh. They are called jokes. And then once in a while you come across headlines that go like the one in the title of this post. These make you laugh too. But they are not jokes. They are facts. And you know something else? There is nothing you can do about it. So let me put this in some perspective before I say anything else.

Rock in India started off in 2008 as the first ever Rock FESTIVAL in India and obviously, it was held in Bangalore, which is pretty much where most of the rock concerts take place. About 8 Indian rock bands played and the event was headlined by Megadeth and Machinehead- you know those legendary thrash metal bands? Rock in India ’09 was headlined by Iron Maiden and featured a host of other international rock bands. I went to both of them and they were awesome! Headbanging took a whole new meaning during those 2 concerts! Rock in India became the biggest rock event in India in the entire year. It gave every rock fan and every metal head something to look forward to every year.

And then this happens. Rock in India 2010 to  be headlined by Backstreet Boys! Apart from the necessary, spontaneous and inevitable reaction involving the phrase WTF, one sometimes wonders if this is some kind of a prank. Come to think of it, this is definitely one prank that any sane person would be happy to be victim to. You know why? Coz the contrary is simply insane. But that is what it is. Face it gentlemen, (and a handful of ladies) the lamest, gayest, most retarded boy band of all times is going to take over from the likes of Megadeth and Iron Maiden and is going to Headline “Rock In India” and Richard Marx is also going to be playing.  Umm….just one question. Exactly where the fuck is the ROCK part in all of this??!??

I mean seriously, HOW on earth is this possible? From what perspective is this expected to make any sense whatsoever? Ok now before I spell out any more profanities, let me make it clear. I believe every one has a right to their own taste in music. Hell, even I, who am a proud rock and metal fan, started listening to English music with the Backstreet Boys! (And fortunately moved on to better stuff soon). But getting BSB to friggin headline a ROCK Festival?? Surely, somewhere something went horribly wrong!

Apparently, the organizers are justifying their headlining act choice by saying this: “There has been a long- standing request from many music fans to our website that they would like to see mainstream music and also classic rock….” and “….rock in India is a “music” festival and the headliners have already been announced. Rock ‘n India does not mean the “genre” rock only. Being a fan you have right to an opinion. Being a promoter no artist is big or small to us. All artists are respected equally and not looked down upon just because they are a pop artist! We respect their music!” (The 2nd quote is from wiki which doesnt have a citation. So not sure)

And the above statement from someone whose official website for Rock in India states the following:

“Let it suffice to say that here: it is rock for the people, by the people and of the people.The soul of rock is contained within every individual in this generation of head banging and guitar breaking. So go ahead, make some noise and let your voice be heard. If music is religion, then these bands are the gods. Rock ‘N India being the temple of music, gives a chance for every god of music to be worshipped by its followers.”

Did you read it carefully? The organizer admits himself that he is getting a POP artist! And still he doesnt see the irony of the situation! If you wanted to get BSB, why couldnt you get them to have their own independent show? You wanna make money by staging them? Fine go ahead! I am sure there are still loads of people who are stuck at the BSB phase in their music tastes. But then why the fuck should you get them to headline a goddamn ROCK Festival? That too when previous headlining acts have been gods such as Maiden and Megadeth? If DNA wants to go commercial, so be it. But why ruin every rock fan’s dreams and month long expectations by getting a well recognized POP band to headline a ROCK Festival?

You know what this is? This is an insult to Bangalore and to all the proud Bangalore rock and metal fans. Come to think of it, this is an insult to rock fans all over India. This is an insult to the very idea of ROCK. This is an insult to Megadeth and Machinehead. This is an insult to Iron Maiden. Imagine Mustaine and Dickinson realizing that they had headlined a festival which was to be later headlined by BSB! This is also an insult to all the local Rock bands who had seen Rock in India as a great platform to promote themselves to all rock enthusiasts. I mean, can you imagine bands like Slain, Kryptos or other hard metal bands opening for BSB? Imagine the crowd they would be playing to. Would they even want to promote themselves to that crowd?

To all you Indian and specifically Bangalore Rock bands: You guys are great rockers man! Don’t spoil your image by performing in Rock in India ’10 opening to Backstreet Boys and Richard Marx. Even if you paid to perform, please realize that you are only putting your image up for sale! Every single rock fan in this country will remember you as part of the band which opened for Backstreet Boys.

And of course, there is this whole other issue with the actual Backstreet Boys fans having an open argument with the metalheads and other rock fans in public forums. It made for an awesome read though. The metal head, rightly pissed off, puts very appropriate comments about how BSB are a pop act and are not eligible to headline a rock festival (Of course you have to throw in a lot of f-words to actually get the tone of the comment). In fact, I think I will put up some of the awesome comments:

“This is so cool. BSB is touring India. I cant believe this. We deserve this. India is a place where people see rock on movies like “ROCK ON”. Guys do head bannging on listening to these shitty crap and say this is rock. This is so metal!!!. F***in son of w****s… “Rock n roll soniye” is the coolest rock song we have ever heard….”–Deathhead

Dude, you got it spot on man! Fully agree…

“The greatest WTF moment of the year, and an insult to Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Machinehead fans. You can’t get BSB under the same banner. This is like portraying Hitler as the champion of human rights.”— DB

Perfect analogy I have to say..

“after 80’s hair metal, its time for some 90’s pubic-hair pop!” –Blackmore (so he calls himself)

“HELL YEAH!!!! BSB – I suggest all dudes attending gonna wear makeup and chop off their d***s before getting their gay asses stuffed at the backstage afterparty!” —Buster

“I love the backstreet boys. They are so Metal that even Lamb of God prays to them. Chris Adler bows down to Nick (I have no idea whether thats his name). Bringing BSB to Rock n’ India is the most awesomest decision anyone can take…….” —- OLDMONKMGM

I say Sarcasm Win!

Ok enough done with the comments against BSB and the potential concert attendees. Now lets hear something from the other side here. The arguments provided by the staunch BSB supporters vary from justifying them to be a rock band to celebrating BSB’s success commercially. Here, lets take a look at some of the comments:

“this is THE shit! bsb rocks…it’s gonna be one hell of a show…it’s high time we had acts like bsb/boyzone/5ive touring india! kudos dna…looking forward for this one! i love rock music…and bsb is my favourite band, along with th names mentioned above…i thought iron maiden orchestra would make a re-run…good to know that there will be less noise this time around, ‘cos I WANT IT THAT WAY!”

“oh come on guys…backstreet boys rock! i will not call them a heavy metal band, but for sure a rockin’ group! their music might not be as heavy as bryan adams, but then quit playing games was one of the best rock anthem ever heard. let’s all hold hands and band our heads as they sing those words!”  —-both comments by a guy who calls himself ROCK LOVER

Gentlemen, let it be known that it was exactly after reading the above comments, that I had to make a sincere effort not to commit suicide. I mean..where do I start? “I love rock music and bsb is my fav band..”, “Iron Maiden Orchestra”, “quit playin games was one of the best rock anthems…”. Gentlemen, let it also be known that my search for the biggest retarded and lamest douchebag on this planet has ended.

“i love love love love love love love love love BSB!!!!!!! dey rok ! i just luv their songs” —Akanksha

Ok I think I am going to puke just looking at “dey rok”.

“bsb is the greatest band on earth aftr beatles.they r only the 2nd band 2 hav their 1st 7 albums debutin within 10.n they r only 2nd band aftr beatles 2 hav sold first 2 album with sales abuv 30 million each.even ur present rock bands cant sell even one album havin sales abuv 30 million….” —- Arij

“BSB is a pop/rock band.They are guiness record holders, sho have sold over 130 million albums!its not a joke man.how many albums have megadeth sold? they sing contemporary rock, piano rock, power ballads, they are great singers.All you people who dont know that they are also a rock band, please update yourselfs, moron, they rock, they are the best.their debue rock album “NEVER GONE”, released in 2005, was 3rd in billboard list i 2005, 11th in uk, 1st in japan, 1st in australia,1st in taiwan,3rd in europe. songs like “Incomplete”,”i still”, “Just want you to know”,”Crawling back to you”, are worldwide hits, and they also got bilboard awards for this. All those people who said they are bad, all of them are a disgrace to India, let us embrace THE BACKSTREET BOYS, who have revolutionised music. Have some respect for their accomplishments, 7 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS AREN’T a joke!, only BEATLES HAVE SOLD MORE ALBUMS THAN BSB not even GREENDAY…..” —- Ridam

Ok lets see some hard facts. YES BSB have sold more than 130 million albums. Yes Megadeth or Maiden hasnt sold more than them. YES they have many  #1 songs all over the world. YES their first 2 albums sold more than 30 million copies. YES they have an enormous fan following. And YES, they are also RETARDED and fuckin’ GAY!

But here is my personal favorite comment from a BSB fan who is justifying them headlining a ROCK festival. This is just simply awesome:

“who says bsb cant do good???dey r da biggest pop band…….dey can surely rock…..” —- Avadesh

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WTF??!???

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I REST MY CASE.

Oh and BTW, if any BSB fan or “real music” fan decides to comment to air their “views”, please feel free to do so. But be warned, that by doing so, you are only making an ass out of yourself.

Ok. In all seriousness, let me state my real concern. It is a fact that there are a lot more pop fans who like to see a bunch of guys with mics dancing as compared to metalheads dying to see their gods perform. And it is also very likely that the turnout at these pop concerts are going to be higher than Rock concerts. Now what worries me is that, once the Corporate organizers realize that they can make much more money by getting contemporary pop artists to India, they will not revert to Rock acts again in the future. And THAT my friends, is my main concern. There is no denying its possibility.

But all this apart, let me also remind the readers that as of now, (Jan 22), there is no official announcement regarding the headliners on the websites of either Rock in India or the BSB. Not that I have much hope, coz I am right now half way across the planet deciding between live shows of Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Porcupine Tree. You see…I have better options. Thankfully.

UPDATE: Well now its all official. Backstreet Boys to headline a Rock Festival. Rock IS dead my friends. At least thanks to people like those in DNA who make sure of it.

MEGADETH in Bangalore! – A Review

The day had finally arrived. Anyone who regularly goes to concerts knows it to be a painful experience right up to the time the main act takes the stage. And this was no exception. Rock in India started at about 2:30 in the afternoon with the Indian Professional bands playing first in a side stage after which the main acts of Machinehead and Megadeth would take place. Now only the real Rock fans know to appreciate Indian rock bands. And for all those, it was a feast on that day as about 7 well known bands performed all their hit singles. Now before I get into the details of the show, let me tell you something about the concert as such.

Now as in any concert, it was a NO SMOKING area. Yeah right! The only thing you could see there at all times was smoke! And for the first time in India, a rock concert had alcohol being sold in the arena-courtesy Royal Challenge who were the main sponsors for the entire event! So all those who wanted to get high and headbang to glory were in for a treat. Well at least that’s what I thought so! Because only after I realized that there was ‘other’ stuff in use to get high, did I understand why there was that different smell to all that smoke around me! My good friend who had accompanied me to the concert stabbed me to the ‘stuff’- like he always does. And throughout the festival, the crowd was very violent, with a hell lot of unfriendly pushing and pulling, with all of it culminating in one of the most violent mosh pits that I have seen! And that’s as much as I wanted to say about the concert as such. So now lets get on with the bands and their performances.

1) Casino Blues: So first up was Casino Blues. Apparently they had won some competition and had come all the way from Assam or something. Ok so they started playing their originals with not much of a stage presence and that really got a section of the crowd who were already drunk to start hurling abuses at the band members-both verbally and with gestures. But well, the band members couldn’t do much could they? So they just continued with their songs. They must have sung some 4 of their own. They were not bad. But I believe they are still beginners in the field of professional music and need some experience playing on stage. Notwithstanding the crowd jeers, they began to play “Where the streets have no name” by U2 to end their stint. Like I said, I would like to see them some 4-5 years from now.

2) Prestorika: I guess that’s the name of the band (or is it Perestroika?). Anyway, I had heard a few of their songs before and I liked them. I don’t remember too much about their performance apart from the fact that they were a lot heavier than Casino Blues and the crowd obviously seemed to like that. They responded with the first mosh pit of the day where a drunk dude got his shirt torn pretty bad and was happy about it! Their music was good and they had a nice stage presence. The crowd definitely liked them.

3) Junkyard Groove: Now this was one band that I was really looking forward to. I had heard a few of their songs previously and had also heard of their good stage performances. And I was definitely not disappointed. Their originals were really melodious to hear and even better were their stage presence. It was like seeing a really experienced band play on stage. They got the crowd to actually sing along their best original-“Its OK”. Now that is something that doesn’t happen all the time with Indian bands!

Lead Vocalist (to the silent crowd): “Hey common man! Say something. Say We love you, Once more, Fuck off! Say anything!”

The band really got a big ovation from the crowd which was really sizeable in number.

4) Motherjane: Ok Motherjane was very easily the best of all the Indian bands that played on that day! Now here is a piece of information hard to digest: All the band members are from Kerala and are staying in Kerala! So what you have here is a ROCK band comprising full of Mals! Now I never knew I would live to see that day! But I have and I am glad for that! Motherjane, I believe is the band that has the true potential to make it big on the international stage. Their music is a blend of rock and classical. And the best part is that it doesn’t sound incongruous at all! It would be very easy to see these guys on the street and dismiss them off as just another horde of Mallus.

But make no mistake! These guys are good! The lead vocalist was a smart looking chap with the voice anyone would die for! And the lead guitarist! I mean, if you actually saw this guy somewhere, you would think this guy was some sort of a rustic Mal. But there he was on stage with his guitar and his cooling glasses playing these mind blowing leads in classical style like a GOD! I just loved his attitude. It was like he was saying: “I am a Mal. I ROCK!” Never saw that one coming! He was my first qualified candidate for the “Cool Mal” image! Mindstreet was the song of the entire evening which got the most crowd participation and cheers! They also played a few other songs. But there was this one song during which the guitarist had some problem with the amp and he had to actually fix it during the song and before the lead started. So here is this guy, fixing the amp during the song with his lead coming up in a few moments, fixes the amp, and then goes on to play the best solo of the evening! Now if you know which was the song that he played, please let me know. I just loved that piece!

All in all, Motherjane was the best Indian band to perform that day!

5) Thermal and a Quarter: Ok obviously no introduction is required for this band! Everyone knows TAAQ. I had just gone out as they started to play. I guess I didn’t miss out on many of their songs. But even though I was very much in the arena for all their show, I don’t remember them playing Jupiter Café. Now if they did, do let me know. I was really looking forward to that. But they played their other songs and a couple of unreleased ones from their new album as well. Like I said, I wasn’t there for the entire performance but as far as I could make out, the music was definitely good!

6) Millenium: Now that was a band that I hadn’t heard at all and I wanted to see what music they played. Apparently these guys have been around for a lot of time and have released many albums. They basically played real hard metal prompting the crowd to go on a mosh rampage. I did like their music and would like to listen to them sometime. They had a great stage presence though!

7)Pentagram: Ok frankly speaking I am not a great fan of this band. Largely due to the predominant electronic sound that they have. And as this was the last band before Machinehead, I went over to the other stage where Machinehead and Megadeth would be performing. And I really didn’t pay much attention to what was going on there as everyone were already jostling for space around me.

MACHINEHEAD

Now I had frankly not been listening to them before I learnt that they would be coming down here. And even after that, I found their music too hard for me. But it was a totally different scene altogether at the concert. Once Machinehead came on stage and started hammering through their numbers, I saw this huge mosh pit next to me and I was so fuckin tempted to go mosh myself! I almost joined them but my friend pulled me back just in time! But looking back now, I wish I had moshed then. But there was no stopping Machinehead. One after another their songs started getting harder and harder. Lead vocalist Robert Flynn spoke a lot to the crowd about how they had never dreamt that they would be coming to India when they started off and stuff like that. And then he went on to say this: “Someone around here in the crowd is smoking an enormous amount of Marijuana and it is all coming over here! Way to go man!” Now that was something!

It was a true headbanger’s dream come true! That was officially the best growling I had ever heard! I guess that is what you would call Professional Growling! Machinehead was just simply too fuckin’ heavy and too fuckin’ good!

MEGADETH

Ok first things first. This is not the same old Megadeth. There is no Marty Friedman. Get that. And no Glen Drover. It was only Mustaine from the original lineup but I will not underestimate the bassist James Lemenzo and drummer Shawn Drover were already seasoned Megadeth members. But I really wanted to see how good the new guitarist Chris Broderick was. Mustaine had a lot of great things to say about him prior to the concert. Anyway, they came on stage at around 9 in the night to some deafening cheers and straight away screamed into “Sleepwalker” from their latest album. Now I might not get the entire order perfectly. So just let me know if I am wrong. And after Sleepwalker, they began one of my favorites “In my Darkest Hour”! The intro riffs were damn good but was disappointing were the sound systems. I was really surprised with the lack of sound volume in the first place alongwith the complete absence of the vocals and the lead guitars. However I enjoyed the song thoroughly and then they screamed into A Tout Le Monde one of my other favorites. I think they played the original version and not the one in their new album but I couldn’t make it out clearly- what with Mustaine making the crowd do the singing. Again, I could not make out the lead guitar at the end of the song which was really disappointing. But then the sound improved when they screamed into “Skin o’ My Teeth”.

At that time I knew that they would be belting out only their hit numbers. So then followed Hangar 18 and Symphony of Destruction! It was then that I remembered that seeing those songs being performed live by Megadeth themselves was my teenage fantasy and it was really hard to believe that it was happening in front of me! I headbanged to Hangar 18 and Symphony of Destruction to my complete satisfaction! Frankly speaking, I went hysterical when they played those songs, acting like I was out of my senses! Anyone who had seen me at that time would have surely got concerned about my mental state. The sound had improved a lot by then and I was able to hear the solo clearly. But what I was disappointed was with Chris Broderick. I mean he was the lead guitarist but Mustaine was playing most of the solos. Even in Hangar 18! Now I have no doubt about Broderick’s ability to shred and play any Megadeth lead, but he never was the highlight even in the solos! Anyway, I don’t know when exactly but I clearly remember the intro to Tornado of Souls and heard the crowd go wild. I love that song and that lead as well! And then they played “Washington is Next” from their new album. The crowd was headbanging again when James went into the bass of “Peace Sells But who is Buying”. But one song that I was really waiting for all the time was TRUST and as James gave the bass intro to it, and as the drums picked up and the intro lead came up, I saw myself getting hysterical yet again! The lead is clearly the highlight of the song and Broderick played it to perfection! I just loved that one moment in the middle of the song when it went complete silent and then next moment Broderick is ripping through the lead. That one moment, I felt my fantasy fulfilled! I just loved TRUST!

I was really expecting them to play She-Wolf or Secret Place but instead they went into Burnt Ice from their new album which involved a lot of shredding and it was good. “Before we end this tonight, we would like to just tell you how much we liked being here….And we will be back!” and then the guitar screamed HOLY WARS! That was exactly the last time that I went hysterical that night! Headbanging to Holy Wars was something that I thought would never happen. But there I was headbanging myself till my neck hurt. But again, I was really disappointed that Broderick didn’t take the stage and instead it was Mustaine all the way even in Holy Wars! Not that he was bad but a lead guitar is a lead guitar and he is the one who should be providing the style to the performance. Like I said, I do not doubt Chris’ ability but I just wish he had played a more active part in the concert. And so there it was! They had performed 12 of their hits in just over an hour. It was surely a short performance but one that was packed with a lot of energy!

And all I cared was that I was there when Megadeth came to Bangalore and I headbanged to Hangar 18 and Holy Wars! Now that’s something I can tell my grandchildren about. So if any of you had been to the concert, do leave a comment about your experience there.

PS: My good friend and I were supposed to get drunk at my home as my parents were out. Forget the booze, we didn’t get anything to eat in the first place and had to satisfy our extreme hunger with Cucumber and Carrot!

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