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The Livewire Diaries 2007

By Azeem Banatwalla | January 1, 2008

Split Magazine: Livewire 2007Date: December 27, 28, 29, 2007 | Venue: IIT Bombay

So IIT Bombay’s Mood Indigo and Livewire are back in all their glory, and they couldn’t have come soon enough. As one of the most anticipated events on the Mumbai rock calendar, Livewire has never failed to deliver, and this year seems to be no exception. With more than 25 bands taking part, Zero and Thermal And A Quarter headlining the event, and more than 15,000 crazy fans packed into an open air auditorium, this promises to be quite a show.

For those of you that are new to Livewire, or rock competitions in general, there’s usually an elimination round wherein the bands are given on average 15-20 minutes onstage, including time to set-up and check their sound, so, barring any technical glitches they can usually manage about three or four songs in their time slot. After that they pray to whichever gods they may or may not believe in that the judges find them good enough to make it to the finals. That’s about it. On we go then.

Livewire Eliminations: Day One

Well, seeing as all of us here at Split are an honest bunch of lads and lasses, I’d have to admit that I was late for today’s elims, and missed the first three and a half performances. However, the friendly neighbourhood Demonstealer, Sahil Makhija, was more than helpful as he filled me in on what I had missed.

Liquid Chaos‘ set included “The Wicker Man” (Iron Maiden) and “N.I.B.” (Black Sabbath), along with one of their own songs. Sahil didn’t seem to think too much of them. The second band to take the stage were K P & Sons, who covered “Panama” (Van Halen), “Cherry Pie” (Warrant) and a fun, catchy original called “Sex Machine”. Next up were Anarchy, who were received very well with songs such as “Hangar 18″ (Megadeth), “Master of Puppets” (Do you really need to know?) and an original entitled “Anarchy Reigns”. The crowd got quite into it, predictably, as does usually happen when you play songs that a vast majority of your audience has heard. Depth, the band from Pune, were decent, with all three originals, in “Wasted Soul”, “Must Drink” and “Speed or Die”. They drew Judas Priest in some respects, and with strong vocals and a very good lead guitarist, as I gathered from watching their third song, they seemed to be in with an outside chance of making the finals.

Sadly, Devoid proved to be the biggest disappointment of the day. Their performance was plagued with technical glitches, malfunctioning amplifiers, faltering vocals, and zero crowd interaction. Not very nice, I can assure you. They started with one of their own songs, entitled “Devoid of Emotion” that had a great intro, strong riffs, and, err, that’s about it. “Kali” and “Hate Cult” followed in pretty much the same vein, and it seemed, in the end, as though they were almost glad to get off the stage.

The show really kicked into gear when Black took to the stage. I’ve watched them on a couple of occasions before, and if I thought they were good then, they were completely off the hook today! They started off with their standard song “Newspaperboy”, a Pearl Jam-esque song with a really catchy tune, brilliant vocals, and unbelievable guitar playing. The lead vocalist, Shawn, really gave them an immense stage presence, and got the crowd into it, jumping on and off stage without remorse, and eventually almost starting a mosh pit in front of the stage whilst performing “Sold”. Black were great today, and were prime contenders, in my opinion to make the next round.

Up next, were another band from Pune called Point Blanc. Their performance too was hindered by technical issues, with the lead guitar being next to inaudible during their first number, “Slither” (Velvet Revolver). That was followed by two originals in “Lost Warrior” and “Death Streak”. They just couldn’t get the crowd into it, however, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. They finished up with “Paradise City” (Guns N’ Roses) unsurprisingly dedicated to Bombay, and that was done very well. It was more a case of them being glad that they’d done something to get a few shouts from the crowd!

When PipeDream took to the stage next, it seemed rather bizarre to see them setting up a laptop which was to be used as a synthesizer, and it took them a good ten minutes to just get all the equipment together. It was a three-man (two-man-one-woman to be precise) band for the first two songs, the first being a cover of “Pardon Me” (Incubus) and an original, “Illusion Bled”. The vocalist had a strong voice, working the laptop while she was singing. She seemed to be a really nice, cute girl in my eyes when she asked, so sweetly, “Do you guys like Rage Against the Machine?”, and nothing could have prepared me for what came next. Three became four with the addition of a bassist, and before anybody knew what was happening, they were tearing the stage apart with “Wake Up”, and that got the whole crowd buzzing, head banging, moshing, the works. PipeDream were something different, and I just get the feeling they’ve made a pretty strong case to enter the finals.

I’m starting to feel like something of a hypocrite now, going ga-ga over every second band saying they might win, but here we go! Pushing Tin arrived on stage, and entertained us while they were setting up with a double act between the vocalist and bassist. They seemed to be this bunch of carefree, happy, Christmas Spirit-toting guys from Bangalore, complete with red Santa hats for all the band members except the bassist who sported red thorns on his head, and you just knew they were here to have a blast. They were entertainment through and through, starting with “Cocaine” (Eric Clapton), followed by three blistering, mind numbing originals, the first of which was called “Learn to Funk”. They had the complete package. Great vocals, insane lead and bass guitars, great music, and all of them were just having so much fun that it rubbed onto the crowd automatically. Their stage presence was immense, and the two songs that followed, “Won’t Look Back” and “On the Edge” were something of a punk-rock-’n'-roll fusion that was just beautiful. Again, really, really strong contenders not just to make the finals, but to win the competition itself (there I go again).

Then along came Skincold, another popular band, who fortunately lived up to their billing quite well. After causing much frustration with their extended soundcheck, came “Dust”, which is a great song with strong vocals alternating between harsh and clean, and some fabulous guitaring to go with it. The next song was “This Is My Trip” and was, well, “psychedelic metal”, if you will; again, a song done very well. They wrapped up with “Wake Up”, another fabulous song with great riffs, excellent guitar work and a few tabla pieces thrown in as well. Skincold‘s stage presence was great, their music sounded great, and they look like strong contenders as well.

Next came Silver, a band with a fun rock ‘n’ roll sound and one extremely stoned bassist. Their original “Feel the Heat” was a catchy, fun song that got the crowd going. During their next song, “Silver Kiss”, the bassist went so crazy running all over the stage that he ended up pulling the plug on his bass, resulting in a rather abrupt silence. They took it from the top after that, and the song sounded pretty good in the end. They wrapped up with two covers, “Big Balls” (AC/DC) and “Black Night” (Deep Purple), and got quite an ovation from the crowd.

Everybody was on their way out when we heard that Rosemary would be the final band performing today. Somebody ought to have told the vocalist that its alright to be incoherent when you’re covering Nirvana, but you really need to speak up when you’re telling people what song you’re playing! Maybe he was just stoned. Who knows? Either way, they started out with “April’s Song” followed by “Aneurysm” (Nirvana). The vocalist-cum-lead guitarist was great, albeit majorly over the top, ending up collapsing onto the stage while still strumming like crazy during one of their own songs titled either “Coal” or “Cold”, as well as their final track “I Saw Her Standing There” (The Beatles). It seemed, however that they were very unmotivated as the vocalist, for some bizarre reason, said, “This is our final track. Thank God.” They’re a band with great potential, but perhaps just need some more experience on a big stage.

Overview

Today was a good day on the whole with some brilliant performances, especially by Black, Pushing Tin and Skincold, and some surprise packages in the form of Silver and PipeDream. There were, of course a few downers in Devoid and Liquid Chaos, but on the whole, it was entertaining, and I was really glad to be there. All I can say is that the judges will have a hard time deciding who to put out, and I just hope tomorrow is as good; and I’ll try to be on time.

Read on for a look at Day Two and the finals.

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Comments

2 Comments. Post Yours Here.
  1. March 19, 2008, 12:14 pm Parth Pandya

    GREAT REVIEW…

  2. April 4, 2009, 12:00 pm Shoubhik

    fuck i heard Ensiferum highlighted the Livewire 08

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