Before any other organizer starts planning about getting down a headlining act, that we look up to, these IIT-ians at Bombay are done dealing with the leading bands and have packed them off already. Their choices cannot be doubted, because they have by far had bands that are the torchbearers of their respective genres. Ensiferum in 2008, Porcupine Tree in 2009, Katatonia in 2010 and Karnivool in 2011. Who would have thought?
Everytime December seems close I keep my ears open for the organizers of Livewire to announce an act that nobody would have thought they’d get in touch with. These young brains are given the freedom to make decisions using which they do some mind-reading and put up a show that becomes more than just memorable. My association with Livewire dates back to 2005 and onwards. With each passing year nothing changes, audiences enter the institute via the main gate, go straight and take the biggest right turn the campus has to offer and there you are at the Student Activity Centre (SAC). The line to enter the venue never ends. Nothing changes except for the scale at which the event is conducted.
So, being the media partner for Livewire it was a breeze to enter the venue and for the first time in about six years I saw the event starting from band number one!
Lineup for the evening included –
1. Hoodwink’s Circle (1st runner’s up)
2. Turnkey (2nd runner’s up)
3. Verses (winners)
4. Junkyard Groove (opening band)
Although the three finalists were fighting it out for the same title, not every band got the same amount of time to showcase their prowess on stage. That said, the bands had the attitude, they did what they could. While I would have chosen Hoodwink’s Circle for representing India at the Global Finals, the judges chose Verses. I, however, do not agree with the result nor did one of the on-looker who had this to say, “They were playing forever, it’s like they were headlining the show“. Only I am allowed to be non-anonymous on this zine.
Welcoming Karnivool were Chennai-localites Junkyard Groove who opened the doors to funky rock ‘n roll draping the entire venue with their brand of melody. Although vocalist Ameeth Thomas failed at trying to make the crowd laugh (by cracking lame jokes), his voice more than made up for everything. So, JYG (short for Junkyard Groove) should just stick to entertaining the crowd, through music. There is a new album in the making, according to Ameeth and the crowd got to hear a lot of fresh material here. This was the first time I saw JYG live, and I must say they were so much more better than a certain Thermal And A Quarter (they played Livewire in 2007). I was caught snoring during TAAQ‘s set. Before I forget, good individual talent in JYG.
8:15 p.m. Lights, camera, action, sex! Karnivool, progressive rock musicians from Australia, showed everyone why they should be remembered more often than the stupid kangaroos from their continent. Kicking-off the concert with Goliath, the band surpassed every expectation, bringing together universes of sound. It was not just about the music, but the collective effort of the five personalities who made sure everything around seems surreal for the next one and a half hours. Ian Kenny, the frontman, speaks less and emits more. Like he said, “Music is a universal language. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, music brings us all together“.
Everytime an international artist debuts in India they are surprised. It’s like they never hoped to see such reactions. Same happened with Karnivool. With hands on their mouths, the band was taken aback by the kind of love that was being showered upon them. Even I was surprised how some posers had mastered the art of displaying their undying support for the band although they’ve heard just one song by the band. Just one.
Karnivool was short of words and hence they continued performing rather than wasting any time. Their presence itself made all the difference.
Even the light arrangements were superbly done adding to the psychedelic property of Karnivool‘s songs. Before you even ask let me tell you that on-stage they are even more telling than the records. Their musical marathon continued non-stop till about 9:30 p.m. and then there was an encore.
This was their set-list for the night –
Set Fire to the Hive
All I know
Fear of the Sky
This concert was 2011’s biggest highlight for me. Yes, including NH7 Weekender and Metallica concert. There are reasons, and then there are reasons.
The Open Air Theatre (OAT) at IIT Powai is fast becoming a venue that would be counted on the first five fingers every time major ‘concerts’ are spoken about. Countless memories of so many artists and attendees are attached to this place. It only gets bigger and better each time, and more than anything else the organizers at IIT are making so many dreams come true. And, in case you already don’t know, making that happen is not the least bit easy.
And some more :