After a very successful first edition, ‘Evilution’- a Bangalore metal gig that’s now turning into a property of sorts, returned with a second version. This time, it was supposed to be “Uglier, Heavier and Louder”. But sadly, more than anything else, it was a massive disappointment. And no, this wasn’t because of any of the bands, or the organization. As you read on, you might figure out why I label it this way.
The gig started a little late, with Progressive Death/ Thrash band Ontologus going on stage first. Those of us who watched them soundcheck realized that they sounded much better then than when they actually began their set, mainly because we were only able to hear them through the stage monitors. Despite this, they put on a good show, playing some of their originals and also threw in a cover of Megadeth’s “Dread and the Fugitive Mind”. Yashaswi was impressive on the guitars and vocals, but unfortunately, he unofficially announced that it would be his last show with the band. I’m looking forward to what they have coming our way next, especially after their trademark vocal and guitar sound changes.
Djinn and Miskatonic went on stage next, but their set was plagued with sound issues. They started off slightly shaky, particularly because the vocals were a bit off-key initially, but they settled in soon enough. Just when the punch began to kick in, the guitars went off, and some minutes later, it was the bass. Midway through, we could barely hear the vocals, and these multiple distractions made the crowd a little fidgety. I’ve watched Djinn and Miskatonic from their first show here, and I have to mention that I have seen a steady improvement with every gig. Sriram has definitely upped the on-stage energy level of the band by quite a bit too. They have just released their album ‘Forever in the Realm’ and you can pick it up here.
Shepherd was up next, and this was their first show* without vocalist (now ex-vocalist), Mahesh. Vocal duties were shared by Deepak and Namit, who did a pretty good job. Deepak took over the more screechy style of vocals, and Namit handled the singing. They surely looked like they were having fun, but in comparison to their earlier shows, this seemed more like a casual on-stage jam. And this primarily because they were lacking in the stage presence and interaction that a frontman brings into the equation. But apart from this little flaw, they were still tight, as they’ve always been.
Thrashers Threinody got ready to go up next, and finally, Ion Bar and Kitchen looked like there was a serious gig happening. Prior to this, the audience was sparse and scattered, but Threinody managed to get people together. During the previous edition of Evilution, the band cut their set short to give Albatross time on-stage, and this time too, they did the same so that the outstation bands, i.e. Orion and Fragarak, would not run out of time. Threinody played only three songs, and sounded louder than any of the previous bands. Though it started off being a plus point, it only got more jarring as the show went on. But they were tight, powerful and yes… fucking awesome!
Orion- the Mumbai based Progressive Death metallers were up after Threinody. They took a while to get their sound in place, but things began to get uncomfortable because the clock was ticking, and we were nearing the hour for the Bangalore live-gig deadline. The crowd had, by this time, reduced to a shameful 20-30 people. Orion was interesting, especially with their mix of growls and clean vocals, resonant of some Opeth and Soilwork. But by this time, the sound issues were troubling the band a great deal, actually causing them to restart their first song all over again. The output was so distorted on the speakers that it was actually getting slightly annoying for those watching. The guitar melodies weren’t audible to us in the audience, and sudden spurts of sounds from the instruments on stage didn’t make things any better. I don’t think I can comment on this band because of all these problems, and I am hoping they will play a longer and less troubled set in Bangalore soon.
Fragarak faced similar issues, but they powered through those 10 or 15 minutes trying to make the most of their time on stage. Again, vocals were not heard, except to those in front who didn’t need to rely on the microphone for that. Bass work was commendable, but now and then, Fragarak messed up their timing. I can’t tell for sure why this happened, and whether the on-stage sound contributed to this or not, but the drums seemed out of sync with the rest of the band more than once. By this time, Bangalore cops had arrived and the pub authorities were creating a ruckus in front of the stage, forcing things to stop. So after a short and unsatisfactory set, the gig had come to an end.
Coming to why I called this gig a massive disappointment, there were three main reasons. Bad sound, pathetic turnout and of course, Bangalore cops and their stupid deadline rule. Every band who played at the show suffered with bad sound, and this also wasted a lot of time. The turnout was shamefully low, and there definitely wouldn’t have been more than 120 people in total, including the floating crowd. In fact, I think that is an overestimation as well. What was worse was that by 9.30PM, people started trickling out, and it was just a handful of those who stayed till the end. Bangalore cannot call itself the metal capital anymore. It’s such a disgrace that the metal community is so vocal and active online and on Facebook, but when it comes to attending a show and supporting the bands, there’s hardly anyone! And added to this is the problem with our police, their irrational rules, their unrealistic deadlines, with only the aim to collect as much bribe as they can, and cause hell for the rest of us.
But kudos nevertheless to the team at A 91 Productions for having faith in the metal scene and bringing out gigs like these frequently, and keeping us alive! Next stop- Vehement Era! Support the scene and show up!
*We apologize, this was Shepherd’s second show without Mahesh, the first was Echoes from Beneath, as correctly pointed out by Achintya Venkatesh.