The great metal weekend has just wrapped itself up. In a once in a lifetime occurrence, two major international bands headlined two major metal festivals, happening in the same city and at the same time, at different venues. Some headed for Testament at NH7 Weekender in Bangalore, and the rest, like me, chose to attend the Indian Metal Festival, headlined by Gojira.
As soon as I reached the venue, I had an intuition that I’d made a mistake. Two wheeler parking was about half a kilometre away from Manpho Convention Centre, and was priced at an exorbitant 100 rupees, with no security guaranteed. A man in a suit was handing out parking tickets, which was ridiculous in more than one way. But that unpleasant surprise was just the beginning. The venue was shoddy, with no impressive backdrop or even a stable looking stage. I felt a tinge of embarrassment to think that a band as huge as Gojira would have to play up there! But we all just kept our fingers crossed that the sound would make up for it.
The second shock came our way when the gig, which was supposed to begin at 1PM, was pushed to 4PM. And as expected, the opening bands had to cut down their time on stage. To make things worse, Escher’s Knot and Agnostic did not play at all. Gutslit started things off at the Indian Metal Festival, but they struggled with sound issues, and despite it, put up a good show. Eccentric Pendulum also went up for a hurried 20 minutes, (in place of an hour, as they’d been promised earlier). At this juncture, I would like to pose a question to all gig organizers around the country. Why do you always compromise only when it comes to our local artists? Do you realize the amount of practice, among other things, that these bands put into making a good show? Why do you always make them pay for your lack of good organizational skills? It’s about time that Indian artists get the same quality of sound as international acts, and also, the same amount of time on stage. If your gig is running late, then work things out, but without making our artists be the ones to give up on something.
Now, continuing with the review… After not watching Agnostic and Escher’s Knot, the international co-headliners, or opening acts… however you’d want to address them, came on stage. Flayed Disciple went up next, and they killed it! They were the second highlight of the evening, after Gojira. Tight and super heavy, they played a set that roughly lasted 40 minutes, ending with their death metal version of ‘Angel of Death’. Bloodshot Dawn took over after them, and were fairly good too- especially their drummer/ vocalist. They won over the crowd though, and the band members showered the audience with t-shirts and high fives. Xerath followed, and though their dramatic opening was followed by an unsatisfactory beginning, (due to some sound issues, again), they settled in quickly and put up a tight set. The vocalist couldn’t help but remind many of us of Soilwork’s ‘Speed’ Strid.
After they wrapped up, Mario’s drumkit was unveiled, and Gojira’s set up began. Thankfully, not much time was wasted, and the French prog/ death metallers invaded the stage. They sounded powerful as they opened with “Explosia” from their newest album L’ Enfant Sauvage. They played a perfect mix of the old and the new, and here’s a picture of their setlist:
But the band didn’t stick to this, and surprised us with a couple of unplanned songs like “Love”. Another highlight was the fantastic role-switching act, when frontman/ guitarist Joe Duplantier took over the drums, and brother Mario Duplantier took over guitars and vocals. They didn’t seem out of place at all, and had the audience in a happy frenzy during this little interchange. The drum solo, the dedication to Pt. Ravi Shankar, their energy on stage, their interaction with the crowd and the “shukriya”s, and of course, their tightness as a live act showed us why Gojira is currently one of the biggest metal bands around the world. No goof-ups, not a single sloppy second… very few bands can brag about this!
It was a mind-blowing performance, and Gojira saved the day for IMF. If not for them, and probably Flayed Disciple, I’m pretty sure that angry fans may have torn down the venue.
The organizers- Sweet Leaves Events, also fucked up with issuing media passes, by making some webzines (like ours), purchase tickets, when letting in their friends and some other media companies for free. Favouritism? Well… when asked about it, the organizer says “I don’t know why I did that”. They also lashed back at criticism on Facebook by sending out an apology:-
To all Indian Metal Festival Attendees,
Firstly,However it was, we hope you enjoyed the gig! We’re sorry for the mediocre management. Involvement of many fucked up people who were more concerned about money than music led to many unavoidable problems.
For the bands who couldn’t play, we are more sorry than we could express.Agnostic,we had called them all the way from the north east because we wanted to expose the brilliant metal scene up there.We could have got well-known metal bands too to increase out footfalls,but we wanted to g
All in all,we understood where we went wrong,and we shall definitely put up a better gig the next time.ive you guys a chance to go on a big stage to show your talent.To show the obnoxious metal scene how you guys are so passionate about the ‘metal’.But the situation and the politics that happened at the last moment,we were just helpless.We hope you forgive us and we shall surely try to get you guys a bigger gig the next time.
Up the horns \m/
P.S. For the critics, it’s easy to criticize on a social networking site,but it’s really tough to do something like the Indian Metal Festival.
See the post here.
If it’s “really tough to do something like the Indian Metal Festival”, then why attempt it in the first place, do a bad job, and then point fingers at others and play the blame game? It only seems like the team behind IMF tried to bite off more than they could chew, and then pushed the blame on others, without taking the onus for whatever happened as one crew. Rumors float around about how the international acts, including Gojira, cut down on their setlist to accommodate the Indian bands, and if true, it’s amazing that they did that. We wait for the day when event organizers here learn a lesson or two in professional event management, and learn to respect our artists, the fans and the media, because without them, you wouldn’t have an event to run in the first place. IMF scraped through thanks to the bands and the decent turnout, but dear organizers… learn this. If you don’t get your act together, you’re going to lose the little support that you’ve been getting. And if you think you are a blessing to the Indian metal scene… well, we’re sorry to burst your bubble, but you are not. Bands and fans can stand together, like they always have, and do a better job than you have been doing.