In a scene where promoters are few in number, sponsors are non-existent for gigs, and bands almost always play for free, it only makes sense to follow the DIY model if metal needs to survive in India. We’ve seen so called ‘event management companies’ run by a bunch of college kids mushrooming in multiple cities, and even large scale events like Bangalore Open Air are adopting the crowd-funding model. Success has always been a big question mark, but one gig that followed the same approach and reaped multiple benefits was Twisted Metal.
Organized by a bunch of bands who got together and decided to test the waters. Twisted Metal was conceptualized as a gig that would feature a variety of metal genres with a sort of ‘twisted’ line-up, and that would be arranged from scratch by all the members themselves. After weeks of planning, the show finally kicked off at Pebble Jungle Lounge in Bangalore, on the 24th of August. The venue was open-air, and the sound set-up was perfect, with acoustics being very apt for metal bands. The gig started about half an hour later than scheduled, and Neolithic Silence kicked things off that evening.
Their set had a mix of covers and originals, and set the energy perfectly for an evening of good, heavy music. I’d have to make a special mention of drummer Yadhu, who played with a back brace- just
recovering from an injury, and still, turned out to be one of the best performers that evening. Neolithic Silence has come so far over the years, and this new line-up is one of the best things to have happened to the band. Doom descended on the venue some minutes later when Djinn and Miskatonic got on stage. When I watched them for the first time more than a year ago, I was confused, like many others around me, about why the music was so gloomy, and why the riffs weren’t faster. Over time, I have begun to understand their style a bit better, but I also notice a lot of newbie’s looking at perplexed as I might have back then. They have gotten a lot tighter- drumming has become crisp, vocals have moved into a more comfortable zone and of course, bass and guitars stand out as heroes. As I mentioned in one of my previous reviews, it would be great to have visualisation along with their set to experience their music in a more holistic sort of way.
Live Banned were up next, and had hinted about a metal version of their usual crazy set. Many of us were curious, but also slightly doubtful about how they would fit in. But boy, they proved us wrong. They were easily one of the heaviest acts that night! And they did more than just add distortion to their existing songs. Escher’s Knot vocalist Abijith joined them to add the gutturals for “Death Dance”. They also did their customary medley-of-songs thing, with a lot of popular, recognizable metal riffs. It was one surprise after another, a burst of energy and in all, an absolutely killer set. All bands need a lesson or two from these guys about stage presence and crowd engagement! They also had some mental costumes and black cloaks to accentuate the madness. The altered line-up was brilliant- with Yadhu playing the drums instead of Dheeru, and Siddarth on guitars, instead of on keys. Though all bands were fantastic that night, Live Banned was easily everyone’s favourite- simply because they put up something that was completely unexpected, and blew everyone away.
We returned to sanity with Lucidreams and some old school heavy metal. I had last watched this band at a Sunday Jam gig, and they weren’t very good back then. But with a new and improved line-up, they have made it worth sticking around for 20 years! Very Dio-inspired, their music is quite a nostalgic trip. They played some new material from their upcoming album ‘Bollocks’ and it was very impressive. They also played a cover of “Holy Diver” and also Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” (they moved into a region that’s pretty much monopolized by Bevar Sea) and did a pretty good job too! Their song patterns are traditional, with long and melodic guitar solos, but the emotion that comes through is quite intense. Vocalist Vineesh is all Ronnie James Dio in his mannerisms and singing style, but far from being an imitation. Lucidreams was another welcome surprise that evening, and I’m really looking forward to watching them more often.
Bhoomi. What a fucking awesome band. I don’t usually use profanity as an adverb, but at the moment, I can’t seem to find anything that’s more of a superlative than that! These guys have been around for a long time now, but their music never gets boring or repetitive. They too played quite a few new originals, and their growth as a band is so evident in the songwriting and the melodies. The band has an infectious energy on stage and guitarist Tony stole the show that night. Bhoomi was my personal favourite at Twisted Metal.
Threinody was the final act at Twisted Metal, and there couldn’t have been a better way to end the night. It was all about pure thrash (and there was nothing twisted about that) that came with some restricted moshing (venue rules… bah!) and loads of vigorous headbanging. This was one band where the audience enjoyed their originals as much as their covers. Whether it was “In Extremis” or “Phobia”, the crowd was charged up all through the set. They interrupted their set to hand out free shots, and everyone held up their glasses to pay tribute to their ex-band member who passed away some time ago. For one of the few times, Threinody got to play their setlist entirely, without having to cut down to accommodate other acts. They were a powerful way to conclude the show. (They are also responsible for my broken neck, by the way).
The gig had an attendance of around 230 people, which is fairly good going by Bangalore standards. It was a relief to not have sound issues, and what was even better was that the show started a little behind schedule, but eventually settled into the pre-fixed time table. All bands had enough time on stage, and nobody had to compromise in any way. The show ended on time, and there were no glitches. The bands were happy, the crowd was happy and the weather Gods were happy too- they didn’t play spoilsport that evening. In all, the DIY model worked for these bands in their first attempt. This isn’t a surprise though, considering all the members have played at so many shows over the years, and their experience has taught them lessons that they implemented.
Overall, Twisted Metal was a success story, and kudos to the bands for pulling this off. Now how about a second edition?