17 December, 2013: SIES College Of Arts, Science and Commerce held its annual college fest ‘Visions’ in the last four days, the final day being the band event, Spaced Out. Featuring Orcus, The Hoffman Code, Trinergic, Afterlife and Devoid, this gig, earlier regarded as Powerchords, was posed to be one of the many awesome gigs that this college has had a tradition of boasting about. Unfortunately, this didn’t hold true for this particular gig, but more details on that later. First a take on what each of the bands dished out onstage. At the outset itself, the sound at the venue was nothing fit for a proper metal event, and sadly, this has been the scene with the sound at the college always. Whether it is because of the mishmash of other sounds that play through the festival, or the layout of the college itself, the sound here has rarely been awesome for a metal gig.
Orcus, winners of the Spaced Out band competition, having competed against 11 other bands in the eliminations, were the first band on stage. The band, who has been playing quite a few gigs over the last few months looked, like they were having a ball of a time on stage. While the band did a mix of originals and covers, front man Adit Khanzode set the pace for the evening with an eclectic mix of growls, crowd encouraging and head banging.
The Hoffman Code were the next band on stage. Metal heads were pretty charged up for their set right from their trial check, where they played Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name Of, sadly though, not in its entirety. Probably coz the crowd couldn’t wait to start screaming “fuck you, i won’t do what you tell me” incessantly. Besides that, vocalist Abhishek Dhamankar seemed to be in a cracker mood, reminding students over and over how “this song is about how not to do drugs, drugs are bad”. A truly energetic set onstage with two b-boy artists joining during their performance, Shaurya Valmiki joined the band on stage for their cover of Detfones Head Up and added to the madness.
Trinergic were the the band on sound, and possibly delivered the most powerful set for the night. Their set was punctuated with killer guitars solos, providing deep melodic repose from the blast beats on the drums and all the other elements of music that made them sound as heavy as they did. The histrionics at Spaced Out continued with vocalist Rahul Nair doing a dive into the crowd from the barricades, and obviously causing miniscule paranoia there. For the sake of the crowd there, consisting mainly of college kids, this was one of the most ‘rockstar’ moments of the night.
Afterlife was the next band to come on the stage and they performed quite well for a while, though there seemed to be few snags, with the stage sound seeming to give way here and there. While vocalist Manish Reddy cheered the audiences and got them riled up throughout their set, sound issues meant an inability to decipher quite a large section of what was being played onstage. Nonetheless, the energy, both on stage, as well as in the college audience seemed to spike through their set. Also Keith Gernandes, guitarist and vocalist of The Hoffman Code provided vocal support on one of their songs.
Headliners Devoid finished the night off at Spaced Out with a set that was poised to be as quick-paced, ferocious and animalistic. What it however turned out to be owing to the sound issues being faced was a very submissive, very puny set, and vocalist Arun Iyer’s guitars going off did not help matters at all. A very fiery mosh did start as Devoid started The Invasion and barely twenty seconds into the madness, security volunteers came and tore through the ‘security issue’ happening there. More on the security later. Following that, things just chilled out way too fast, and all the energy seemed spent. The PA system seemed to have been switched off, and quite obviously fans felt desperately ripped off; even Sanju Aguiar playing monstrous solos seemed so muted. While the band still tried to make the most of the situation, this is perhaps the most forgettable gig the college has seen. Big ups to Iyer though for trying to effect emotion and action among the audience regarding the homosexuality law issue the country saw in the last week. A ruse that didn’t exactly take off in any direction, it was a cause worth questioning and he did well to raise it.
The volunteers and organizers of the gig could do well to chalk out a cause and effect of what they were expecting much before the gig. While a very confused bunch of metal heads stood outside the gates, some travelling hours to see the bands, quite a few of them went away owing to miscommunication about the entry scenes. As is with any other music event, metal has a very distinct culture of its own, notably one of the few that manages to unite aggression and fraternity at the same time, and this is something that security members needed to be explained, and which was clearly overlooked. In the short mosh session that ensued, what really happened was a person who paid two hundred bucks got bruised in a melee with the organisers themselves. It could have just have been a ‘for SIES students only’ gig; it doesn’t make sense for anyone to come get bummed at a gig, especially if they are paying, and that was the common sentiment among the audience. All of that apart, bands put in so much dedication and effort into making a show fantastic, the least the organizers can do is respect that and make the sound as fabulous as possible. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and if this show does continue, they’d do awesome to heed the same.
Pictures: Sushant Sawant