Jumping on the bandwagon

Metal heads
Last Updated : 30 November 2011, 12:31 IST
Last Updated : 30 November 2011, 12:31 IST

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Strawberry Fields’, the music competition for college and semi-professional bands, was back with its 15th edition of promoting original music in India.

Hosted by the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), this three-day competition saw huge crowds of young metal heads and music lovers enjoying the music of 50 of the lesser-known bands of India, which narrowed down to five finalists by day three.

‘Strawberry Fields’ has always been viewed by upcoming bands as a good platform to showcase their music to a new audience.

“We entered ‘Strawberry Fields’ without keeping the competition in mind. We
just wanted to get our music out there since we are only seven months old as a band,” says Michael Dias, vocalist of ‘Mad Orange Fireworks’, which made it to the top five bands.

“It’s a huge place and a beautiful crowd. It was just great fun playing up there,” he adds.

Day one saw mostly metal bands, whereas day two had more rock and fusion bands.
It was a very relaxed atmosphere with people parking their cars in the field and relaxing near the stage or even on top of their cars.

Good weather with frequent light drizzles added to the experience.

The top five bands, which made it to the finals on day three, were ‘Mad Orange
Fireworks’, ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, ‘83 Miles Per Hour’, ‘Verses’ and ‘Sycorax’.

It was a tough multi-genre competition and by the end, Bangalore’s melodic death-metal band, ‘Verses’, emerged as the winner of both ‘Strawberry Fields 2011’ and the
‘Best College Band’ category.

The individual prizes saw ‘Mad Orange Fireworks’ walk away with ‘Best Guitars’,
‘Sycorax’ with ‘Best Vocals’, ‘83 Miles per Hour’ with both ‘Best Bass’ and ‘Best Keyboard’ and ‘Verses’ with the award for ‘Best Drums’.

“This was exactly what we wanted and we got it. It feels awesome!” says an elated Sagar Gururaj, synthesiser player of the winning band, ‘Verses’. “The crowd was really encouraging and we couldn’t have done it without them,” he adds.

The panel of judges of the competition comprised Guru Somayaji, Salman Syed, Vinoo Matthew and Rajeev Fallen.

Vinoo Matthew, bassist of ‘Ministry of Blues’ has judged the competition five times in the last 15 years and was all praises for the students of NLS who put it all together.

“I find that ‘Strawberry Fields’ is the best organised music competition in the country today. There’s definitely something these guys are doing right,” he says.

There were plenty of stalls around the stage to pass time — from the usual food and beverage stalls to stalls selling band merchandise to a stall by PETA.

However, the most interesting stall was by Ari Jayaprakash, an independent artist displaying the art work of his upcoming graphic novel, ‘The Kuru Chronicles’.

“It’s a different kind of crowd to come across at a musical platform like this. For independent artists like me, it’s all about tapping new connections and spreading the word about my work,” says Ari.

The showstopper was of course, Singapore-based Vedic death-metal band, ‘Rudra’, the headlining act of the entire competition.

The co-headliners were ‘The Captains of Hook’, a rock band from Chennai, and local heavy metal band ‘Bevar Sea’, who also gave stellar performances on the final day.

Published 30 November 2011, 12:31 IST

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