The stage and expectations were already set by the first episode of Pepsi Battle of the Bands and the audiences were eager to see the remaining auditions and the shortlisted bands. And in this episode they have finally selected the Top 8 Bands (Yes! 8 and not 6) since the performances came better than the expectations of everyone. Remember the winner is going to take home an album contract, music video, series of concerts and a career push from Pepsi. But more than anything let’s celebrate we are going to have more bands.
It all seems to be going so fast. Many people want things to slow down a bit since they want to enjoy the sound and fresh music. But let’s see how the format unfolds.
First Band that featured in Episode 2 was Ehl-e-Rock
They have been working as a band for the last 9 years. Their sound was strong and towards Hard Rock. But to ease things a little they played an Urdu song to give it a little pop-rock feel. No doubt they were good in producing sound but since it was their first ever Urdu Rock Song, it didn’t synced so well. While giving her remarks, Meesha Shafi pointed this out. But according to the guest Judge Farooq Ahmed, the entire band was a “power house” where as Fawad Khan particularly appreciated the bassist.
2nd Band Khamaj consisted of 9 members and played an original titled Bezubaan.
My first instinct was that they will be inspired by Fuzon (due to the name). The vocalist looked very passionate about his work. Meesha loved the lyrics. Fawad was blown away by the structure of the song. He went on to discuss a lot of technicalities to praise the band.
Next Band Nafs relied on a pop sound and a sufi song. They kept the things pretty simple. Perhaps for their big auditions they should have brought a bigger performance. It wasn’t bad but it was more of a vocalist’s performance than of a band.
Badnaam had so much to say about the name of their band and what inspired them to choose such name. They need to work a lot more on their compositions and arrangements. But let’s not be too hard on them, after all these are just auditioning and just new entrants.
E-Sharp has been around for 12 years now. They have an album under their belt as well, released a couple of years ago. They sounded pretty synced. They knew how to create a band sound. The band looks already in a position to take along a full on gig.
Yoon has its root from Swat and somehow they tried a Punjabi song with Pashtu sound. They failed to be any of these. Overall the band could have experimented more with the instruments and the vocalist need some more time.
Darvesh, a 10 member band, has been playing around for about 2 years now. To me they are 10 because they could not say no to a few friends but we don’t know for sure the background story. They performed an original which was penned down by a band member’s grandmother. I wanted to use the word RAW but as of yet, the sound is immature. Let’s hope they don’t give up and come out stronger in the rounds to come.
And Now the list of Top 8 Shortlisted Bands:
To reveal the names of Top 8 Bands, they did an eliminating round which was full of suspense but without any unnecessary drama. One could read expressions and body language of all the band members in eliminating round. It clearly indicated that it wasn’t a scripted show but indeed a REALITY show.
The top 8 bands that the judges selected include
- Jasim and the Pindi Boys,
- Shajr; and
Another surprising entry into the Top 8 is by a band named Roots, the performance of which is not even aired in 2nd episode(May be they were TOO good or TOO bad or perhaps their performance couldn’t be recorded properly).
The band ‘Positive’, who was in the Top 10 of the first edition of Pepsi Battle of the Bands 16 years ago, almost got selected but due to their own negligence they were disqualified from the show. Apparently, they brought session players to the show instead of bringing permanent band members.
The episode didn’t end there as it had a refreshing bonus as well. Farooq, the lead vocalist of Aaroh, the winner of the first Battle of the Bands a decade and half ago, performed the hit single Raag Neela and What a performance it was! We have been hearing that Aaroh is going to be back in music full on too in near future.
So Now The Top 8 Bands are here. Let’s see what the format is going to be from now on. People are waiting for Atif Aslam on the judges seat too. I will be looking forward to a couple of bands in the coming rounds and might also be cheering for Jasim & the Pindi Boys and Kashmir but let’s see. For now Let’s celebrate #PakistaniMusic
Enjoy the full Episode 2 below: