A concert is often an ambivalent experience for an introvert such as myself: the crush of people, the loud music and flashing lights could be disconcerting. However, when you’re treated to the kind of energy and musical brilliance that was on display at The Music Festival, Day 5, all your inhibitions melt away.
The wall of relentlessly frenetic music that the opening act, Wolf’s Lair, brought didn’t let up throughout their set. The symphonic heavy metal band played music that was clear in its purpose: hit you with an unholy concoction of roaring guitars, pounding drums and searing vocals. Each instrument contributed to the storm in equal measure, thanks to the solid sound mixing. Their cover of Fear of the Dark, in particular, had the crowd singing along and cheering, while their original, Fragmented Forever, stayed true to their heavy sound. The set, while thoroughly headbang-worthy and incredibly energetic, I would’ve appreciated some more variety in the music – glimpses of which were offered at the start of a few songs, but were soon overwhelmed by the density of the instrumentation.
Skrat, the popular hard rock trio, wasted no time in letting the crowd know they were in no mood for a tame set – refusing to start the show unless the seated sections of the audience were on their feet. Launching into furiously intricate interplay of bass and guitar, their energy onstage seeped into everyone present, now crowding the front of the hall. The band defied notions of a trio being limited in their sound, effortlessly interspersing furious string instrumentation with melodic vocals and staccato percussion. It’s clear that the band have an understanding of how to keep their set from stagnating, and the little flourishes they bring into the music is very welcome, evident particularly on the new track they played, Raptors. So when lead vocalist/guitarist Sriram tells the crowd to jump, you’re inclined to go all the way.
The closing act was the definite highlight of the day: alt-rock band Lagori were showmen in every sense of the word, and their infectious enthusiasm ensured that we were having the time of our lives. The energy levels were consistently high, thanks in large part to frontman Tejas Shankar bouncing around stage, whetting the crows with one-liners and dance moves, and goading us into singing along at the top of our voices – generally having an incredible amount of fun. With that being said, the music itself is more than good enough to entrance us. With a wonderful amalgamation of Indian classical sounds and western indie rock, the songs are anthemic, melodic and soulful all the same. The arrangements are meticulous, and the addition of the violin – courtesy of virtuoso Shravan Shridhar – added a stirring layer to the rest of the instrumentation. Whether it was the magnificent River Song, or their biggest hit, Boom Shankar, the idea of the set being a bloody good time was never given up. And what better way to round it all up than with an improvised game of their namesake, Lagori?
This was a show that was evidently going to turn the hype levels to a hundred – and it delivered, and how. There wasn’t a moment where I was compelled to jump around, headbang, (attempt to) sing along and let the music soak into my bones. And isn’t that what a great concert is all about?