ISLAMABAD: Expectations ran high among the crowd assembled at the Rock Musicarium on Sunday as young American alternative rock band “Blood Moon Therapy” started their two-week tour of Pakistan.
Founded in 2011 by FX Rescue Me’s Michael Lombardi, the underground band has played in a handful of intimate settings in the US. Though many in the crowd had not heard of the band, most came along because of the reputation of the organiser, the US embassy, for holding quality events.
The event began with a short address by US ambassador Cameron Munter who welcomed and informed the crowd about a cultural exchange programme between musicians of both countries. Thus far, Noori, Zeb and Haniya have travelled to the US to perform, while US artists are also expected to perform in Pakistan though no additional information was given.
Islamabad-based band Qayaas opened for Blood Moon Therapy, performing original singles “Tanha” and “Uss Paar”, which helped get the crowd going with some serious head banging and cheering. Lombardi walked on stage next, greeted the crowd and introduced his band with Neyo and Sean on guitar and Chris on the drums.
Though “Therapy” did its best to pump up the crowd with consistent upbeat numbers, the unfamiliarity of the crowd with the music served as its greatest impediment. The crowd was split between youngsters situated close to the stage, hooting, while those sitting towards the back trying to understand the lyrics. Rock concerts are not known for a lackadaisical crowd.
Abbas Ali Khan closed the set with an amalgamation of classical raga and rock music. “Mankuntum Maula” with accompanying cheering from the crowd closed out the night. However, the performance was not without problems and was one that cast a pall on the performance as a whole.
Poor sound, which could have been resolved by a thorough sound check, forced members of the crowd to strain to hear the music, and though the musicians tried to get the volume of the microphone increased, the problem persisted. The one saving grace of the night was Chinese food prepared and distributed by Rock Musicarium staff to the crowd.
In the end the attempt at creating a musical fusion of cultures failed due to poor sound and unfamiliar source. Had a more renowned band been chosen, the event might not have had to rest on the laurels of past events.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.