KARACHI : Pepsi Battle of the Bands aired its second episode on Saturday night, offering more auditions by new bands and the judges’ final selection for the top eight.
All in all, we saw seven performances. Kaghaz performed a cover of Junoon’s Taara Jala and impressed the jury. Meesha Shafi stated it was one of her all-time favourite songs. She added that when male vocalists sing it, they tend to imitate Ali Azmat’s style and appreciated how Kaghaz and its female vocalist didn’t do that. Shafi gave the singer a ‘Girl Boss’ badge for the great performance and dedication to the craft, as the contestant had gotten married just two days before auditions.
The band Déjà Vu was a unique offering. It performed Sajjad Ali’s heavily-covered song Bolo Bolo with a twist. The jazzy, blues-y sound was such a treat to the ears that despite its flaws, Déjà Vu proved they had the potential to go through to the next round. Fawad Khan even suggested the band changes its name from Déjà Vu to Deja Blues.
Like Khamaaj, another band from season two auditioned this year. OB Positive performed Junaid Jamshed’s Aankhon Ko Aankhon Ne and made the shortlist. A band called Aarish were an interesting act, telling the story of how they asked one of the bandmates’ grandmothers to come up with a name for them and she suggested ‘Aarish.’ The band performed an original titled Aasman, which showcased their polished sound. Khan said they had a hit filmy song on their hands.
Easy Games from Lahore performed Ranjish Hi Sahi by Mehdi Hassan in a progressive rock style. While the jury appreciated their instrumentation, the vocals were somewhat weak. Bayaan impressed with an original called Farda which Khan called “soothing and untainted. Shafi said the sound, lyrics and melody had an optimistic feel to it. Overall, the jury appreciated Farda and shortlisted the band.
21 The Band was the last performance of the episode. They offered a punk-rock original titled Taare. Farooq Ahmed said he didn’t even write the comments and critique because he enjoyed the performance so much. He said Taare was what Battle of the Bands is all about. Khan said it had been a long time since he heard a “chichora and badtameez” song which at the same time, was sweet. “Taare definitely has the potential to stick with the student population and be a big song,” he said.
After the auditions, last year’s winner Kashmir made an appearance to motivate the new contestants. The band members talked about their nervousness, the stress and hard work and how they couldn’t believe they were selected and then ended up winning.
The jury finally revealed the top eight bands of the season: Tamaasha, Bayaan, Xarb, Déjà Vu, Kaghaz, Sarmasta, 21 The Band and Khamaaj. While there were several others with great potential, it just goes on to show that the level of competition has increased from last year. It was also a special moment for Khamaaj: the band was selected last year but disqualified due to a technicality.
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