KARACHI: With Independence Day celebrations taking over the country, local artists have been churning out patriotic songs one after the other. And why not? Music is as big a part of August 14 as green lights and flags are. This week, Pepsi Battle of the Bands also added a bit of green to their blue set by making the top four contestants perform Azaadi-themed songs only.
The viewers also received a pleasant surprise when Jasim Haider and The Pindi Boys – contestants from last year – made an appearance. They joined the four vocalists (of each remaining band) to perform Tu Hai Kahan by Strings, Junaid Jamshed and Haroon.
The competition began with Bayaan, who chose to sing Yeh Watan by Mehdi Hassan. The band, which has been in the danger zone for the last two weeks, gave a wonderfully mellow performance, showcasing the best of frontman Asfar’s vocals. They judges appreciated it and commended the band’s improvement.
Meesha Shafi pointed out how hard it is to cover such iconic songs and that Bayaan had done it well. Fawad Khan appreciated the arrangement, saying it is important to these songs for the new generation, at the same time keeping their nostalgic value and essence intact. He added that this was one of the few renditions of Yeh Watan which accomplished that.
21 the band covered Hum Hain Pakistani by Vital Signs, changing it from pop to a more ‘rock’ number. Unfortunately, the jury didn’t find it up to the mark. Faisal Kapadia said he had expected more from the band at this stage and that the performance didn’t seem rehearsed enough, lacking the passion required for patriotic music. According to Khan, it was an “audition level” performance.
As for Xarb, the band has been one of the top contenders since the audition rounds and their commitment to their craft and quality music has made them fan favourites. It performed Wattan ki Mitti by Nayyara Noor – a song Bilal Maqsood said made him cry whenever he used to listen to it.
However, the performance didn’t beget the same emotion in him or any of the other judges. Maqsood felt the song was ‘technically perfect’ but the arrangement buried its soul somewhere. Kapadia applauded Xarb for trying something new but added it didn’t work for him. He said the melody of the original was trying to chase the band’s arrangement of the song, when it should have been the other way round.
The last performance was the most electrifying. Tamaasha sang Iss Parcham Ke Saaye Taley in their signature rock and metal style. While the band has been at the top of their game since day one, and has received a hat-trick of standing ovations, this latest performance got mixed reviews. While Khan called it Tamaasha’s weakest showing in four weeks, Shafi said it the best of the night.
When it came to eliminations, Xarb and 21 ended up in the danger zone and competed for survival. After their performances, the jury revealed there were to be no eliminations in this episode, in honour of Independence Day. However, that means two bands will be eliminated next week and we shall finally get our top two finalists.
Watch the episode here:
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