After recent terror attacks left Karachi’s residents in a sombre mood, many youngsters defied the prevailing air of gloom to attend Rockstation, one of the best concerts that the city has seen in recent times. Thousands of music aficionados gathered at the Carlton Hotel on May 28, to enjoy live performances by several underground and mainstream bands.
The concert featured several underground acts; some performing covers, while others doing originals. The music extravaganza really kicked off when the newly reunited Noori brought the effervescent crowd to their feet, followed by the sizzling Karavan.
Underground band Signature opened the show for the night, almost two and a half hours behind schedule. The band’s performance was below average and not at all worth being showcased as an opening act. Next in line was Axis Denied, whose performance of Pakistani pop singles and Neil Young’s “Keep on rocking” displayed maturity in sound. The last among the underground acts was 90 Degrees, whose cover of “Judas Priest” was enthralling for lovers of heavy metal rock.
Cover gone awry
Dressed up in a gaudy golden jacket, Fizza Ali, a singer trained in classic music attempted, albeit sloppily, a rendition of Amir Zaki’s “Mera Pyar”. The inclusion of prolonged alaaps in the song only made it sound worse. It was rather an unlucky moment for the audience because she actually performed the song twice.
Noori in the limelight
The clock had struck midnight when Noori appeared on stage, causing overeager fans to wrestle their way towards the stage. Initially the iconic band left the audience rather confused when they started with “Time of my Life” by The Black Eyed Peas. But soon they caused a raging frenzy in the hordes of music enthusiasts, when they performed “Suno Kae Mae Hoon Jawan”, one of the songs that made them immensely popular. However, the terrible sound system partially marred the quality of their first two songs and the crowd sorely missed Ali Noor as the lead guitarist (Overload’s guitarist had taken over the role). Noori churned hit numbers from their initial albums, like “Neend Aye Na” and “Bolo Na” but Ali Hamza’s meticulous and wildly popular performance of “Ek Alif” took the cake. Noori ended with their chart-topping hits like “Manwa Re” and “Dil Ki Qasam”.
Karavan: Kings of the night
The last act of the night, Karavan finally stepped on stage, during the wee hours of the night. One expected the crowd to exit after being gratified by Noori’s performance. Yet many stayed back, raring to get closer to the stage to fully enjoy the rock band’s performance. The crowd precipitated into head banging almost as soon as vocalist Tanseer grabbed the mic and guitarist Asad Ahmad struck the first chord. Starting off with there all time hit “Rakh Aas”, the band set the stage on fire when Sameer, perhaps the most under rated bass player of Pakistan, astounded the audience with his bass routine in “Dil Ki Pyaas”. The band concluded with a patriotic number “Aagay Hee Aagay”. Karavan made the Rs 1,000 ticket worth the cost, and proved that a genuine rock act can truly spice up a live concert. People might not remember their songs but they always remember Karavan’s performances.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2011.