Strawberry Fields-Fields of Sound  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

Sunday afternoon, I was in a dilemma. The cricket match was going on in TV and the finals of strawberry fields rock fest was to start in a couple of hours. Then, Sachin got out and my last reason to watch the match was also gone. And so I headed straight to National Law School(NLS), Nagarbhavi more than 25 km from my place. I reached there in a breeze, slightly drenched ofcourse. I was surprised to see a college amidst lush greenery. The venue of the fest was still down the road. Honestly it looked like a big clearance in the middle of a forest. It was completely different from the image of the famed strawberry fields that I had formed in my mind. I could hear Pentagram's songs from outside itself. I walked straight in. Thats when the security guys stopped me for some frisking. I emptied all my pockets. And lo! there is a suspicious item. A vicks inhaler key chain that I attached to my house key. They insisted that this cant be allowed inside. Yes, they suspected that I was a drug addict carrying 'the stuff' in an inhaler. I asked one of the guys to just smell and check it. I could see a frightened "No way" look. Then, another brave guy came in, smelled it at an arm's length and confirmed that am clean. The guy who checked me said "sorry mate" with a smile. Well, I did really enjoy that incident.

Once inside, I saw Vishal Dadlani & Co. from Pentagram doing the sound check. There were only a handful of guys at the grounds then. We were treated to 'its electric', 'rock n roll' etc. After that, it was a long excruciating wait for the real show as all the competing bands proceeded with their sound check. I was also waiting for my friends to arrive. This was the 3rd and final day of the 12th edition of 'Strawberry Fields'. The first 2 days had close to 50 bands from all over India playing all day long. 5 bands came out on top. The judging for the prelims was said to be a farce with deserving bands like 'Inner Sanctum' losing out. And this allegation did have some truth as evident from the quality of some of the qualified bands. The concert started 1 hour late at 6 'O' Clock. The first band up was 'Blood and Iron'. Only the drummer Manu was the saving grace of this band. He was at his beastly best behind the not so pretty kit. One song into their show, there was a heavy outpour and half the crowd ran for cover. The rest were seen dancing and headbanging in the rain. Next up was Mumbai band 'Rosemary'. Hearing the name being announced me and my friends looked each other wondering 'what the hell that was?'. But, names do deceive. This band did kick some serious ass with their Nirvana-esque originals. Their sound did really stand out in the evening. Besides their originals, there was a great cover of the Beatles's classic 'Come together'. The audience did come together in singing along the lyrics.
Greyshack-My fav band of the evening

After this fabulous show came in 'Metal Messiah', another bunch of rockers from Mumbai. The guitarists's hairdo was weirdo at best. Another band whose name deceived us. I was wondering how these guys made it to the finals. They had little or no lyrics from what I could make out. The vocals reminded me of a 'seldom biting barking dog'. We spent this unexpected spare time at the 'Rolling stone' magazine stall, where I bought an old issue that I had missed. By that time, the Bangalore band 'Chilli Potato' had taken centrestage. Another band which failed to impress. So we headed to the food stall searching for something to eat, something better than 'chilli potato'. They played a cover of Kannada superstar Rajkumar's classic english song 'If you come today'. The original one was atleast funny but surprisingly this one got some support from the crowd. So, it was time for the last band 'Greyshack'. A bunch of guys sans the metalhead look strode in. The vocalist had the crowd in his pockets from the word go. The guy's energy was infectious and soon the whole crowd joined in jumping and singing. Their original songs were a treat as was the medley of 'beatles' covers like 'Day tripper' and 'Hey Jude'.
Its electric-Pentagram

So, it was time for the big acts of the day to take stage. First up was 'extramentals' from Chennai. They took a long time to set things up. And when it started it was pure mental torture with a girl crooning like pop singers britney, aguilera etc. But the crowd was supporting her just because she made some sexy moves up front. I felt pity for those guitarists and the drummer for having teamed up with this girl. Later, I came to know that this girl was none other than Kamal Haasan's daughter Shruthi Haasan. I just thought of the rave reviews she got in 'rolling stone' mag and other newspapers. I wonder whats the special talent all of them saw in her. So, after being given that extra torture to our whole mental setup, we were craving for 'Pentagram'. But sadly due to some technical glitch, their electronica set couldn't be unleashed yesterday. So, it was Pentagram minus all the loops, stripped down to the basics. So, all of us waiting for the electronica laden 'Its electric' and 'Animal' were a little disappointed. But once the show started it was pure ecstasy. Vishal was attitude personified not letting the technical errors mar the show. There was this sing along thing he came up with "There's no party like the Bangalore party....". About 6 songs into their concert, the police came to play spoilsport. They asked to stop the show at the time was past 10 30. Still, Pentagram sang one more song, the classic anti-reservation anthem 'voice'. It turned out to be a song fitting the moment with lines like 'There are words that must be said, there are words that must be heard....I need a voice now' turning out to be a voice against the negative spirit of the policemen. Once the song was over, the crowd was crying for more but they had to bid goodbye because of the men in khaki. An image that came to my then was of a whole army of policemen watching last week's violence at Chennai law college with hands tied up. Its a pity that they raise their voice and lathis at the wrong place almost all the time.
I need a voice now...Pentagram

The winners pf the competition were announced in the end. Thankfully, the judges picked the best of the evening unlike the prelims. 'Rosemary' walked away with the prize for the best band although I think 'Greyshack' deserved it more. The individual awards were also shared by these 2 bands. Altogether, Strawberry Fields 2008 was a nice experience, though I really expected 'Motherjane' to make an appearance considering the fact that their new song 'Fields of sound' is a tribute to this very festival. This is the place from where India's biggest bands like Motherjane, Junkyard Groove etc began their quest for glory. This indeed is a special festival.

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at Tuesday, November 25, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Rocking post! So that was a real warming up session, till the party poopers came, isnt it?

10:41 PM

ahaaa u had a gud evening....

heard tat for the first tym..Inhaler mein drigs..:P

btw..after sachin gets out u don't watch a match?


7:10 AM

Wow! Nice. Sounds like a lot of fun! Went for a college fest here, Faridkot, Advaita and another band (Junkyard ....) Liked Advaita's performance for a change! :)

1:56 PM

tht sounds real gr8.. i too got a cgance to attend a jazz evening yday, it wasnt tht hi-tech, cuz our town doesnt have a vy good audi. but still the concert was juz lovely..

7:23 PM

yes..and these guys always pop at these places:(..
sorry, the tag is pending:D

I lose my interest aftr he gets out...still I do watch if I have nothing else to do..

Woow..Junkyard groove from chennai of my fav bands

jazz ..aah..heavenly..hope to hear more abt tht in ur blog

11:34 PM

Cool... Guess you did have a wonderful time. :) Am yet to attend any such concert...

11:39 PM

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