In today’s seemingly decadent landscape of a music scene tightly clutching on to its last ray of hope, there seldom comes a festival that completely blows all the naysayers out of the water. This Sunday was witness to the fact that the scene in Delhi is far from dead. If anything, it’s quite the opposite. Outrage Festival, an initiative started by Karan Mehta with the help of several other musicians and organizers had eight different bands including a few from all over the country coming down to Blue Frog and tearing up the stage.
There was an initial hiccup that came with the news that cops threatened to close the place down at 10 pm. But being the ever-persistent scene that refuses to shut up and listen, timings were shifted and arrangements were made. The jury is out. Afternoon gigs might just be the new thing now.
Very rarely do you see a festival as planned and smooth as this one was. The execution was nothing short of top-notch, organizers were on their toes all day, the turnout was quite larger than I had expected. You had everyone from the average regular-going college kid, the metal aficionado, hipster scene kids to the average office-going joe coming together and having a good time. But then, if you offer quality and an enriching experience and most of all, value for money combined with class music acts you can’t really go wrong anywhere. While there was an initial delay of an hour and a half (it’s Delhi after all) things did get back on track pretty fast.
For me, the highlight personally was prog metal act Colossal Figures with their exceptional performance during their 40-something minute set that had Blue Frog packed and everyone absolutely thrilled. For a band that has been around for about four years, this is an act that has come a long way. Out with their album just a few days ago, these guys were absolutely enjoying themselves on the stage and played some of the tracks from the album. This is a band whose music speaks miles by itself and never ceases to impress. It’s always great to see a band trying to challenge themselves and looking to set the bar high.
Following on the close heels of Colossal Figures was Escher’s Knot, a metal outfit from Chennai formed back in 2009. With Anshuman Mishra on guitars and other members from three different cities, the band’s seems quite dedicated to their music, something which shows through when they are playing live. Their performance was tight and they even played a Meshuggah cover, something the metal audience lapped up.
Another band that everyone was stoked to finally hear was Fragarak. Fresh from their recent tour to China, Fragarak is a Delhi-based death metal band that raised quite a few eyebrows. While their music was heavier and much more technical than some of the other bands’, extreme music fans were quite delighted and heavy-duty moshing and headbanging could be seen throughout their set with some people in the crowd even singing along to their songs. Being the first band to play, they really helped in getting the ball rolling after extended delays had started to wear off the excitement.
Zyngema was another band that came all the way from Mumbai and captivated the audience with their heavy grooves and energetic performance. Formed in the year 2006, it has been about four years since their previous release ‘Born Of Unity’ in 2010. They performed some of their well-known songs and were received warmly by metal heads and fans alike. Metal giants Undying Inc. have become a staple at most metal festivals and gigs across the country and it’s easy to see why. They could be seen performing songs from their Ironclad EP and had quite a great crowd response. There were some notable performances by Nigambodh and IIIrd Sovereign as well.
The great thing about Outrage was the range of variety of bands that were present that combined so well with the programming and execution of the entire festival. Bands from almost every corner of the country came down. Perhaps no other band is more deserving of credit that Aberrant, a band that came all the way from Shillong to play at the festival, something that was appreciated by almost everyone present at the festival. Perhaps, one thing that this festival proved was that if the entire metal scene present all over the country unites, some really amazing things can happen.
Aberrant were a delight to watch for everyone not just because their music was very groove-oriented and took a lot of influence from groove metal but also because of the fact that not a lot of people had heard their music before but it was still just as widely accepted and appreciated by everyone. The stage Outrage Festival has set might have given a lot more fans access to their music as well as provide all these bands to a lot more exposure.
At the same time, it has started to seem that metal music is poised to be a huge force in the Delhi music scene provided the fizz doesn’t die out soon. More festivals like this one need to keep happening so that interest and public curiosity stays at the same level and let us hope that the very DNA of what we know as metal music seeps into Delhi’s popular culture so that more bands can get more exposure and the scene eventually improves. That being said, metal has always been a culture of outsiders and may never completely become as fortified as perhaps EDM or pop, but what matters at the end of the day is that the proverbial candle of the Delhi metal scene stay ever-burning, hopefully inspiring generations of musicians ahead to embrace metal music as an art form and a way of life rather than just a music genre.