Independence Rock 2006: Indian Rock becomes legal

It was that time of the year again for the rock and metal fans to celebrate Indian Independence in their own special way. A baby known as Independence Rock (better known as I-Rock) was born in 1986 for the rockers of Mumbai to come together and treat themselves to some good old rock n’ roll. Over the years, rock music has undergone a lot of changes and the Indian rock scene has adapted and matured over the years.

Till about a decade ago, the rock scene in India comprised of only a handful of musicians and bands – Gary Lawyer, Indus Creed, Parikrama, Brahma, Agni and Pentagram. However, the introduction of a contest at Independence Rock along with the boom in music channels and globalization of the Indian market has seen a sudden rise in the number of rock bands. Bands are appearing not only from the big cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore but also from far off places like Guwahati and conservative cities like Pune.

The current breed of rock bands in India span the entire spectrum of rock from pure rock n’ roll to alternative to melodic metal to hardcore death metal. The musical influences are as varied as the genres and include Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Children of Bodom, Slayer, Slipknot, Rage Against The Machine and many more.

However the most impressive fact is that the focus of these bands has changed from just performing cover versions of songs to performing their original numbers. This change in focus has put the Indian rock scene in high gear allowing the bands to actually express themselves and be creative. The biggest indication that the rock scene has matured in India is the fact that the crowd now sings along with the originals compositions of the local bands and prefers the bands performing their originals rather than playing covers.

Some of the current bands that have impressed me are: Sceptre, Zero, Pin Drop Violence, Human Abstract, Demonic Resurrection (Mumbai), Brute Force (Pune), Them Clones, Orange Street (Delhi), Clockwork Orange (Bangalore), Evergreen (Cochin), Faith (Guwahati)

This year too, I made it a point to attend I-Rock. Day 1 featured a contest between 6 bands:

  1. Nemesis kicked off the show with an awesome rendition of Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” followed by their originals whose names I didn’t quite catch. They finished their set with a cover of Megadeth’s “Hangar 18”.
  2. Next up was Evergreen who performed a set of 3 originals. The lead singer had a great voice and their basslines rocked. Their performance was quiet tight but seemed to lack a certain punch.
  3. Brute Force from Pune took the stage next. This hardcore metal band performed like a well-oiled machine – heavily distorted guitars, some amazing shredding, a growling bass and brilliant double-bass drumming. Their originals kicked some serious ass. Their rendition of Testament’s “Return To Serenity” (a favorite of mine) was brilliant. They finished their set with Megadeth’s “Holy Wars” (another favorite of mine).
  4. Next up were Split from Mumbai. They performed a long 5 or 6 song set that included two covers – one by Marilyn Manson and one by RATM. This band has some of the best musicians in Mumbai, but they didn’t seem to have that chemistry that would set the band apart. The joke of the evening was that the fifth band – IIIrd Sovereign – had mistaken the contest day as the next day and hence was unable to make it.
  5. The final band to take the stage was Faith from Guwahati. They started off with an original and it was a welcome change to hear some 70s style rock in an evening dominated by hard-hitting, bone-crunching metal and alternative performances. They then performed Deep Purple’s “Burn” and completely blew the crowd away. Another brilliant original was followed by a marvelous rendition of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”. They already had the crowd begging for more and they obliged by performing Van Halen’s “Jump”. This band was the most impressive in terms of talent and stage presence. The lead singer hit the high notes with ease, at times reaching frequencies only audible to dogs! The two guitarists were brilliant and the bassist played some killer slap bass on their originals. The drummer was excellent on both the ultra-fast as well as the groovy tracks. The star of course was the keyboard player who rocked on the solo pieces of Highway Star and Jump.

The contest was jointly won by Faith and Brute Force. The statement of the evening was made by Farhad Wadia, one of the main organizers of the show. He said, “I-Rock turns 21 today and can legally get drunk”. I don’t know about the others, but I was definitely on a high that night, thanks to the wonderful live performances by some of the best musicians from around the country.

Long live Indian Rock!

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17 Responses to “Independence Rock 2006: Indian Rock becomes legal”

  1. i couldnt come on the second day and missed Sceptre. Among the bands contesting, i think Faith was the most rocking one.

  2. Yeah…Faith & Brute force sure kicked some ass……guess these north east guys are born with a guitar in their hand!!!…brute force guitarist looked like a north-eastern guy too…….would like to add a word about the sound settings…i found the sound settings of “Evergreen” the best…the bass guitarist was awesome…& the bass sound was real hard ( & pleasing ) to the ears…& so was their distortion guitar…which was warm & full!!…thy had a amazin screen presence too.
    Split was the most dissappointing of all of the bands… with weak amateurish sound….had expected a lil better from them.

  3. Brute Force ans Faith were simply amazing. I think Evergreen also rocked, but couldn’t make an impact as the 2 above.
    Finale by Pentagram was all I came for and I was totally satisfied.
    Sceptre, the next day was fuckin sexy, followed by Them Clones. Suraj is my favorite dinasaur and he performed very well.

  4. This line up and performances description surely gives me indepth insights into the wealth of talent back home….I am also glad the recognition and appreciation has exceeded past levels and the audiences have expanded beyond the bandra-ites, catholics and yuppies who were the only ones who had exposure to western music….its seems like India too has the potential for making the global music scene…KUDOS …ROCK-ON!!!!

  5. I-Rockk will come up more & rock d full nation if there is full of support & togetherness from all rockers of our nation. And if intention is good & clear then thr will be goal achieved automatically.

    Lets Rockk on……..

    Long live I-Rockkk…………..

    RAHULLLLL(Nasik)

  6. firoze munshi Says:

    I missed the 1st day,but Sceptre stole the show on the 2nd day. Inde rock can do without getting non rock bands on stage,what we wanna hear is Heavy Metal not some chick coming onsatge and singing some crappy song that half the crowd dont know. Over all it was above average barring Sceptre who really kicked some ass, specially on the song “one” by Metallica. Long Live I-Rock

  7. hi everyone , i am the bassist n band leader of FAITH. thanks to everone who liked our performances n supported us.thanks to the crowd who cheered n headbanged for us during our performance at I ROCK. thanks to FARHAD for giving us the oppurtunity to perform at I ROCK n meet the rockers n headbangers.THANK U SO MUCH. plz send ur suggestions n comments to deepx1@yahoo.co.in. MUMBAI ROCKS….LONG LIVE ROCK N ROLL

  8. The bands played real hard. But we did miss some of the best from Bangalore …Myndsnare, Synapse, HL etc

  9. heyy .. I was there for the 2nd day … m not much into metal .. so …. didn’t really like much of sceptre n ‘ demonic resurrection ….. them clones wereeee good … …
    GARY LAWYER ROCKEDDDDD!!!!! .. n’ the female … artiste .. shazeen … wass amazinggg…!!!

  10. dey r surely the rising stars of the east as well as the entire country…>>>>i salute faith for their breakthrough performance at i.-rock..they were simply awe inspiring!!!!!and nakshatra is also damn good.i love u Grag

  11. Manish Jadhav Says:

    Yeah!! I am loving the way Indian rock scene is changing. Rock on!!

    Manish Jadhav

  12. I was unaware that there was rock music in India until recently, and what I find surprising is that it seems that most of the bands are Metal bands. Is metal bigger in India than other rock genres? Or, are they just better organized and/or have a better community to support the movement?

    And, what rock (non-metal) bands should I be listening out for?

  13. kunal brahma Says:

    hi!!!
    I feel really great that north-eastern guys are kicking some ass in Indian rock scene.Keep it up guys. North-east ROCKS..!!!!!!

  14. kim koshie Says:

    ok!! someone has gt to help me out… i need to know the names of the songs that pentagram covered at irock 2006… pls help.. am going insane.. kim.koshie@gmail.com

  15. Manish Jadhav Says:

    Dragon Force rocks man!!!
    It’s got some wicked guitar by this long hair asian guy – he is just phenomenal.

  16. Hi maslf Diganta Gogoi
    Pepole call it NOISE.. V call it HARMONY.. U knw watz dat Guys !!
    Dats onli da “HEAVY METAL” V North Eastern People alwz mad abt METAL numbers !! Faith is the Best….

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