Chennai Rockers Oddsox Win Parx Band Hunt 2018
The alt-rock outfit outshined three other regional winners to take home the trophy
Last night was an epic celebration of young talent. After vetting musicians from 120 colleges across 80 cities in India, the third edition of Parx Band Hunt 2018 found its finalists: Hindi prog-rock band Alchemy, New Delhi fusion band Common Thread, Kolkata rap/rockers Hidden Identity and alternative rock group Oddsox.
The event took place at Mumbai’s Hard Rock Cafe, Worli, and was kicked off by the effervescent host: musician and actor Luke Kenny. After lightening the mood, he introduced the audience to the experienced mentors who guided the youngsters before the Grand Finale. The prizes were lucrative: A cash prize of Rs. 2, 00,000 for the winners. The best guitarist would receive an acoustic guitar hand-painted by Satyendra Rane. Another would go to an audience member who could play it on stage.
The competition kicked off with Hidden Identity, the four-piece act played three songs, which combined heavy riffs with hard-hitting rap verses. Two of the tracks were close to their hearts as they spoke about getting over life’s many frustrations and man’s dangerous relationship with nature. They had a commanding stage presence, surely the right choice to initiate the madness of the night.
Next, Common Thread took the stage.Â With a sleek logo as their backdrop and oozing confidence after being mentored by veteran rocker Subir Malik (from Parikrama), they were ready to shred. The group played four tracks, including the melodious crowd favorite “Raahein,” and the bittersweet “Supernatural 6.5,” which drew audience comparisons from Steve Wilson to Led Zeppelin. The band impressed with “Rain,” a mix of aggressive percussion and soaring vocals. For the final track, they slowed it down with a classic rock treat, “Labyrinth.”
Hometown band Alchemy came out with tremendous support from fellow Mumbaikars. It was like watching an arena performance, because of their playful camaraderie, and perfectly co-ordinated riffs and movement. Vocalists Mohit Budhwani’s passionate delivery, like the crescendo on “Muskura Bhi Do” got the crowd pumped.
Oddsox began their set with swagger. Mentored by Jishnu Dasgupta from folk-rockers Swarathma, they performed “Tell Me,” where lead guitarist Andrew Deepak shined with precise progression and an attention grabbing solo. Unsurprisingly, he went on to win the hand-painted guitar later. Singer Neil Cornelius put on an emphatic display throughout the performance. On their final track, “Drown,” Oddsox ended the show on an emotional note.
Luke Kenny then invited on stage the jurors, Rolling Stone India, Editor in Cheif, Radhakrishnan Nair, vocalist Uday Benegal from rock veterans Indus Creed and Gaurav Mahajan, President, Raymond Ltd. Benegal explained how the definition of success has changed since the pre-internet days, with technology increasing accessibility but also making the industry super competitive. He gave the college musicians a priceless piece of advice: the music you create starts before the technology. The jurors asked the audience to guess the winner, and after at least two inaccurate chants, they revealed it: Oddsox reigned supreme. The band was elated as they held their cheque and trophy, and geared up for their promising future.
The night then progressed into true madness, when alt-rock/rap maestros Underground Authority performed a number of hardcore covers of popular songs such as “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Udta Punjab,” “Starboy” and “Girls Like You” that made the dance floor overflow. There was a performance dedicated to the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Guest artists joined the band one after another to add some new flavors to the night. Multi-instrumentalist Sidd Coutto got us bouncing to reggae, singer Nikhita Gandhi delighted us with her voice and guitarist Rhythm Shaw and drummer Sambit Chatterjee electrified the stage. All in all, it was unforgettable. As Kenny observed, the increasing success of the Parx Band Hunt and the abundance of young people making rock music meant that rock and roll is here to stay.