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Festival Review – Ziro Festival Of Music – Day 2

Delhi’s Prateek Kuhad, Tankbund and The Superfuzz deliver standout performances, Street Stories from Shillong had never sounded bigger and Yesterdrive launch debut album

Anurag Tagat Sep 27, 2014
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Prateek Kuhad performing on Day 2 of the Ziro Festival Of Music in Arunachal Pradesh Photo: Pranab Doley

“Use no hooks,” read a warning label on a gunny bag near the main stage, Piilo (the Apatani word for ‘moon’). But that’s no good advice for majority of the bands that played there on the second day of Ziro.

Everyone from Delhi indie rockers Yesterdrive to Aizawl hard rock band Freddy’s Nightmare were in hook city. The day started off with all mellow sets at the Danyii stage (the Apatani word for ‘sun’) with singer-songwriters such as Avi and the Uprising (his booming baritone covering everything from Delhi traffic to consumerism) and Prateek Kuhad, both from Delhi. Kuhad provided the perfect set with smooth acoustic rock for a chilly afternoon in the hills.

Arunachal fingerstyle guitarist Taba Chake made his stage debut at the festival as well, but played a short six-song set of Ben Howard-influenced songs about love and nature. He said later, “I was really hungry and then I drank a lot of water, so I had to pee and couldn’t play too long.” Chake, who was recently placed second at the All India Finger style Guitar competition in Bengaluru, has just started studying music at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music near Chennai. While his fingerstyle technique is impeccable, Chake could use a class or two in songwriting. The Danyii stage closed with Meghalaya folk/poetry collective Rida and the Musical Folks, who played a hit-or-miss set comprising protest poetry about environmental degradation and a rendition of Khasi poet U Soso Tham’s verses, set to tribal beats and stringed instruments from the state.

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The Piilo stage kicked off with Delhi jazz rock band Five8 and electronica act Tankbund, also from Delhi. Both stood out from all the pop punk rock acts which followed. Tankbund delivered a brilliant sunset performance, playing from their 2014 EP Inside and trippy bonus tracks from their 2013 debut self titled album such as “Let’s Run Away” and “Masala Chase.” While most walked away calling it the best performance of the day, there were other hooks in store.

Yesterdrive, Freddy’s Nightmare, Shillong pop punk act Street Stories and Delhi garage rockers The Superfuzz were all out dance rock riffage. Yesterdrive, who made their live debut exactly a year ago at Ziro 2013, made it a homecoming by launching their debut self-titled album. Freddy’s Nightmare, who were more in hard rock saddle with the likes of Boomarang, didn’t offer an entirely new sound but everyone loves a tight band and the five-member band, who reunited after a break of two years, nailed it.

Street Stories, who performed with help from Guwahati electro duo Digital Suicide/Mr India’s vocalist-guitarist Daniel Langthasa on samples and guitars, were a new band compared to when we saw them in 2012 at the Ray Ban 75th Anniversary celebrations in Mumbai. The previously shy frontman Pezo Kronu was exuding faux swag on the even more faux hip hop/dance rock “Not the Romantic Type.” They were heavy on the hooks with a dash of electro, but had never sounded bigger.

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Speaking of big, the Superfuzz closed  day two being the loudest three-member band. In addition to crowd favorites such as “Four Times and Once After, “School” and “What I Really Think,” they even threw in “Irresistible,” which was originally written for their psych rock alter ego Indigo Children. At the end of their set, which closed with “School,” vocalist Sachal Malhar said, “I know this is a beautiful place but I think you guys have a bit of angst in you. Get it out for this song.”

While day 1 was entirely free for locals, discounted student tickets still ensured a 500+ turnout on day 2. The dance rock party continues on day 3, with performances by Kolkata pop Rock band The Ganesh Talkies, Mumbai electro act Laxmi Bomb and a headline set by Delhi reggae/ska band The Ska Vengers. Says keyboardist Stefan Kaye, “There’s going to be some material from our upcoming album.”

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