Gig Review: Junkyard Groove, Spud In The Box and More Live at IIT Delhi Blitzkrieg 2015
Despite playing to a tough crowd, Chennai rock act Junkyard Groove delivered a raucous headline set after a lukewarm line of performances by Spud In The Box and competing bands at IIT Delhi’s annual festival Rendezvous
Chennai rockers Junkyard Groove proved yet again that they’re one of the few Indian rock bands that have kept that warm alt rock sound alive and fresh. Headlining IIT Delhi’s band event Blitzkrieg, their set delivered a sweet punch that could make any first-time listener fall in love with the band.
But it turns out that IIT Delhi crowd would rather dance to the Navratri Dandiya music than attend a rock concert. With a dismal audience of 300 people at the open air theater of the college which can fill 1,500 people, Blitzkrieg, previously headlined by the likes of Dutch prog metal band Textures and American alt rock band Hoobastank, seemed to have lost its charm this year.
The band competition leg of Blitzkrieg involved five artists, selected after local-level elimination rounds across the country, playing two songs each. However, all bands had to face major sound issues setting up and performing. Fusion rockers Celestial Spheres from Diphu, Assam took home the prize for delivering a catchy, well-knit set that won the crowd over with songs such as “Jilli” and a cover of rock vocalist Alannah Myles’s Eighties’ hit “Black Velvet.” Runners-up included Lucknow alt/groove metal band Diabolical Damage, whose vocalist Utkarsh Srivastava brought on stage some good energy despite having his right leg in a cast.
Among the competing bands, Mumbai-based psychedelic rock band Synchronous were the first on stage, making them wade through technical issues they just couldn’t overcome. On the other hand, Bengaluru progressive metalcore act Among The Signs somehow braved sound glitches but had to compromise on their set, which had to be cut short halfway through their second song for exceeding time limit. Perhaps if they’d finished the job, vocalist Stanley David’s ability to effortlessly glide from grindcore-ish to clean vocals would have seen them win. They are definitely a band to watch out for. Even Gurgaon-based funk/blues band Muffils provided stiff competition to their counterparts, even as they delivered a memorable new song called “Waiting.”
Technical issues continued to plague co-headliners Spud In The Box, with the guitars and the vocals overpowering the whole spectrum of their set. The bass, keyboards and drums were muffled and hardly audible, but the band stuck through and impressed the crowd with new material from their upcoming full-length album, Lead Feet Paper Shoes, due later this year. Despite that, it definitely wasn’t their day. It didn’t help that the Delhi crowd somehow wanted them to play “Battery” by Metallica.
Despite recurring sound hitches, Junkyard Groove went on to play a stellar set which comprised of all their hit songs from the last two albums. The band also managed to plug in a couple of new songs from their new EP Before I Go. Vocalist Ameeth Thomas got cheers from the crowd, which he happily responded to with his trademark brand of humor that makes all their gigs entertaining. Thomas said, “Please don’t do that, I get really emotional, we are a very emotional band. But I wouldn’t mind the girls chanting my name, though.”