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High Spirits’ Bandcubator Competition Returns This Month

The second edition of the contest by the Pune venue features 20 bands from Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru; the winning band will receive a prize of Rs. 1.5 lakhs, a four-city tour and album deal

David Britto Feb 28, 2017
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The Ska Vengers play to a packed crowd at High Spirits. Photo: courtesy of High Spirits Cafe

The Ska Vengers play to a packed crowd at The High Spirits Cafe. Photo: Courtesy of The High Spirits Cafe

After hosting a successful first edition of band competition Bandcubator last year, where Mumbai-based alt rock band Unohu took the top prize, Pune venue High Spirits Café is back to scouting for top new talent. 

The competition, which kicked off this past Sunday, features 20 bands from Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru competing over four weekly gigs, followed by a final among four bands on April 2nd. Winning Bandcubator is certainly worth all the hard work bands put into rehearsals and jams ”“ the winning band will take home Rs. 1.5 lakhs, an EP recording deal at Cotton Press Studio in Mumbai, a four-city tour booked by artist/event management company Mixtape and a video screening slot on 9XO’s indie segment ”˜Homegrown.’ Rs. 10,000 will also go to the band that wins the popular choice vote.

Among the bands selected by the venue are alt rock act Tripp Pilots, progressive rock group Disciples of the Old Monk, blues outfit Studmuffin, fusion band Bombay Bandook, neo-soul/R&B group smalltalk and more. Although the competition was opened to only Mumbai and Pune bands, Bengaluru-based indie band Inthenow are participating after agreeing to take care of their own expenses.

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High Spirits founder Khodu Irani says, “I was stunned when we received entries from 55 bands this year.” Irani, who started the cafe in 2005, is eager to promote up-and-coming bands and give them a platform. Says Irani “There is no space for new bands to even perform, it is important to give young bands a chance otherwise it is the same stuff.”

The judging panel for this edition includes guitarists Rahul Chatterjee and Christopher Fonseca (who has worked with rock singer Gary Lawyer), keyboardist Johnston D’souza, guitarist Koco from folk-rock band Agnee, drummer Varun Venkit (previously of Agnee), Mumbai vocalist/guitarist Siddharth Basrur and indie rock veteran Uday Benegal from Indus Creed.

A web series for this year’s competition is also in the works. As far as next year is concerned, Bandcubator will expand to host regional rounds at different cities with the finals being held in Pune.

The Bandcubator at High Spirits, Pune. More details here.

February 26th-

Tripp Pilots (Mumbai)

Cat Kamikazee (Pune)

Across Seconds (Mumbai)

Rudraxsha (Pune)

Manzil (Mumbai)


March 5th-

Disciples of the Old Monk (Mumbai)

Eden (Pune)

smalltalk (Mumbai)

Blank White Page (Pune)

Last Minute (Mumbai)


March 19th-

What Plough? (Pune)

Studmuffin (Pune)

Manefus (Pune)

Bombay Bandook (Mumbai)

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Ocean Avenue (Pune)


March 26th-

Scriptures In The Attic (Pune)

Nobody’s Fool (Mumbai)

Inthenow (Bengaluru)

Corner Cafe Chronicles (Mumbai)

Circle of Fifths (Mumbai)


April 2nd-


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