Photos: BIG69 Festival, Mumbai
The first edition of the festival in Mumbai sets the standard high for metal shows in the country, with standout sets by Indian bands and international headliners
When the dust from the countless moshpits finally settled, the first edition of two-day metal festival BIG69 proved that a large-scale festival in Mumbai is still possible, entertainment taxes be damned. More importantly, it gave metal in Mumbai a home again, picking up where organizers and music retailers BAJAAO had left off with music venue B69 when it closed in 2012.
Despite a few complaints of noise that attracted the police, BIG69 gave metalheads the best in artist programming – lining up bands from across India and four international headline acts – as well as a festival experience they could call their own – whether it involved smashing a car with a sledgehammer or downing beer that’s named after UK prog metal band SikTh’s album. While most Indian bands brought their A-game to BIG69, sets by Shillong death metallers Plague Throat, Mumbai extreme metallers Demonic Resurrection, The Bombay Metal Project’s all-star covers set, thrash/groove metal band Providence [back with former vocalist and Pune metal band Abraxas’s frontman Karan Pote] and Delhi metallers Undying Inc and the reunion of nu-metallers Joint Family impressed us the most.
The international headliners – UK death metal band Carcass, Italian tech-death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse [with a fever-sick drummer Francesco Paoli powering through], UK grime/rap metal band Hacktivist and SikTh – all played mind-bogglingly great sets that would leave anyone witnessing them for the first time in surprise. Whether it was Carcass’s blast-from-the-past death metal, Fleshgod’s symphonic, too-fast riffage, Hacktivist dropping seven-string guitar grooves and rap rhymes and SikTh’s impeccable perfection in playing their hits, no matter how complicated they have ever sounded on record. BIG69 has set the bar high for themselves with the first edition, and fans will expect no less from its second edition next year.
Photos: Prashin Jagger