Photos by Abhinav Jerath
1. The Location
The many avatars of the corridors at IIM
The Objective: The first thing to decide when you’re organizing such an event is to find a place where it shall be staged. Now, if you’ve got a 99 percentile on your CAT score, chances are you’ll land up at a B-school which will be architecturally endowed with beauty and utility. You can make the obvious choice of the huge auditorium or the college grounds. Or, given the options you have, your choices could be eclectic. Consider a hostel courtyard with the audience peering down from the balconies; or even a tree-infested corridor with hanging lights, and sign boards with the words ‘sound’ that guides the audience to where it’s coming from. The ambience you provide can make a lot of difference in enhancing the user experience and with a little bit of out-of-the-box™ magic dust, you can do wonders. Literally. Ask the Egyptian folks who attended this:
While you obviously cannot afford to build a life size replica of the Pyramids, you can always try and improvise.
The choice made: Open Air Theater at IIM Bangalore.
The Observation: The stage overlooked half a hill (or a half-hill – what’s the technically correct term?) facing it. The entire place had the festival vibe going for it: The sun was setting, the wind was brushing against the trees, the people were brimming with lethargy.
The lazy folks in the background
By the time the proceedings were kicked off, the comfort of the grass had already infiltrated the defenseless hedonism of most people. Thus, only a few drunk folk managed to escape the pristine setting and were up against the barricades, headbanging. The subtle countenance with which the people watched the show, made the singer of Acrimony interrogate the crowds ‘are you guys asleep?’ throughout their set, which had changed to a conclusive ‘you guys are asleep’, by the time he left stage. Not the best place for a metal band expecting a mosh-pit but nonetheless, a very comfortable spot to relax and hear some music.
2. The sound
Singer, D'whetstone, sampling the sound away
The Objective: The second thing you’ll need is the sound, which involves you procuring it and utilizing it. Procure, you will with the huge list of sponsors you have because of the A level institution you are a part of, but the real test is its optimum utilization. And to do that you need to have an effective relationship with the band (It’s all about synergy or something like that). Give them enough time to do their soundcheck because the consumer’s disposition is greatly affected by the sound coming from the speakers. Though few bands might genuinely suck, it is still a part of your ‘corporate’ responsibility to provide the best you can.
Time given: ‘Ample’ as told to us by one of the members of the competing bands.
The Observation: The Dark Project, with their vocals beating up against the band’s own sound for most part of the set, were a tame start to the competition. Acrimony and The Velvet Trap, were equally lost in their own distortion with their performances being plagued by sound issues, to which a few elderly folks actually said ‘bas karro bhai’!
But the picture wasn’t all grim. Witchouse, a 4 piece band from Chennai, made the sound turn their way as they went through a bunch of improvs with their indie/alternative leaning and got a special mention from the judges. It was however the band Clown with a Frown, with their jazz-blues-rock infused flavourful funk and half of their 8-man army making up for a soulful brass section, who walked away with the best band prize. D’whetstone was another distinct sound for the evening with the vocalist handling a keytar, throwing in samples.
3. The MC
That wretched script, That wretched man.
The Objective: Just go up to the stage, say the name of the next band, and get off. However, because of all the promotions you’ve promised your sponsor, you must mention their name repeatedly during the competition and because you still secretly help the corporations ruling the world, you can probably pay someone to do it for you.
The choice: Seemed like a pro, at least with his overzealous tone.
The Observation: The guy handling the Mic tried hard – without really giving a fuck – to make the audience give a fuck. This involved the fail attempts of using “metalheads” every time he addressed the crowds. Like a man on a mission, he kept using the term like a buzz word (http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Buzzword), sparing none. So appalled was I at this marginalization of an entire community of varied individuals into now one-social identity that I thought of writing a letter to the Human Rights Commission for the Insecure. So next time you get a ‘pro’ to do it, make sure you go through his script.
4. The Headlining Act
Rajeev. Thermal and a Quarter
The Objective: This is what the people really come for, and this is where you have to allocate most of your resources. A good headlining act can make a huge difference in consumer perception and can dramatically improve your ‘brand loyalty’.
Well there’s nothing really like that, people will go wherever good music is being played. The thing to keep in mind is the people you are counting on for showing up. Now, if you have a gazillion events going on at your fest, you really can’t count on the truckload of kids that are in your college. Your target market then becomes the people from the home turf.
The Choice: Thermal and a Quarter
Mr Mani, Starry eyed
The Observation: Despite delivering a set like they always do, with a tight-melodic-groovy-improvised and often humorous (Thanks to Mr Lee’s stage antics) consistency. TAAQ wasn’t something that B’lore people were draw to, probably because of their frequency at Hard Rock Café. Though, some loyal folk in the audience screamed ‘marro isse pakad ke’ at a guy who, answered the band’s question regarding the next song they are going to play, with ‘Sunburn’. Does that qualify as Burn? I don’t know. I am genuinely asking? There has to be an explanation for that answer,, which I will discover someday.
Thermal and a Quarter, judging the event, before headling it.
Anyway, TAAQ ended their set with an instrumental and the Percept laptop went up on stage ready to make people dance. Thing to keep in mind while deciding a headlining band: Don’t get the home team to play.
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