Before I begin, I would like to thank Aditya for letting me write this piece for MKK. Not many places that spew actual truth like this website does, mutual asslicking is the bane of progress and it is only through the way of realization of the cold, hard, bitter truth that excellence can be achieved.
So I’ve been around for a while, even though most MKK readers might not find me familiar, I’ve been the editor of Metalabad, a website that has been providing coverage for the Gujarat Rock scene since the past five years. Recently, I moved to Bombay to complete an internship and even more recently, I happened to attend a concert in the city.
“Grand Mammoth Festival” it was called. Although a more apt title would have been “Modest Mammoth Pub gig” but regardless of the name, the concert had some promising bands on the lineup which included the newly formed Trinergic (or did Dystopia change their name? idk), the quickly-moving-up-the-ranks Orion, Cosmic Infusion, Atmosfear and Zygnema. There were two other bands namely Fire Monx and Orcus who I shall not talk about since I wasn’t able to see them.
So I get to the venue and I take a look around, I see several familiar faces, faces belonging to the Bombay Metal scene, the oh-so-holy community that is looked up to by cities with smaller scenes such as mine. We all strive to be like Bombay some day, it’s a struggle, a dream, but it’s there. The Bombay scene and its bands are benchmarks of what we all want to be like, eventually, at some point.
I ask someone, “Has the concert begun?” to which I received an affirmative reply. I was late to the gig, but even so, what really made me ask this question was the fact that there was a large crowd of people outside the venue, happily drinking away at the bar and chatting with their buddies.
Not sure what to make of this, I went inside. The band Trinergic had just taken the stage. Comprised of nothing but pure talent, these guys were bringing the place down with their tight set. What I couldn’t help notice though was how there were barely any people inside the venue compared to the droves of drunkards I saw outside.
It’s probably just for the opening bands, I told myself, unable to reason with such ignorance and stuck around, relishing and basking in the sound of live Heavy Metal that we’re so starved for back in our home towns. Trinergic finished their set and Orion came on, I saw a few fresh faces enter, probably the friends and supporters of the band who went straight up to the front row. I strolled to the balcony and noticed that the numbers outside had only grown bigger.
The next band was Atmosfear, SURELY people were going to come in now! This band’s on the main bill after all! Such an experienced, almost universally-acclaimed band in the Metal circles shall surely see some serious fanfare!
The same thing happened, people outright refused to come in. Sure there was a small crowd of folks that just enjoyed every single moment of the Atmosfear experience, exactly how it’s meant to be, but the amount of people that just didn’t care was beyond logic.
Cosmic Infusion met similar fate. It was still a delight to see a small legion of dedicated fans sing along to their songs, a rare occurrence for a band that hasn’t been around too long.
and then… Zygnema is announced.
Suddenly, all the people who were outside this entire time (We’re talking 3+ hours) decide to lumber their asses inside the venue.
“JIGNEMAAAHHH!!11” an enthusiastic fan bellowed, a cry which was echoed by the rest and deservedly so, Zygnema’s a talented powerhouse of a band and deserve all this and more.
The setlist starts off with one of their famous numbers, before being stopped abruptly by the venue manager since the time limit had been crossed.
and this is when it was “Shell broken hell loose” for all the fanboys.
“Manager ki ma ki chut!” the crowd screamed in unison, displaying their hardcoreness and proving their fandom while simultaneously bringing a definitive end to anything Metal ever happening at the venue again. A visibly distraught organizer held his head in disappointment as hordes of “Metalheads” hurled abuses at the manager and complained in a similar vein to grannies that didn’t get their prescription laxatives on time.
It is a matter of another discussion that our rebels went in silent mode upon the appearance of hulky bouncers though.
So all of this is happening and I start hearing about how “150 rupya waste hua” and “main 2 ghante travel kiya” from several of the attendants. Bear in mind that these were the same folks that chose to stay outside during the whole concert, only bothering to hobble inside when their favorite band came to play.
Now my diatribe is this. Each and every one of the bands that played inside the venue on that evening, worked hard. Each band spent a lot of good time into getting things right and if someone were to ask me to rate the bands that played, there wouldn’t be too much difference in how amazingly tight all the bands (including Zygnema) were on stage and how much heart and soul they put into their performance.
But while such performances were in progress, “cool” folks preferred to stay outside. This isn’t limited to your regular scene-kid either, I’m talking about the Big Shows and the Rikishis of the scene. People that post status messages about how the scene should support them and their bands, people that are regarded as the flag bearers of the entire community. What is a random scene kid supposed to think when these very people refuse to support their fellow musicians?
Obviously it’s not a cool thing to do anymore, who gives a shit about staying for the entire concert right? No band’s as amazing as the band that I’m supporting! It’s like picking a side to support, except that’s not the way it works.
There’s only one side in our music, Heavy fucking Metal!
I’ve had this discussion with several folks since, is this because of there being an abundance, an excess? From my “outsider” point of view, I cannot imagine people in the cities of Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Baroda, Surat etc. wanting to miss out on even a single second of any concert that happens! The crowds are so passionate and hungry to listen to Metal that quite figuratively, nothing else matters.
But maybe we’re too intelligent now, we know too much or we’ve listened to too much music. We’ve all become critics, dismissive of any band that’s not up to our standards and happy to ignore their existence until someone “cool” makes it a thing to acknowledge them instead.
This is an Indie scene. Relatively free from the clutches of corporate talons so far. But the only way its ever going to get anywhere is if this ignorant, piece of shit attitude comes to an end. The reason people stopped being ignorant and opened up to Rock Music was why the scene came to be in the first place!
This doesn’t mean providing showers of praise and verbal fellatio to artists either, in my opinion there’s no bigger motivator than critics and criticism. But whoever you are, whatever you do, if you’re into Metal, give your scene a chance.
With this I’ll end this article, please leave feedback in comments.