If the prelims are anything to go by, one can be sure the grand finale of NXg Rockstar is going to be a talent-loaded extravaganza; and not to forget Indus Creed’s headlining act! MADHUMITHA SRINIVASAN
All one needed was a keen sense of hearing or sight and not direction to lead you to Unwind Center at Adyar last Saturday. Strained guitar chords and trained vocal chords of youngsters practising by the pavement are what would have led you to the venue of the NXg Rockstar prelims.
With an early start to the day, 75 bands from Chennai and other cities as well, gathered to showcase their best with the hope of making it to the finals tomorrow and bagging the first ever Nxg Rockstar title.
Talent on stage
The musically-charged morning started off with the Acoustics round judged by Logan Roth, jazz pianist from Chicago, and Anisha Verghese, singer for Subject to Change. What was interesting was not just the music, talent and the attitude of the performers on stage, but their names as well. There were names like Night Out, Pakoda and Acoustic Rascals and if one ran out of names why not go for a band name like ‘ Untitled’. Creative, right?!
Though there were a mix of original compositions and covers, the judges felt that bands could have worked more on the former. Or, “when you are playing an original, you could at least try and not play exactly like the original. In that case we might as well listen to the original song,” they said. Moreover, they said they were looking for an emotional connection apart from the technical aspects, and a good balance of both will work best.
Following Acoustics was Acapella, where though there were only four groups, their talent more than made up for the disappointing turnout in this genre. There were three all-girl groups and one boys’ group from MCC who rushed from Tambaram and made it just in time to give their chances a shot and how! The judges for this genre were Natasha Pintu, keyboard arranger, and Samcy Phillip, singer and a member of Octet Cantabile. “It is a very difficult genre. Even if one person does not turn up, the group cannot practise,” said the judges, who were happy at the talent-loaded performances. This round saw innovative presentations like a medley of ad jingles by the group from WCC and one of African-themed songs by a group calling themselves ‘Babealot’.
Next up was the metal round. Jerry John, drummer for Junkyard Groove and other bands, and Eddie Prithviraj, vocalist for Bone Saw and Blood Covenant, had four bands to judge, and out of which they felt three were very good.
“Metal is all about expression; the attitude and the anger. Youngsters need to learn more like we did when we started off from videos of professional bands,” they said.
Rock it is
The seemingly most popular genre was next: Rock. Also being evening by the time it started, the crowd started pouring in and Unwind Center was packed. Going by the cheers for their favourite band and even for good talent be it their competitors, one could see that the young crowd was here to enjoy good music, competition or no competition.
The round saw the performance of a band called ‘Pearl’. What was interesting was not only the fact that they had come all the way from Tuticorin, but that they had formed the band just a week ago after reading about NXg Rockstar in the paper. “We put up an ad in our college (Dr. G.U. Pope College) and formed the band with people who came forward to join. This has been a new experience and we hope to continue with the band even after we go back by performing there,” said one of the band members.
This round was judged by Prithvi Chandrasekhar, producer and studio owner, and Melvin M. Ranjan, vocalist of Incarcerated and a blues guitarist, who were seen thoroughly enjoying themselves. Blame it on the performers’ infectious enthusiasm.
Well, that was what the day was all about after all. Listening and enjoying good music by good talent, and there was no dearth of it at the NXg Rockstar prelims. So, make sure you catch the best of the day’s talent perform and fight it out on stage at the finals tomorrow. And don’t forget Indus Creed who will be headlining the event that promises to turn the spotlight on the real rockstars!
Point Blank (VIT, Vellore)
Shadjaw (Amrita Eng, Coimbatore)
Borrowed Halos (SRM/ Hindustan Eng, Chennai)
Franks Got the Funk (SRM/Hindustan/Loyola/Don Bosco, Chennai)
Pakoda (IITM, Chennai)
Acoustics and Acapella
Best Vocalist (Male): Nishant B Kumar (SRM)
Best Vocalist (Female): Linda Susan Jacob (Les Chantuses, WCC)
Best Instrumentalist: Anirudh Gurjale (Violin, Pakoda, IIT)
Best Instrumentalist: Vidya Muthukumar (Keyboards, Pakoda, IIT)
Best Acoustic band: Pakoda, IIT Chennai
Best Acapella Group: MCC, Tambaram, Chennai
Best Vocalist: Siva SBK (Trojan Horse, Hindustan College)
Best Lead Guitarist: Aarabhy Surendran (Shadjaw, Amrita Eng, Coimbatore)
Best Bass Guitarist: Hasnain Abbas (Trojan Horse, WL Business)
Best Drummer: Vishnu Reddy (Trojan Horse, Loyola College)
Best Vocalist: Vishnu Nair (Point Blank, Vellore Institute of Tech)
Best Lead Guitarist: Kaushik Narayanan (Point Blank, Vellore Institute of Tech)
Best Bass Guitarist: Sajith Satya (Franks got the funk, Don Bosco)
Best Drummer: Prabhu Murali (Borrowed Halos, SRM)
Best Keyboard Player: Shiva Subramanium (Shadjaw, Amrita Eng, Coimbatore)
Best Original Song: ‘Asylum’ (Borrowed Halos)
Nxg Rockstar ‘Crowd Favourite’: GOLDFISH (Don Bosco/Satyabama/Lady Andal). They will be performing tomorrow.
Nxg Rockstar ‘Fresh Talent’: Susan Ann Issac (Chettinad Vidyashram)
@YMCA Bucks Theatre, Nandanam
When: Feb 18
Time: 5:00 p.m. onwards
Tickets available at: indianstage.in or at The Hindu (Ph: 9551272233)
Log on to: www.thehindu.com/nxgrockstar or www.go-nxg.com/rockstar for more details.
SponsorsSRM University is the title sponsor, Green Trends - Hair and Style Salon and Casio are the associate sponsors. VGP Universal Kingdom, Viveks, Institute of Design, PVR Cinemas, Mochi, Witco, Bubbles - Family Salon and Spa, Fitness One, Renaissance Dance works, Saptaswara Musicals, Wired Play station, Fruitshop, Marrybrown, Mahavir Optics, Holy Smoke, Institute of Design, VBJ, Raintree, are the prize sponsors. Television Partner- NDTV Hindu; Food Partner- Mc Donalds ; Music Channel Partner - SS Music ; Radio Partner - Chennai Live, Music Partner - Unwind Center, Fashion Partner – Derby, Hospitality Partner- Ambassador Pallava, Event Partner – I Ads and Events; Ticket Partner – Indian Stage.in
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