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Dustbowl Domination: Octoberfest – Part 2

Day 1 was an undeniable disaster. With mixed feelings of hope and despair, Cyd the Squyd marched onwards to see what it would be like on the other days. And he was completely surprised by what he found. Mindblown, even. Speechless, in fact. Curious? Read on!

I slept fitfully, the night after we left the Octoberfest on Day 1. I kept thinking about whether coming to Bangalore was nothing but a big waste of time. Maybe the bands playing there were thinking the same. I woke up very early, wondering what Days 2 and 3 would have in store for me. Once again I looked at my tickets, which insisted that events begin from 2 pm onwards.

I shuddered to think of the previous day, where I actually got there on time, and wasted a good 3-4 hours doing… nothing. Those were 4 hours of my life I would never get back. Ought I take a risk and get to KTPO on time today as well, or should I derive some wisdom from my previous mistake and go later?

This question plagued throughout the morning. The risk-taker in me eventually overcame the rationalist, and I decided to take the plunge. I hopped onto another bus and got to KTPO by 2:30 pm again. And guess what! I WAS LATE!!!!


As I entered the compound, I noticed that security was noticeably tighter, and even the servicemen were being rerouted through their designated entry and exit points. I could hear sounds coming off from both stages. Cacophonous from afar, it was only when I entered inside that I discovered that the smaller bands had already started playing on the side stage, while Rabbi Shergill’s band was performing sound checks in earnest on the main stage.

I was mesmerized for a few moments, watching Rabbi belt out the blues on his maroon guitar for a few minutes before launching into a practice version of “Jugni.”

It was only when Praveen, my photographer for the event spotted me and tapped me on my back that I came to my senses, and realized that I had many, many bands to cover. This time, armed with both, A/V and an expert cameraman, I was able to bring back some proof of just how great the Great Indian Octoberfest actually was. It would suffice to say Day 1 was forgotten within 5 minutes of me getting there on Day 2.

In two days, 24 artists performed before us in a period of less than 24 hours. The bigger acts played on the main stage, while younger and emerging artists played on the side stage. There was always a frenzied rush between the stages, as one act was wrapping up while another one was starting up. Inevitably, we missed out covering complete performances of quite a few bands this way.

For which I couldn’t forgive myself, because EVERY SINGLE artist outperformed the previous one. The audience, ever-increasing in number, too was in high spirits. Overall, it just kept getting better, and better, and even better… so much so that the previous day became a distant memory altogether…

The endless awesomeness that followed left me speechless. Quite literally.

Side Stage Acts

Live Banned (Bangalore): Fresh, funky fusion of pop music, classic rock and oily Indian-ness. Juvenile sense of humor. And Fashion. Pure entertainment. Groovy ‘Dhruv’ on lead guitar. Barbie Girl. Backstreet Boys. Pettai Rap.

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Pitch Black Symphony (Bangalore):

Melodic metal meets baritone and blues. Crazy lead guitar. Dark and dreamy, but rifftasting as well.

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Tough on Tobacco (Mumbai):

Upbeat electric reggae-bluesy-rock. Very animated frontman (Sid Coutto) with a great sense of humor.

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Special treat for the audience: an impromptu improvised song about beer, threesomes and some getaway resort.

Goddess Gagged (Mumbai): Youthful energy. Rocking performance, despite initial technical problems (not their fault!). Managed to draw crowds away from the center stage!

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Main Stage Acts:

Slingshot (Kochi):

Enthusiastic. Funky. Full of sexual innuendo. Creative licks and skillful guitar solos. Good stage presence.

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Junkyard Groove (Chennai):

New line-up, but same old charm. Electrifying lead guitaring. Fantastic frontman, who couldn’t help but take his shirt off, much to the delight of the females in the audience. Very groovy, and very upbeat.

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EKA (Delhi):

Inspiring anthems. Instrumental virtuosos. Great party music – easy to sing along. Modern rock hopefuls in the Hindi-Rock scene. 

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Indus Creed (Mumbai):

Rock n’ Roll veterans, better than ever before. Mix of old classics and new sure-to-be hits. Phenomenal guitar solos. Jayesh Gandhi is still the effervescent frontman as he was before.

Rabbi Shergill (Mumbai): Matching colors for shades and guitar. Soulful sophistication. Flawless bluesy guitaring. Social commentary and a professional performance, despite unruly heckling (the crowds couldn’t stop demanding ‘Bulla Ki Jaana’ and ‘Tere Bin’).

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But he did finally relent.

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Molotov Cocktail (Chennai): Veterans playing in their own turf. Did they draw in the local crowds? Of course they did. Good covers of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against The Machine.

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Papon N East India Company (North East): Excellent fusion of Bangla blues, ethnic eastern melodies, funk and jazz. Distinct and inimitable charm. Rich tapestry of instruments, eastern and western, acoustic and electronic.

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This endless awesomeness is getting slightly exhaustive, isn’t it? But this was merely the tip of the iceberg. The headlining act of Octoberfest had yet to play…

The crowds were growing more and more impatient. Security had doubled and even tripled up around the barricades. Opportunistic (read as unofficial) photographers and skanky press reporters were being kicked out of the restricted areas – but Praveen miraculously managed to stay hidden, and remained up front. 

The stage was abuzz with activity, as foreign looking people sprinted around, speaking foreign sounding languages. For a few moments, the lights went out. All was not well. For the next half hour, the entire audience became more and more restless, as I continued to wait, with bated breath…

What was I in for now? Had not my journey so far been eventful enough?

Stay tuned for the dramatic finale!

In the meantime:

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You can check out some of his other works here!

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