One facet of the burgeoning music scene in India bothered guitarist SK Bharti no end. “There is way too much electronic music going around,”he says wryly. “I was surprised to know that there are very few platforms for rock music in the country. Except a few bands like Pentagram,most rock bands don’t even have official album launches.”This observation propelled him to think up MaxRockers. The event aims to celebrate rock music in all its forms and combinations – be it heavy metal,fusion or dubstep.
The multi-city musical event will travel to 16 locations,conducting auditions for local bands as well as bringing in veteran rock outfits to perform. The first round of these auditions were conducted in Pune recently and a short list of 15 bands was drawn up. The winner from this list will get to perform with Kochi-based band Motherjane at Raga Lawns on Saturday. The next round of auditions will be held in Kolkata.
Though the MaxRockers vehicle has been set in motion,the organisers admit that the lead up was hardly a cake walk. “No one was willing to provide the finances to support stage performances. So we decided to go to the ground level,speak to college bands,” recalls Bharti. The experience egged them one to include all formats of rock music into their fold. To distinguish themselves from reality shows that conduct auditions in all major cities but have one main show,MaxRockers decided to hold auditions and a concert in each of the 16 locations.”The winning bands get to perform with a celebrity band in their cities. We will conduct a final concert in 2013 at Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai,” he says.
The live performances have been so designed that popular bands that haven’t visited a city for long are slotted to perform. “Like Pune is a musical hotspot,and Mothejane has performed here earlier. But they haven’t visited for a long time,so we roped them in for Pune. For the winning bands,it will be demotivating if the performances don’t pull in big crowds,” says Bharti. Right at the end of the live gigs,every winning city band will be invited to a Mumbai studio to record six songs each. One song by each band will then be selected and compiled into an album. A TV show based on the performances is also on the anvil.
Pune-based death/thrash metal Halahkuh was declared the winner of thePune leg of the auditions,and will share stage with Motherjane. “In Pune,the rock music scene is very underground,but it is not really like we are struggling. We find and organise events within the community. Events like MaxRockers help bring out the fact that rock is not just one genre,and has many sub-genres. Newly-formed bands get good exposure too,” says Prakhar Soni,bassist and vocalist of Halahkuh.