College bands from across India to take the stage
College bands from across the country will take the stage for the finals of a competition that could launch their careers
College bands often have an ephemeral quality, because when they leave the sheltered existence of the campus, the pressure of climbing up the professional ladder threatens to rule their lives at the cost of their music. But in some cases -- most notably with Irish rock gods U2 -- musical associations formed in pre-adulthood crystallise into an outfit that stands the test of time. One hopes that the same happens with the finalists of Parx Hunt, an all-India competition for college bands that culminates at a Worli hotspot this evening.
It will feature the winners of zonal auditions -- Lost Icons (Delhi), Across Seconds (Mumbai), Revival (Hyderabad) and Yajnyavalkaya (Kolkata), with Knight Shades (Delhi) gaining a wild card entry into the competition. The gig will be headlined by Underground Authority (UA), which is an excellent example of a college band whose members have stuck it out post their campus days to form a viable career in independent music.
"We know exactly how these guys [the finalists] feel and the kind of difficulties that you have to face as a college band. There is absolutely no income, apart from competitions like this one, where there is a certain amount of financial incentive," says Adil Rashid, UA's lead guitarist.
He adds, "When you're in college, it is uncertain whether you can take up music as a career. Moreover, there is the pressure of academics. You have to be of a certain mindset to take a leap of faith and play music professionally."
Asked what a college band needs to be aware of if its members decide to take that leap, Rashid says, "Most importantly, they have to be careful of people around them. When people have nothing to lose and get to watch your performance for free, they make a lot of promises that they might not live up to. So, you have to be grounded and expect the worst, and build your base one fan at a time."
Part of that fan base might well be constructed at this evening's gig. The four zonal winners of a total of 130 who participated have already bagged Rs 50,000 each, and the winners will get an additional reward of Rs. 1 lakh. This prize money, feels Rashid, is best spent on more instruments that can help the bands chisel their sound, allowing them to continue pursuing their passion, thus emulating UA, or even U2, in the process.
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