KOCHI: May Day rocked, literally. Kochi Rock On, a fundraiser event presented by JT Pac and held at Gokulam Convention Centre witnessed an exodus of the city’s rock faithful as they gathered in large numbers to watch their musical Gods take stage in a spectacular showcase of mind-blowing music and celebration. The sheer energy was palpable as the five seminal rock acts from South India, featuring two generations of musicians, gathered on stage for a greater cause and as a tribute to Kochi, which has forever been known as the de facto cradle of Kerala’s rock culture.
The event kicked off with Bangalore based ‘Aathma’ wooing the crowd with Their brand of happy-go-lucky peppy music coupled with a tight sense of fashion and by the time I got there, midway into their performance, the crowd was already grooving to their music. The searing heat could do little to bring their energy down and these Bangalore boys struck the right chord with the crowd and it was the perfect opening act for the evening.
If Kochi has a whole different level of respect for Carnatic music, it is anyone’s guess that ‘Agam’ is responsible for that. This progressive band with deep Carnatic leanings is just not your usual rock band. With tonal subtleties of Western music and sublime Carnatic ‘aalaps’, their music was fusion done right. Their music made me feel like I was at a traditional Kacheri and a rock gig at the same time and it was a very heartwarming moment when everyone felt so at home and sang along with the band when they sang ‘thi thi thara thi thi thei’, which is part of their own composition - Boat Song. These musicians, all incredible in their own respect, are definitely going places.
Coming out of a two year hiatus, Kochi’s favourite sons ‘Motherjane’ made a stellar comeback and Kochi embraced them with arms wide open. Despite an entirely new line-up and the weight of soaring expectations on their shoulders, the band played dynamically and stayed true to their legacy as one of the best rock bands in the country. Performing their very popular original compositions like Jihad, Chasing the Sun, Mindstreet, Blood in the Apple and Fields of Sound, the band also debuted their latest single Clayplay which was recently released on Youtube to widespread critical acclaim. It was a much sought after comeback and all doubts can be laid to rest, Motherjane is back!
When the Thaikoodam Bridge boys opened with their Mettalica tribute medley, the crowd went into a frenzy. The band which took the music scene by storm with their rendition of nostalgic Malayalam classic song covers and their hard hitting Fish Rock announced an all original set - something that hadn’t been attempted by the band before. Featuring a stellar cast of musician, the watershed moment in their set saw the band introducing their ‘Godfather’, the father of one the band members, who performed ‘Chathe’ one of their latest singles and a song which I personally felt was well received by all.
As Tony walked onto the stage sporting his trademark lungi, the crowd went berserk. Probably one of Kerala’s biggest cultural export, Avial was bang on the buck, hitting all the right chords with a set featuring classics such as Chekkele, Aanakallan, Nadanada, Aaranda, Aadu Pambe, songs which have gone on to become important milestones in Indian rock history. Their set also featured a mystery female vocalist who joined the band for an extended rendition of Karukaru Karmukil penned by famous Malayalam dramatist Kavalam Narayana Panicker. The crowd sang along to every single song and even managed to completely drown out the band’s vocalist at times. ‘Avial’ once again proved that music transcends language and their extremely refreshing set brought the curtains down on a very memorable evening dedicated to music.