Pepsi Battle of the Bands picks up the pace
The cola wars have begun. On one hand we have Coke Studio continuing with its 10th season, featuring a bevy of renowned musicians of Pakistan, and on the other, we can see fresh, new talent making its way into the industry with the help of Pepsi Battle of the Bands. Both platforms offer something different to the audience and while one may have become accustomed to Coke Studio, we are curious to see what transpires on Pepsi’s BOTB.
Currently, the show is on its third episode in which the top eight bands, Jasim and the Pindi Boys, Badnaam, Shajr, Roots, Aura, Kashmir, Madlock and Darvesh participated in the Knockout Round. Of those, two bands were sent home.
All the bands were asked to perform their favourite song; Kashmir delivered a beautiful rendition of Amir Zaki’s ‘Mera Pyaar’ while Jasim and the Pindi Boys were one of the few bands to sing an upbeat song: ‘Dil Dhoondta Hai’ by Vital Signs. Sounds of Kolachi were covered by Darvesh and the band claimed that they had covered ‘Allah Hee Deyga’ so many times that by now, the song has become extremely familiar to them. Badnaam performed a rocked out version of ‘Kala Jora’ and Madlock chose EP’s iconic ‘Kahan Hai Tu’. Fawad Khan could be seen with a broad smile on his face during this performance.
Apart from the performances, the third episode also made way for two new judges – Shahi Hasan and Atif Aslam – who were introduced in the knockout round, replacing Farooq Ahmed of Aaroh.
It must be said that the music on the show is definitely getting better. There has been a huge improvement in what we heard during the auditions as opposed to what the bands are playing now. Bands that particularly stand out on the show are Kashmir, Jasim and the Pindi Boys, Madlock and Badnaam. Even though Aura and Shajr were eliminated from the show, we saw a marked improvement in their performances as well.
However, we have our reservations about the way the judges have been critiquing the performances. We understand that the judges do not wish to be vicious or mean to the musicians in order to make sure that they don’t get discouraged but at this point, the comments are becoming a little vague and generic.
Also, another thing missing from the show is a strong narrative. Currently, we don’t know much about the bands or their personalities. It would help greatly if the show would include cohesive back stories of the musicians and their journeys in a much more detailed fashion. Maybe that’s being saved for later episodes when the top three bands get selected.