The opening acts for Mood Indigo’s Livewire 2011 were not a blemish on the force of Aussie prog rockers Karnivool.
So yeah. No sleep till Mood-I. Let’s not bother with a long-winded beginning. Karnivool were amazing. They played a set that would warrant inclusion among the year’s best. If it wasn’t for them, there would have been death at IIT-B’s SEC. Allow me to elaborate.
The Three Livewire Finalists
There’s a part of me that really wants to do a set-by-set review of what these bands played. And it’s the same part that would endeavor to run a Metal Archives-esque Orkutcore repository. I’m aware that these bands are both young and impressionable, but all I can say is sorry. Is it just me, or have competition winners Versus been playing the same set for three years? And why do I think they’d rather be called DR Jr.? Why does TurnKEY, the self-described “all out metal” act from Kolkata sound so uninspired? Mumbai prog-rock band The Hoodwink Circle show definite promise. But can a band as unpolished really be trusted to open for the almighty Karnivool?
Following the pointless punishment, the Chennai alt-rockers played an engaging yet gimmicky set.
The good: They were efficient, they got the crowd to love them, they played an incredible cover of Pearl Jam‘s ‘Animal’.
The bad: The band picked and played genuinely irksome music between songs. This includes two bars of ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’ and the ‘Docomo’ theme. Someone in the crowd rightly called Thomas a terrorist.
As Karnivool required a chunk of time before taking the stage, the band was forced back on for a two-song encore. With the crowd’s impatience escalating, they showered the band with insults, yearning the organizers to “send Ameeth home”. However, the band kept their composure and managed to finish their job regardless.
Karnivool took the stage after a long, hard wait, firing off with the teeth-rattling ‘Goliath’. About a fourth of the crowd were familiar with the music, but the enthusiasm was shared by the rest. Given the fact that they only had two albums worth of material to work with, the band put together an amazing setlist that carried a definite sense of progression. They hardly interacted with the crowd, but Karnivool had tremendous stage presence. Frontman Ian Kelly stood out in particular, moving to the music in a perfectly synchronous manner. Kelly took time between songs for some customary banter, but none of it was as memorable as the performance itself.
The crowd was tireless in its wake, jumping fervently and in true Mood-I fashion, shouting requests out, hoping they were loud enough to be heard by the band. Halfway through the set, Kenny asked the audience to sing along to the most recognizable of their singles, ‘All I Know’. As expected, a good quarter complied.
Musically, the band was suffocatingly coiled. They played in a tightly wound manner, making it increasingly difficult to pick out mistakes. Perhaps the most memorable moment was when, during the outro of ‘New Day’, several firecrackers lit up a confetti speckled sky as Kelly yelled “Are we waiting/For a saviour?” repeatedly, spawning out of thin air a minute for the ages. The band closed their set immediately after with the 10-minute epic ‘Change’, bringing things to a satisfying end as the feedback died out.