Pepsi Pakistan’s biggest musical platform, Pepsi Battle of the Bands, launched its fourth season with the inaugural episode showcasing talent auditions for the battleground.
The first episode began with the new host Hina Altaf who took it down the memory lane and gave a recap of the previous seasons’ best moments. Season two and three winners Kashmir and Bayaan, respectively, talked about their life-changing Battle of the Bands journeys and how the platform not only gave them a boost in their career trajectory, but has also resulted in more independent bands creating and releasing original music, causing a positive ripple effect in the Pakistani music industry.
The jury, comprising of Fawad Khan, Strings and Meesha Shafi, shared how being part of the previous two seasons was exciting for them and what they expect from the upcoming bands this season.
The episode also featured some of the finest performances in the audition round.
The first performance was by a band called ‘Neon’ who performed an original ‘Muscle Car’. The band’s name is derived from the Greek word which means ‘new’, and that’s exactly what they intended to do with their music, that is introduce a new genre ‘neo rock’ to Pakistani audiences. Neon was shortlisted for the great battle.
The next band Starzone performed their original ‘Chalo Chalein’. Comprising of five members, two of which were Canadians who came to Pakistan with the sole intention of participating in and winning the show, the band featured a female vocalist who quit her job in the banking sector for the competition. Starzone locked their place in the shortlist.
Ooaj had been struggling for a decade and even had to sell their equipment in the past to record a song. They finally got their much-earned spotlight in Pepsi Battle of the Bands season four. Their head-banging performance on their original called ‘Lafz’ received a standing ovation from the judges who praised the band’s strong musical identity and direction and shortlisted them.
The band Skehlaaj also proved that they were up to the challenge.
The ultra-fun and pun-loving band, ‘is ka ilaaj’, consisted of a bunch of experimental metal-heads, performed an original ‘Dam-e-Dastageer’ and impressed the jury with their roaring, hardcore performance full of strong vocals and comedic lyrical content. They were added in the judges’ shortlist.
The band Aarish from season three was returned to participate this year again. Since last year, they had been following the jury’s suggestions and worked on their sound. With their original number ‘Aarzu’, they made a strong comeback and rose to the high bar set in the Pepsi battlefield.
Mousiqa performed a funky pop cover of ‘Bindi’ by Noor Jehan, which made the judges want to groove and were chosen to participate.
The band called Jhoot covered Gardish by Karavan and offered a gripping performance and made it in the shortlist.
Seismic Tremors gave the last performance of the episode. They incorporated eastern classical as well as their secret weapon ‘rap’ in an extraordinary cover of ‘Sanwal Morr Moharran’ by Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. Never has Pepsi Battle of the Bands stage seen a band which offered such a wide array of genres in one act. The jury appreciated their intelligent choice of song, the theatrics and a unique collective identity and shortlisted them.
As the episode continued, certain bands did not meet the judges’ expectations and were sent home to improve their craft.
Auditions are set to continue in the next episode of Pepsi Battle of the Bands season four, which will be aired next week.