KATHMANDU, Nov 9: New-wave metal band E.quals has slotted itself to participate in the Global Battle of the Bands (GBOB) Challenge World Final in UK next month vying for a whopping 1 lakh US dollars. In the Nepal’s grand finale held at the Nepal Music School garden on Saturday, E.quals beat four other bands to represent the country in the international joust that will take place on December 13.
“The winning band will represent Nepal in the UK-based international music competition on December 13,” informs Binit Shrestha, director of the event management company House of Innovations -- the licensed representative of the Global Battle of Bands competition.
The event, aimed at scouting talented musicians and bands, took place in Nepal for the first time. The band will head to London for the World Final on the first week of December after being groomed by other artists and the organizers.
On the final day here in Kathmandu, five bands – Sutra, Jindabad, AltF4, E.quals, and Kaalbhairav competed against each other to clinch the top spot. The venue, full of metal heads and other music enthusiasts witnessed power performance from classical fusion to traditional metal. AltF4 was a proper rock band. The winning Equals, a new-wave metal outfit while Jindabad was a modish progressive rock group and Sutra, a typical Nepali folk fusion band. The Kaalbhairab was a traditional metal band.
All bands churned out their original numbers and performed two songs within twelve minutes given time. Sutra started the event of the day with their soothing classical fusion ‘Sangam’. The most contemporary rock outfit Jindabaad performed ‘Rewind” and ‘Shades of You’. Jindabaad, probably the next best (alternative) rock band, wowed the judges and the fans but were still short of votes to win the title.
ALT F4, the only band with both Nepali songs, had their ‘Yathartha’ and already-made-into-a-music-video ‘Ladai’. The band came second in the Kantipur Television’s Sprite Band Challenge last year. Winning band E.quals, with a bumpy start performed ‘Now we are even’ and went on to show their true talent in ‘The Killing Number’. The youngest of the lot Kaal Bhairav ended the day with their ‘Screaming Angels’ and ‘Rays of Kaal Bhairav’.
Most of the bands took more than slotted time for them. According to organizers, each band will be given only eight minutes for two original songs in the grand finale in London. The winner, according to organizers, was selected with 60 per cent score with the judge marking in the final performance while sms voting accounted for the rest 40 per cent.
Kaal Bhairav got the most votes in sms but failed to impress the judges in the live round. According to judges -- who came from music and media background, the five categories for judging criteria were originality, stage presence, time management, sounds and band chemistry.
E.quals is a proper metal rock group formed just for this competition. Originally known as Vhumi with vocalist Avisekh KC borrowed from Lost Oblivion (and formerly Morgoth), the band is already a super trooper in the underground metal music scene.
Including Nepal, 44 bands from around the world will be competing against each other for the coveted position of world’s best new band of 2009 in Scala, London. The champion for the world category will walk home with an attractive prize of US$100,000, a special gold ‘Best New Band in the World’ statue, and an album followed by a world tour.
The Global Battle of the Bands, touted as the biggest international music challenge, is an international music competition, where bands from as many as 44 countries compete in original live music performance. It was held for the first time in 2003. The competition holds two rules only: no cover songs and no pre-recorded tunes. There is no music genres defined during the grand finale and the final participant can sing in any language of any compositions.
Previous winners have been Spanish indie band Second in 2004, Irish band Kopek in 2005, US Alternative/Hip Hop band Heavy Mojo in 2006, Faroese Boys In A Band (Faroe Island) in 2007 and English band Floors and Walls in 2008. This year, the judges will include Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock.