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Fireball 2012 at ITA Machkhowa

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Fireball brings about a sense of bonhomie among fans and musicians of the Northeast. I have been stressing more on concerts post the break-down of the fledgling pub scene here, but Fireball is awaited with bated breath by all Northeasterners. Organised by Rockarolla Events, headed by veteran organizer David Koch, Fireball has established itself as one of the premier musical events of the Northeast. Although this year’s Fireball took its time, the spectacle that was held forth was a joy to behold. Marred by Shades of Retribution’s 11th hour pull-out, Fireball saw UK modern-metal act Cypher 16 added to the bill to replace SOR. And boy did they perform incredibly well! Also, in the lead-up to the event, Rockarolla organized a public poll via Facebook to give two of Guwahati’s current top-notch metal bands a.k.a Dark Carnage and Judas Ancestry a chance to perform as well. Due to a really close poll result, which saw over 1600 votes being cast, both the bands were given a slot each instead of having just one band perform as previously planned.

The choice of venue – ITA Machkhowa was a surprising one, considering the fact that there were auditoriums with better acoustics available. Nonetheless, it wasn’t that much of a deterrent. They ticketed the gig (no pass system) and got a loyal crowd. It did Koch and company a world of good by eliminating unnecessary “UN-pleasantries”, which happens sometimes.

Fireball 2012 at ITA Machkhowa

The evening began with promise, with Dark Carnage and Judas Ancestry laying down their best and setting the benchmark for the evening to follow. Shillong boys Midnight Garden Factor followed them with their brand of multi-layer prog-rock. Shades of Retribution was on their second Northeast stint. They delivered a solid set interspersed with material from their latest release – From Mercy.

Fireball 2012 at ITA Machkhowa

Cypher 16 is a band which has toured India relentlessly. However, Fireball proved to be their first foray into Northeast India -and boy did they not disappoint! Fresh from releasing their latest album – The Metaphorical Apocalypse, Cypher 16’s set-list included many tracks from the aforementioned release including the popular ‘Lonely Road’. The big strong outing at their first Northeast show was reciprocated with a great response from the crowd that consisted mostly of 18 year old or under-18 fans.

Fireball 2012 at ITA Machkhowa

In the MTV VMA nominated popular act – Alobo Naga and the Band, the evening found its first ‘mellow’ act. They took to the stage amongst metal-heads and held their ground among them. And what’s more, their performance of ‘The End’, from their EP Painted Dreams, received a smattering of encore shouts. So a special mention goes out to the troupe who deserves a ‘pat on the back’ as a result of their qualifying as one of the frontrunners from the Asia-Africa region.

Fireball 2012 at ITA Machkhowa

Dawn of Demise fulfilled their billing as the headliner to a T. At times, when the vocalist’s stomp-boxes were stomped upon by the legion of headbangers on stage, the band gave the crowd a taste of their version of Death Metal – a whole goddamn slab of it. It was a headbanger’s ball, if I may use the cliché. A friend, sharing an anecdote, told me that the never-ending line of headbangers on stage was a result of guitarist, Martin, getting them back on as soon as they were ushered off stage. The band left the stage, singing off to every call for an encore and delivering possibly a lesson or two in professionalism.

Fireball 2012 at ITA Machkhowa

In a nutshell, it was a gig that left everyone pleased; including, hopefully Rockarolla too. There were no starry airs, everyone afforded a smile including the blokes from Cypher 16 and Dawn of Demise who got deluged with picture and autograph requests. Many of those pictures will most probably end up on Facebook as someone’s DP. For once, music took center-stage. But then, it wasn’t a metal concert was it? Let David-da answer that one!

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Hengul Dutta

Hengul Dutta is a music journalist specializing in Northeast Indian music. His writes in music publications around the country. He also looks at making films and doing cinematography. Beyond that he has an abnormal addiction towards delay pedals which he defends by saying that a procrastinator is nothing without his delays.

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