As in each year, IIT-B managed to get a premier niche band, Katatonia, to perform for Mood-I this year as well. And, as in each year, IIT-B managed to let the general crowd in after the first band, Abraxas, had finished their set yet again. Abraxas was the eventual winner of the Livewire competition which also had Goddess Gagged, Purple Asparagus and Guillotine in contention. All these bands were allowed to play a very short set, which didnt allow us to judge their performance too well.
The old stalwarts of Indian Rock, Indus Creed, were up next with a new bassist, Rushad Mistry (of Agnee) and a new drummer, the excellent and prolific Jai Row Kavi (ex-Agnee, ex-Pin Drop Violence, ex-Helgas Fun Castle, Tough on Tobacco, ex-Bhayanak Maut). They played an hour-long set containing a mixture of old favorite tracks like ‘Rock & Roll Renegade’, ‘Pretty Child’ and ‘Top of the Rock’, in addition to some new tracks. In the entire set, it was very evident that the old guard (Uday Benegal, Mahesh Tinaikar and Zubin Balaporia) had lost none of its edge and did an excellent job of connecting with the crowd. Zubins and Maheshs intermingling solos with their respective instruments were particularly delightful. It was really heartening to see a nearly 3-decades old band truly enjoying themselves and rocking it out on stage like teenagers.
With the exit of Indus Creed to a thundering applause, a palpable pall of chill & doom descended and an almost tangible cord of tension was felt running through the expectant crowd. Katatonia took their time to arrive on stage, but when they did, they did with an explosion of ‘Day & Then The Shade’, which was quickly followed by ‘Liberation and My Twin’. They didnt waste time belting out a mindblowing 17 track assault which spanned a rapturous 1.5 hrs.
The set seemed like Katatonias Best Of compilation with tracks from The Great Cold Distance, Viva Emptiness and Night Is The New Day. They played Viva Emptiness almost in its entirety, and its my most favorite Katatonia album! The tracks ‘July’ and ‘Teargas’ got the most crowd response, and it was quite interesting to see females in the crowd moshing about. The sound of the entire show was impeccable, the crushing downtuned guitars rooting all of us in our places, and Oh!, the mournful, soulful vocals of Jonas Renske! The vocals of Renske need a special mention. They were like aurora borealis floating and shimmering over a tumultuous ocean of thundering riffs.
Katatonia ended their set with ‘July’, ‘Forsaker’ and ‘Leaders’ and caught a glimpse of my friend and saw him actually weeping. That was effect Katatonia had on the crowd. A thoroughly professional and mesmerizing performance by Katatonia, made even more praise-worthy by the fact that they played 6 gigs in 9 days. Their No Sleep Till Tour 2010 actually lived up to its name.
Those who missed the gig, I can only feel sad for you, because you missed something which I dont think you will experience again. Even if Katatonia comes back to India, I dont think they will play a 1.5 hrs set.