KARACHI: With the top eight bands already selected, the time has come for them to battle it out on the ‘Pepsi Battle of the Bands’ stage. The third episode, which aired this weekend, saw Strings finally band join Fawad Khan and Meesha Shafi as part of the jury.
But before that, they performed two of their great hits: Na Janay Kyun and Mera Bichra Yaar early on. The band, which has been mesmerising Pakistan and the world for 30 years now, are still going strong and not to be left behind. They have also been releasing tracks from their latest album 30, which marks three decades of success.
Further, comedian-actor and former EP band-member Ahmed Ali Butt joined Ayesha Omar as the co-host of the show from this episode onward. The chosen theme was ‘retro’ which urged the participants to perform old songs in a new manner.
With two bands set to be eliminated by the end, the episode began with a performance by Sarmasta.
1. Sarmasta performed ‘Kuch Ladkiyan’ by Sajjad Ali
Overall, the jury enjoyed the performance but thought it fell flat and didn’t have enough energy. Khan aptly stated that the sound could have been more innovative.
2. Déjà vu performed ‘Purani Jeans’ by Ali Haider
The same issue plagued this performance too as the judges were of the view that the band’s presence and energy was not there. Faisal Kapadia even went as far as to say they enjoyed the performances more with their eyes closed because there wasn’t much activity on the stage. However, they appreciated the sound and band-mate Aamir’s innovative trumpet playing.
3. Tamaasha performed ‘Sajna’ by Junoon
Remember Tamaasha received a standing ovation in the auditions rounds? Yeah, they received another one on Saturday night. The performance left Khan speechless. In fact, he told vocalist Bilal that he hadn’t heard a better vocalist in terms of voice and performance, since Ali Azmat. With their massive presence, pitch perfect sound and blow-the-roof-off energy, is it too early to proclaim Tamaasha as possibly the unofficial winners of this season?
4. Khamaaj performed ‘Dekha Na Tha’ by Alamgir
The judges believed the song structure lacked a natural progression and thus, felt forced, leaving much more to be desired.
5. 21 the band performed ‘In Se Nain’ by Najam Sheraz
21 The Band left the jury with mixed opinions. Overall, they felt disappointed as they thought the band had potential but couldn’t do justice to the song by slightly changing the words, and not projecting their signature punk rock feel correctly.
6. Xarb performed ‘Dam Mast Qalandar’ by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Xarb earned the second standing ovation of the night. It’s definitely a challenge to pull off one of the most iconic qawwalis on stage but this band managed to do it with utter brilliance. Khan liked the simplicity of their music while Bilal Maqsood said he saw Xarb as one of the eventual top two finalists. The jury appreciated the act that the band didn’t try to show off their individual talent and worked within the arrangement of the song.
7. Kaghaz performed Nazia Hassan’s ‘Disco Deewane’
Shafi enjoyed the performance and said that while several tried to show different sides of their music and failed, Kaghaz succeeded by keeping the vintage touch of the original song but innovating it at the same time. Kapadia stated that while he initially didn’t expect much from the band and thought they would be eliminated in the first episode, he was pleasantly surprised. He added that the performance was “perfect to the T.”
Khan was of the opinion that when people cover Nazia and Zoheb Hassan’s songs, they aren’t successful. But because Xarb did it well, deserved a standing ovation. Maqsood thought the vocals could have been better but enjoyed the performance nonetheless.
8. Bayaan performed ‘Intiha-e-Shauq’ by Hadiqa Kiani
The judges were quite critical of the performance, pointing out several mistakes, including the song choice which didn’t go down well. However, Khan said it was a brave attempt and could have been great with minor tweaks in the instrumentation and scale.
The episode concluded with two bands being eliminated. The first to leave was Khamaaj, who ended their journey much sooner than expected, considering it was their second time participating in the show. Bayaan and Sarmasta faced off in the danger zone and Bayaan came out as the survivor.
After the first round of eliminations, six bands will go on to compete in episode four.
Watch the episode here:
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