Lights, cameras, balloons! (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
Hye Won Moon from Biuret croons and smiles all at once (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
Wait for it, YouTube (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
Happy Jackson from Korean band Biuret (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
LRB rocked the crowd right (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
Akshay Chowdhry from Barefaced Liar in the midst of things (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
The crowd grooves with Circus (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
Circus lose themselves to their music. (Photo credit: Kunal Khullar)
The one big advantage The South Asian Bands Festival has, apart from free entry, is its stellar location.
Music created magic yet again at the Purana Qila in New Delhi as four bands from India and her neighbours performed at the fort which holds lore, secrets and history alike within its tough appearance.
As invisible hands set the stage, soft instrumental music set the mood for the night.
Painted in warm shades of red, purple and pink, the stage proudly displayed flags of all the participating South Asian nations set to play during this three-day festival. There were three Tirangas there, of course.
It started with balloons aplenty. Oh joy! And before they could disappear into the vast blackness up above, Barefaced Liar from Delhi jumped right in grabbing every dazed soul's attention.
After playing some of their better known tracks, like the now famous Toe The Line, they called violinist Darshan Singh Sur to belt out some unconventional numbers.
The Liar was followed by popular Bangladeshi band LRB. The men in black announced their intention to burn the stage by shouting, "Burn your shirts!" And burn they did, Bangla music. After a few quick tracks, they forayed into the comforts of Nirvana and the like.
The crowd was cheery, but the fans were not.
Trina Deb, an ardent fan who extended her stay in Delhi to catch LRB, said, "They didn't play half their songs! So disappointing."
They signed off with We Will Rock You, unsurprisingly.
Bhutanese band ZnG was a mix of sugar, spice and everything nice. And rock too. Don't know how they hopped around the stage in those thick national costumes though!
We caught a band member backstage during a quick smoke break.
"Really enjoyed my first experience performing in India," he said.
When asked if he'd been here before, he shared an oft overlooked insight into the life of musicians.
"Oh yes. My day job is that of a travel agent with my dad. Don't look surprised. Bhutan has a really small population, so you can imagine how many people listen to this kind of stuff."
Are Indian bands more privileged then?
I found myself walking away quietly after that humbling exchange.
After a quick backstage interview with Barefaced Liar, we ran out to watch the other Delhi band -- Circus. Due to much dancing and swaying, there seems to be a general lack of notes in my tiny notepad during their performance.
But here's what I remember: BEST THING that happened so far… Wow, FOPS is a popular number… Delhi boys really know how to show it's done! GO CIRCUS!
Yes. Composure. Reload…
The surprise package for the night: Korean band Biuret were entertainers par excellence. Their hair has to be their USP - from Hye Won Moon's (lead singer) shiny long tresses to the rest of the band's bright curly wings, they got their Hairography (ref: Glee) right.
What about their music? As a cynical bystander put it, "Bubblegum rock."
But then if music can make you happy, it's music enough, right? If you were to see the drunk dude in front of us doing a bhangra step to Korean music, you'd agree.
All in all, two words uttered by Biurut's lead guitarist 'Happy Jackson' repeatedly, sum up the night's magic - "Daanyabaad" and "Namastute"!
Watch out NH7, you have competition.
Click here for the SABF 2013 lineup.