We flew for 28 hours to get here all the way from India, and we brought you love.” Those were the first words Vishal Dadlani, lead vocalist of one of India’s biggest rock bands, Pentagram, said when he first took to stage at the One Movement For Music Festival in Perth, Australia, last month.
And after they put up a powerful performance at the two-day festival that featured 80 “export-ready” artistes from across the world, Australia’s returned the love by inviting the Mumbai-based band, which has also played in Glastonbury on the same stage as Coldplay in the past, for a tour early next year.
The success of Pentagram’s show at the festival was acknowledged by Australia’s leading music webzine, fasterlouder.com.au, that posted an article on its website saying, “Pentagram knows how to rock.” The online magazine also went on to liken the rock act “with a killer set of tunes” to one of Australia’s best-known rock bands, Mammal, adding that it managed to get a “call-and-response sing” from the completely Australian crowd, “which is no mean feat.”
“The best thing about the show was that 11 top guys from the events and music business were in the crowd watching us perform,” says Dadlani, adding, “Vijay Nair, our manager, had made a trip beforehand to ensure that industry representatives were watching us, so when we took to stage in the blazing heat to a tired crowd and got them to rock, the industry guys just couldn’t believe it.”
“After the show, industry big wigs came up to me and said two things: ‘We can’t believe India has such great music’ and ‘You should lose weight’,” jokes Dadlani. “But yeah, we immediately landed five-six gigs in both Australia and New Zealand in January next year, and there are talks of more going on.”
Though the band played in Australia on Diwali last month — at a time when racial tensions between Australia and India had reached a boiling point – the rocker, who also doubles up as a film music composer with Shekhar Ravjiani as the duo Vishal-Shekhar, found Aussies to be “some of the friendliest people” he’s met.
“There are good areas and there are bad areas in every country,” Dadlani states. “For whatever it’s worth, we didn’t find them racist at all. Music connects people across the world, and hopefully, we managed to bridge some divides with our music as well.” Back in India, Pentagram is now working intensely to finish its fourth studio album, that’s been two years in the making. Currently untitled, the album will feature seven songs, the scratches of which are ready. The final production of the songs will happen over the next few months, and the band plans to release the album by March 2010.