After being in the offing for the past three months, Mumbai’s only music festival, Independence Rock (I Rock), has finally got a date. To be held on December 5, the oldest annual rock show in Mumbai will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. Although music fans are heaving a sigh of relief, I Rock regulars may still be skeptical of the scaled down and much-delayed concert.
But co-organiser Anuj Gupta defends the festival, saying that this year’s ‘free’ gig is more a tribute to the bands of the city. “We will have one day of typically city bands who have been playing around the place for years. Lot of these acts will bring nostalgia and we are also showcasing the best of talent the city has scene. Hence the gig is for free in its 25th year. We are saluting the local talent,” says Gupta.
The line-up will hence feature metal heads like Scribe, Bhayanak Maut and Demonic Ressurection, who have been the city’s top bands for the past five years. Bands like Pralay (then known as Greek), who were regulars at I Rock concerts back in the ’90s, will be making their big-stage comebacks this year.
The recently reunited Indus Creed will be headlining the gig. Chandresh Kudwa, Dhruv Ghanekar and Ravi Iyer will be performing a 30-minute guitar jam called Axetortion. I Rock will also feature musicians like Loy Mendonsa, Ehsaan Noorani, Warren Mendonsa, Farhad Wadia, Sidd Coutto and various others who have all performed at Independence Rock in its earliest years, jamming together on stage. Their set will comprise of many one-night-only collaborations.
As a standalone gig, the night seems fairly promising. But the spirit of competition, which was the original format of I-Rock, will be missing. Also, the Independence sentiment – the festival is held around Independence Day every year – is somewhat misplaced.
“We have been struggling with putting
together this year, yes, but this is the best way to celebrate its 25th year,” says Gupta.
Bollywood film composer Loy Mendonsa is also excited. “Warren is my nephew, so when the chance to play live with him came up, I realised I could do it. I had a free schedule that time and it seemed exciting. Ehsaan (Noorani) was in a band called Crosswinds long time back and this would be a great rock gig to play,” says Mendonsa.