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Pepsi Battle of Bands kicked off this evening and while it isn’t the first platform to shine a beacon on budding musicians in the country, it is the first of its kind in over a decade. BOTB reprises the old format and picks up where it left 15 years ago.

Here’s what we loved about the show, from what we’ve seen so far…


1. HOPE: Where there’s music, there’s hope


This band called Positive had soul.

There are kids in Pakistan who are dedicated to making music; that’s kind of cool and allows you to feel that despite the dark and ominous odds, there is hope out there. This may sound like a cliché but the fact that the youth is channeling its energies into making music and now is being recognized for it is kind of amazing.

2. ENCOURAGEMENT: The judges are more mentor than tormentor


 People were expecting at least one judge to channel meanness in a Simon Cowell avatar but thankfully, the panel was not wannabe Idol. We actually loved the fact that the critique was constructive and positive and while not everyone got a straight up approval, even those who failed were let off gently.


3. RESPECT: The contestants are not ridiculed


Naksh sang ‘Bolo Bolo’ and we loved the female vocalist.

We also loved the fact that contestants were in no way belittled or ridiculed, as often is the case in reality shows, where participants and their back stories are mocked for the sake of ratings.


4. STYLE: There’s a definite style factor prevalent in the program


Can we just put it on record that Meesha herself – not any stylist – is responsible for her groovy personal style.

 Style and fashion play an undeniably vital role in every musician’s life and while some bands were pretty basic, there were some who had memorable personas. Wes, from a band named Kashmir, instantly gave a Slash vibe whereas all three band members from Madlock had an inbuilt cool factor.

The judges were well dressed and Fawad stuck to his signature Republic wardrobe but it was definitely Meesha Shafi with her Kiran Aman accessories (we noticed!) and unique style that set her apart. All in all, there was an urban chic vibe happening on the Pepsi BOTB stage and we loved it!


5. MUSIC: And finally, the bands we’d love to see more of…


Our favourite band of the day, Madlock came wearing their own merchandise. A Madlock tee…anyone?

Around 10 bands were introduced and these are our favourites. Not all of them will make it to the top 6 but they are strongly in the running: Naksh (a super strong vocalist), Positive, who Fawad said had ‘soul’, Kashmir who were energetic as an ensemble, Madlock (who have our vote of approval) for their rock vibe and OB Positive because they absolutely nailed their cover of ‘Aitebar’.

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