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While the battle for the best band rages on, the competition has just become a lot more intense since Pepsi Battle of the Bands has selected their top 8 bands. Yes, that came as a surprise to us as well because originally we were all told that the competition would be selecting the top 6 bands that would compete in the final rounds. But after watching the second episode of the show, we’ve discovered that there will be 8 bands that will be competing in the final rounds and the judges had to fight hard for this to happen. “We had to make some tough decisions in order to increase the number from 6 to 8,” shared Meesha Shafi at the end of the episode.

We were first introduced to a few new bands this episode. Ehl-e-Rock came in with a lot of personality and sang an original composition called ‘Junoon‘. Fawad Khan loved their bass guitarist. The second band was Khamaaj, which sang a beautifully written original, ‘Bezubaan‘. The band’s sound was very mature and they were allowed to go to the elimination rounds. Nafs, despite having great texture in their vocals, was sent home and Badnaam had everyone on the edge of their seats. “This is the first time that I’ve called a band excellent,” remarked Farooq Ahmed after the band performed their rendition of ‘Alif Allah‘.

Other popular indie bands like Sikander Ka Mandar made it through while E-Sharp also impressed the judges with a very memorable original track, ‘Chaahy Sau Saal‘. Dervesh, a 10 man ensemble, shared that EP had really inspired them, to which Fawad joked, “We inspired you so much that you went from 8 to 10!”

Finally, the elimination rounds were held in which 8 bands made it through. Badnaam, Roots, Kashmir, Madlock, Aura, Pindi Boys, Shajr and Dervesh. The judges had originally selected Positive to be part of the competition as well but the band showed up to the elimination round with one less band member. “He’s not a permanent member of the band, he plays with us occasionally,” shared the lead vocalist. Because of this technicality, the judges were forced to disqualify the band.

Of course, the end of auditions means the end of Farooq Ahmed’s journey as a guest judge on the show. But he didn’t leave without first gracing the stage with his band, Aaroh and delivering a power-packed performance of their hit song, ‘Raag Neela‘. After watching Farooq effortlessly perform on stage, one wishes and hopes to see the selected bands also reach this level of comfort and finesse once the competition is over.

Pepsi Battle of the Bands

Aaroh took the stage to perform ‘Raag Neela’ at the end of the episode.

The greatest thing about Pepsi Battle of the Bands is that no matter who wins, the other competing bands will all get the exposure and training that’s needed to give a good push to revive Pakistan’s music industry. We won’t have just one great band, but 8 bands to choose from once the competition is over.

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