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Pepsi Battle of the Bands kicked off its third season with a bang. We can credit this platform for introducing us to some of Pakistan’s most iconic bands, like Aaroh and Entity Paradigm (EP), in Season 1 almost a decade ago; its second season gave us bands like Kashmir and Badnaam , which have gained mass popularity over the last one year.

Last week, the BOB Season 3 promo got much deserved attention for giving us an iconic mashup of Strings’ 2003 hit ‘Hai Koi Hum Jaisa’, giving us all a reason to reminisce the good old days of college and our passion for Pakistani pop bands.The mashup became more dynamic with voices like that of Meesha Shafi and Fawad Khan, if we may add. Shahi Hasan, who was among the judges in the previous season, produced this year’s season.


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The first episode of Bob 2018, which aired on Sunday, restored our faith in our local talent and how a platform like Pepsi can really help them refine the craft. A total of nine bands were shortlisted for the competition where we saw a variety of bands like Xarb, Tamaasha, I.F.R.A, Dhool, Aag, Khamaj, Ehl-e-Rock, Estraplock and Sarmasta, all of who were confident and seemed in great spirits as they performed. And unlike some popular reality shows, the judges on BoB – Farooq Ahmed, Meesha Shafi and Fawad Khan – were appreciative of the bands’ efforts and expressed their views in a way which only boosted their morale instead of tearing them down. Let’s just say there is no Simon Cowell on this panel.


Bands like Tamaasha chose to do a rendition of already popular songs like ‘Raag Neela’ (Aaroh) which got a standing ovation from the original singer himself.  Xarb, comprising 5 band members gave a unique touch to ‘Tashnagi’ – a qawwali by Sabri Brothers which also left the judges in awe. Meanwhile, some bands chose to present original tracks of their own, which were commendable and won a lot of praise. One such was a band hailing from Faisalabad called I.F.R.A which comprised a trio of siblings in a band and their song ‘Balliya’ sung by their female lead that exuded great energy packed with strong vocals. Another band Dhool from Rawalpindi wowed us with their performance by recomposing ‘Nukta’ – a Bulleh Shah kalam and giving it their unique personalised touch which worked for them and the judges on the panel. 

For us, the highlight was the band Khamaj, who sang a beautifully composed classical song of their own and managed to win hearts of the judges with their performance. Overall most bands managed to impress equally, in different ways of their skill, and we were just happy to see such a platform promoting local musicians and reviving the band culture again. We’re looking forward to Episode 2 and many more bands that will feature in it.

Here’s the complete episode:



Let us know what you thought of the first episode of Pepsi BoB.