Sunday, 11 November 2007

TNL Onstage - The Finals

Onstage comes but once a year. Some say it's a good thing. But it's definitely a great platform for young and emerging musicians to get out and play in front of which was probably the biggest audience you get at a gig out here. Last night were the finals; 6 bands, 6 solo artistes and 4 from the hip hop and rnb category made it. I'd say there were roughly around a thousand people there, maybe more. However, I made the mistake of thinking that this year will be pretty much like last year where it started 2 hours late, the changes between the acts dragged on and it finished at 5am! So by the time I managed to get to the Convention Centre, Thriloka had already finished their opening act, which was a real bummer for I really wanted to see them! TNL had got their act together this time and started sharp at 9pm, and I must add the show was slick!

The stage was magnificent and was made up of probably the best lighting system I've seen at a local venue. The hall was decorated in black tapestries on which there were tiny lights which gave the effect of the night sky, but not so well. There were 2 drum kits on stage, instead of one, which was a great move, and helped reduce the loss of time between the acts! TNL also mixed in the order of performers so that the bands, solo singers and hip hop artistes were playing in random order. Last year the solo singers went first, then the bands. By the time the bands came on last year, everyone had left. So kudos to TNL.

I walked in to the sounds of S.A.M. (which stands for, believe it or not, Surface to Air Missiles!) who play a John Mayerish groove. They did an original of theirs and then did a medley of covers which included a bit of Cannonball, Calabria and ended When the Sun Goes Down (Arctic Monkeys). They were super! I had only been there 5 mins but I was jumping around. However, I still think their name doesn't match their genre.

Gray Mind Domain played a cover of Eric Clapton's Layla, but they failed to impress. It was just another cliche-ic rock band with nothing new about them. Merlock were technically sound, but a tad too heavy for my liking cause I'm not a death metal fan. But they were good in what they did. Could've had better vocals though. Wagon Park played a killer version of Comfortably Numb, and they looked the part of stoner rockers! Icarus started with Snow Patrol's run, which lacked oomph and zest. But their second song was brilliant, and it was an original! I could not understand why they did not play both originals, they would've had a better chance of winning. Hollow was the last band, again a little too heavy for my liking but boy were they good! Their drummer was off the hook! The guitarists had a great understanding and played great licks and leads and combined together very very well! They played The Final Countdown and that just blew the roof! However, being heavily influenced by my musical taste, my favourites were S.A.M. They need a new name though. Did I say that before?

Most of the soloists were nothing much to talk about. But Mariam, who opened by dedicating her first song to the late Ruwani Seimon, was great! She had lots of stage personality and, by the end of it, plenty of young male fans thanks to her gyrating grooves with an umbrella! CC, who was a classmate at school, brought with him a refreshing energy to his performance, which most of the others lacked. I have never seen him sing like he did last night and everyone was stunned! Two thumbs up!

Their were two hip hop groups, Dirty 4 Four and Nouty Coast (sic), who were quite good. The others didn't deserve a mention.

So any guesses for who took it away last night?

Well, I really can't remember who took the hip hop category, but it was one of those two groups. Wow, aren't I helpful!!!

Mariam was the first runner up of the Solo category and CC took away the honours for his scintillating performance! Great work! I hope we'll see more of the two of them!

In the band category, Merlock emerged runners up. The winners for 2007 are Hollow. Doesn't my opinion count though? Maybe it was the name.

Link here for pictures posted by Shehal.

23 musings:

Kaiser Kobayashi said...

Ria (mariam) didnt win??? :s after singing umbrella ella ella hey hey!!! Grrrrrr!!! well i didnt hear CC at the finals but he was pretty damn good at the semi's
Listen to Mariam on the Onstage CD...shes absolutely awesome...*sigh* why didnt Ria win?!?!? *aiyo* the girl can dance also...and it wasnt grating OK!!! :p

(Yes i'm in love with her too) :p :p

you came and avoided Kaiser no? evilevil!!!

Kaiser Kobayashi said...

HERE!!! your a liar!!! :p hehe Ria Dedicated her SECOND song to Aunty Ru, the first was Roxanne, second was every breath you take - both by the police and then Whiya-baby sang Umbrella ella ella hey hey!!! :p So so so did you here her on the CD?!?! swept away ;) heheh

Kaiser Kobayashi said...


The missing 'y' you complained about!

Theena said...

I usually stay well away from TNL events, but turned up to the semis to support Merlock. Easily the best band in running this year. They aren't death metal though.

The less said about Icarus the better.

shehal said...

dude you can post my pics
...with a link to my site :)

Confab said...

KK - her first song was like 30 seconds or something, so i thought it was a sound check. oh well:) thanks.

Theena, merlock was good, but the vocals sounded like a boy who was trying to crack his voice. Mate, i know u like metal, but try and see bands such as icarus objectively for the technical aspect of their playing. Their original was great! You can't forget the fact that they walked away with 25k for the Sprite Theme song either.

Shehal - thanks for the permission! will get cracking on it. Currently a lil lazy though. hehe

Theena said...


I know what you mean by Merlock's vocals. The kid is working on it and he has improved. He's got a long way to go, but he's on the right path. Besides, his band is tight and Crimson Skies, their original, has a brilliant arrangement towards the end.

Confab, for a guy who loves his metal my favourite record is a folk record featuring nothing more than a guy and his guitar :)

Yes, I love my metal, but I love music as a whole to dismiss a band just because they aren't metal enough. My main gripe with Icarus is that I could hear similar composition anytime I tune into MTV or TNL. The same old chord progressions, cliched arrangements, melodies that make you go, "Now where have I heard that before?"

Theena said...

* featuring nothing more than a guy and his classical guitar.

Confab said...

in all fairness, there are only that many chord progressions in the world. but ur right abt the fact that they need to create a sound that's a lil more distinctive.

however, i'd say the same about merlock. i was actually gonna do a post abt it after i heard them on tnl. the arrangement of crimson skies is very very ordinary and very common. there's nothing that'll make me think "wow these guys are different" for if i listen to another metal band of their standard in sri lanka, they'd probably have a very similar sounding song. i'd even go to the extent of saying crimson skies encompasses the general cliche that surrounds metal. includes all the elements : talks abt slavery, has a heavy riff that changes by half a step every 2-3 bars, describes the sky. merlock were undoubtedly better than icarus. but where've i heard all that before?

Theena said...

"in all fairness, there are only that many chord progressions in the world."

But enough chords exist to do something besides I - vi - IV - V or I - V - vi - IV. Not to mention the sheer possibilities that exist if you – gasp! - change the chord voicings a bit.

As for Merlock's song and the lyrics, I could go on about how language and music being two completely different forms. That, though, is another debate for another day.

For the time being, I'll just say this: the only time I even consider the lyrics is when the music is, shall we say, simplistic. Dylan's lyrics worked because the arrangements were simple, allowing his voice and lyrics to come to the forefront of the song. And that is another issue I have with Icarus' music; since you are on about lyrics, what, pray tell, is so original about Icarus' lyrics?

If the music is complex (though I am not saying music has to be complex for the sake of complexity; again, another topic all together) featuring out of the box arrangements, musicianship, etc then, as far as I am concerned, they (the musicians) have done their job. It'll be unfair to hope that in addition to having insane musical gifts they should be employing a poet laureate as their main song writer. Of course, if the lyricist of such band happens to be a gifted wordsmith that is a bonus for us all. Refer my earlier post about guy and classical guitar: the album is Pink Moon, the artist is Nick Drake in case you are wondering.

I hope that I didn't make it sound like Crimson Skies was the very apex of metal songwriting. It's good for what it is and placed in context, is better than what Icarus could cook up anyday. That said, Merlock are not even close to the kind of songwriting that cutting edge metal bands are composing these days.

Confab said...

mate, melody and lyrics go hand in hand to create music, if both are included in a song. if u take an instrumental band, like thriloka, then lyrics have no influence on the music. but u can't say u consider lyrics only on certain occasions. that's like saying u watch movies, but u only bother with what their saying at certain times.

i'm not dissing either band. i'm saying that they both did well. but u have to try to understand that the type of music icarus plays does not involve complex chord progressions. snow patrol, the wallflowers, switchfoot, dashboard confessional, bob dylan, nirvana are all cases in point. just coz they arent complex doesn't mean they aren't good. and to be very fair by icarus, the second song they performed at the finals was quite unique in it's own way.

my argument is this. don't be critical just coz they don't float ur boat. merlock may not float mine, but i'm highly taken up by their performance. the same goes for icarus. if i don't like the genre, i'd still appreciate the work they put in. it's like being race-oriented: u need to understand where they are coming from, rather than putting them down for not going ur way. this is their type of music, not urs.

MBK said...

the judges did make the right decision, Hollows and CC were the best out of all the rest. mariam's version of erase and rewind found on the tnl cd was nice - if she sang that she would have won. anyway, be prepared, next year, mountbigk will participate.

Theena said...

"that's like saying u watch movies, but u only bother with what their saying at certain times. "

Not really. Language is necessary for the narrative of theatre/drama to progress. Music doesn't need language.

I am not critical of bands that don't float my boat. There are plenty of bands that I don't listen to that I respect the hell out of. REM for instance. They don't play the most complex music in the world either.

Heh, this debate wouldn't have come about if you hadn't asked me to objectively examine the technical aspect of their playing :)

Confab said...

instrumental music doesnt need language. but music that incorporates language, incorporates language for a reason. u can't listen to music and say the language doesnt count. where there are words, it is part of the song. ur right, music doesn't need language. but if it's there, it's there for a reason.

the technical aspect of their playing was sound. actually all the bands that played in the finals were sound. i was amazed, coz generally u get one or two bands that are rubbish. but the technical aspect, to me at least, is knowing the type of music ur playing. and if 3 chord indie rock is the type of music, then that's as technical as they need to be:)'s not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

omg i didnt know this was a huuge debate:O

Anonymous said... thing...ppl if u dnt know shit abt music-Dont COMMENT!! cause if u knew, u shud know that nearly all soloists this time round were OFF! basically there singing was flat most of the time!!! only the guy who won was on pitch though his choice of songs were shit...choosing my immortal is a No No! wat is all this crap abt a freaking recording whoever did...the only reason it sounds good is becos Ranil is one of the best producers in SL at the moment and he knows his shit..whoever knows a shit abt recording these days know that anyone who cant even sing can record and just put a pitch corrector to fix his/her voice! how do u think paris hilton released a CD? hehe! u hear the pitch correctors in just abt any local hip hop recording in Sl at the moment...some soloists in the onstage CD have fixed there voice, anyone who knows what 'antares' is knows how to recognise the effect!! including mariam or whoever, lakmal and even kushal! so pls grow up!

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