Before mobile phones, laptops and social media, it was music that brought us all together. The times when the love for music united people is now very uncommon, and the days of playing Antakshari with your family and friends to pass the time, instead of burying your head in your phone, are long gone.
Music has been one of the most enjoyable and much loved aspects to come out of Pakistan. It was an insightful, beautiful and simplistic concept that all could relate to. The country thrived as it generated all kinds of music, ranging from Pop, Cultural, Sufism, and Soul. However, what stood out most of all was The Pop Rock Culture, specially during the mid to early 90’s Band Culture.
If your dad didn’t drive you to school without a Vital Signs song on in the car during the way, you’re kidding yourself. The band was insanely popular and people used to play their music on reapet. These trailblazers of the Band Culture wow’d us with their soulful beautiful mixture of soft music, with the Late Junaid Jamshed being the genius that he was. You always had the Aitebaar that they would deliver and they didn’t disappoint.
Junoon was another memorable name that everyone would rock out too, with Ali Azmat leading the band as the vocalist and 19 albums under their belt. Awaz was another name that influenced the ‘boy band’ culture, everything they released was a hit and even after their breakup in 1999 they still managed to pull off fantastic careers for themselves as solo artists (Haroon Rashid, Faakhir and Asad Ahmed). Strings, Fuzon, Noori and Jal were other well-known bands who contributed to this sudden rise in band culture, and just like that Pakistan had young aspiring talented musicians that would be making masterpieces long into their careers.
Then slowly but surely, the culture that at the time no one thought would ever end began to die down. These established bands didn’t release much and eventually either broke up or went their separate ways. With its fall, audiences began to focus towards Bollywood produced songs or turned their attention towards Western music, adopting the MTV culture. Slowly, local concerts began to disappear from calendars, the members of well-known bands began to look into solo careers and the media didn’t give them the support that they deserved. It looked like the end of an era for rock and roll music brought up by a group of young aspiring musicians.
Enter Pepsi Battle of the Bands. PepsiCo Pakistan took it upon themselves to bring back to life this Band Culture we all once knew. The first show of its kind to give a group of young musicians the platform, the support and the guidance to succeed at the very top of the industry, the show has been a launching pad for some of modern Pakistan’s newest and well known bands.
The wait is finally over, as last year when Pepsi Battle of the Bands came back and was bigger than ever. It also marked the return of Fawad Khan to music scene and again the amateur bands in Pakistan were provided with a platform where they can showcase their talents like Kashmir, the winner of BoB 2017, and Badnaam, the runner-up, recently have.
With this amazing development for the betterment of the musical industry, there’s hope for the band culture in Pakistan yet, and especially with Pepsi Battle of the Bands at the front of this revolution, we can be hopeful that we will not only be able to see the revival of the band culture in the country but also witness some incredibly talented bands being launched through this platform in the days to come.