Over the past couple of years, Baybeats has been a festival that I have eagerly looked forward to, especially with the increasing presence of metal, extreme or traditional bands in this free, local alternative music festival. This year sees Rudra back once again, taking the main stage on Friday night, the second time in three years headlining the first night of the festival to kick off this 3 day celebration of good music and fun.
Apart from the fact that they are probably the extreme metal band that has played the most on this annual festival, this year’s performance marks another milestone in the band’s career. Formed all the way back in 1992, 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the band. And to celebrate this landmark event, Rudra has put in place numerous surprises in their Baybeats set for fans of extreme metal for the night.
As the band began setting up for their set at 9pm. half an hour before their set was scheduled to start, a crowd was starting to form, and as the first riffs for their sound check rang out, chants of the band name resounded throughout the area, displaying the enthusiasm and excitement that is in the air. After a long and anxious wait, the band finally kicked off their set at 9.30pm, with the first single off their newest album, Brahmavidya: Immortal I, entitled Now, Therefore… Despite the slight technical difficulties that were encountered by band mastermind Kathir initially, he took it in stride, and the years of experience on the road and on stage were evident.
This being the band’s celebration for their 20th anniversary, the set list contained songs that were taken from their entire discography. Right after opening Now, Therefore…, the band immediately broke into crowd-pleaser Aryaputra, and hair started flailing and mosh pits ensued. Throughout the set it was classics after classics, including tracks like Rudrapatni and Justified Aggression. In between songs frontman Kathir even made a couple of remarks regarding a certain China Wine, to the cheers from the fans of the crowd, with even the security guys laughing along.
Rudra finally closed their set with the crowd favourite, The Pathless Path to the Knowable Unknown, resulting in some of the harshest and most violently fun pit of the night. While it was overall a rather short set, the professionalism and musicianship displayed by the band had certainly made the set one that was extremely enjoyable and appreciated by the crowd.
Sunday saw home-grown heavy metal band, Cockpit take the stage. The last time that I caught them was at their Baybeats performance 2 years ago, with this year marking their return to the stage at this festival, and boy, they have certainly not lost the charm that made them such a fun and lovable band in the first place.
In their candid fashion, the band opens the set with an introductory track, with the lyrics being simply chants of “Cockpit”, before vocalist Johnny Danger makes a quick introduction to the band, reminding the audience that the band that stands before them are the chosen ones by the gods of heavy metal, as they break into their first track, Gods of Metal. The stage presence of the band was amazing, as guitarist Psyence Fyktion constantly going to the front of the stage to give the audience (and the photographers) a better view of his lead-playing, and the harmonised twin lead guitars.
In between tracks the band even broke into a “tuning song”, where guitarists Psyence Fyktion and Johnny Danger took a short break to tune their guitars and bassmaster Sludge entertained the crowd, interacting with the audience and giving out free Cockpit stickers. Right before closing track, the crowd favourite Crystal Ball, drummer The Collapse of Uncertainty ran off-stage to grab two crystal balls (geeky indeed!), which were thrown into the crowd in the middle of the track, further increasing that sense of entertainment and fun that the band has. Some other interesting points for Cockpit‘s set are the lighted-up picture of a cock in front of Johnny Danger’s mike, blinking according to the rhythm, and the nice Cockpit stand for the synths. And with Crystal Ball, the band ended their set, leaving the audience satisfied yet craving for more at the same time.
Cockpit‘s set at Baybeats has once again reminded the audience why these are the chosen ones by the gods of heavy metal, and was certainly one of the most enjoyable sets for the festival. The good, quality fun that the band evidently had, and the entertainment provided for the audience did nothing to affect the quality of the band’s musical output, and this is certainly a mark of a good band, complete with outstanding showmanship.