GIG REVIEW: INTRONAUT Live at Pravega Pronites, IISc Bangalore
Sairaj R Kamath
One phenomenon in our music scene that would sound almost alien to our worldwide neighbours is International bands performing in college fests. Every university with the words ‘Indian Institute’ in its name seems to have the dough to bring over Premier talent in Rock and Metal – whether it be Mike Portnoy at IIT-Bombay’s Mood Indigo, Katatonia at IIT-Chennai’s Saarang, or in our latest case today, Intronaut at IISc-Bangalore’s Pravega Fest. Here’s a look at how the Los Angeles proggers’ second outing in India panned out.
Intronaut’s set on January 21st was actually one among multiple performances in Pravega’s Pronites event that week. The night started off with a set by acoustic guitarist Dhruv Visvanath to an admittedly less-than-stellar audience. Dhruv however won over the crowd with his strumming gymnastics, and a charming self-awareness of being the only nominal ‘non-Metal’ act that night. Before long, the multi-instrumentalist had the audience bobbing their heads and waving their hands to his laid-back yet cheerful music.
However, where Dhruv Visvanath showed control and restraint, the next act Switcheroo displayed the exact opposite – loud Alt-metal music, energetic movements, and a cockiness to match that of Fred Durst in the late 90s. Indeed, this was a band that channeled the fun, Limp Bizkit-esque side of metal, made all the more obvious by their BANGING cover of “Break Stuff”. Switcheroo got the crowd (especially on stage right) jumping and grooving to their music, and shouting for an encore at the end of their set. The group gladly obliged with another classic rap-metal number – “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine!
Switcheroo sufficiently warmed up the audience for the main event – the returning Intronaut. Fans and casuals alike we hooked from the first notes of their most recent album ‘The Direction of Last Things’, of which they played favourites such as “Digital Gerrymandering” and “City of Hymnals”. The prog-metallers made sure to dig deep into their discography for the fans though, even going as far back as 2008’s ‘Prehistoricisms’. Intronaut played with aplomb and were in full control throughout their set – well, almost.
Guitarist Dave Timnick was unfortunately interrupted by multiple sound issues in the midst of quite a few songs in the set. Being the consummate pros they were, Intronaut continued to play while the sound staff did their best to attend to Timnick’s amps; but there was no taking away from the fact that a few choice songs were left lacking due to his guitar’s absence. The band and sound fortunately recovered from this mishap in time to close their set with monster numbers such as “Core Relations” and “The Literal Black Cloud”.
Bottom line – Intronaut’s performance at Pravega was a good homecoming show that was prevented from being great by technical glitches. Nonetheless, their bill with Switcheroo and Dhruv Visvanath sufficiently entertained the Metal and home crowds alike. Suffice it to say that the reputation of college fests in showcasing musical talent is safe for now – provided that properties like Mood Indigo don’t drop the ball like last year.