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One thing can be said about this year’s TNL Onstage – there’s been a lot of feedback. Not from performers or members of the audience, but the sound technicians. They apparently loved the music so much they couldn’t help adding their own sounds to the bands’ and one found nearly each and every competitor’s performance subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) punctuated by squeals and screeches of the amplifiers’ production.
Not surprising though, considering the fact that the bands (including finalists Cord of Major, Zilch, White Living Grave, CryWolf, Roadkill and Ethereal) seemed to be a notch above most of the solo semi-finalists in terms of performance standards. It must of course be added that having a team on stage is a much more comforting situation to be in as opposed to being ‘alone’ on it, considering especially the hard-to-get characteristic of the mixed (and as the comperes found it important to note, “good looking”) audience the competitors have to face.
Acid, thanks to vocalist Dinith’s relaxed and easy style was the only band able to turn attention on the audience. But it was evident that with spending precious time tuning guitars only once on stage, Acid didn’t enjoy the performance experience much. Despite having a repertoire that was different to the other bands’ which provided relief from an unvaried (and sometimes repetitive!) line-up of numbers, and having rocked the crowd and won the encore round at the prelis, the boys were just too glum and serious that night to justify entry to the finals.
White Living Grave, Roadkill and Ethereal were unquestionably the show-stealers among the nine semi-finalists, being distinctly more mature (Roadkill was on an average simply taller as well!) and confident in their performances. While all three of these bands were more relaxed and professional in their delivery, it seemed that White Living Grave was the one more aware of its image as a collective entity, their whole performance being unified from the introduction. While most of the other bands were collections of individuals playing instruments together and led by the vocalist, White Living Grave was more a team, with members other than just the vocalist (notably the drummer, Heshan, who also played the thammatama in their original acoustic number ‘Sins of Fire’) laying claim to a ‘voice’ and rapport with the audience.
Lead guitarist for Roadkill, Shamika, was another who apart from vocalist Ryan, communicated with the audience during the performance, alongside bassist Akila. Roadkill was about the only band that came across as confident with quietness, on a night full of loud sounds. Ryan definitely made some memories for the audience with his well-rounded falsetto and a fearless experimental manipulation of his vocal chords.
Ethereal vocalist Hemal’s strong rounded voice was complemented by a notably mature and precise delivery by the instrumentalists, while the band as a whole consistently maintained the quality and balance of their performance. CryWolf too, worked well together, and their original acoustic number ‘The Wind’ displayed their musicality in rhythmic flexibility and a cliff-hanger of an ending.
Chord of Major, too, showed signs of a good musical blend and coordination, but failed to evoke a response from the audience, even while singing Bon Jovi’s ‘I Love This Town’. One may safely predict though, that the audience at the finals will be more in sync with such a sentiment, considering the sensation that “TNL Onstage: Party In The Park” is geared to be. The event will feature a number of established artists that have their roots in TNL Onstage, as well as the twelve finalists for the competition. The show kicks off on the Vihara Maha Devi Park grounds at 5pm on July 30, tickets for which will be available at the TNL Head Office. For more info, call on 011 7777 555 or log onto www.tnlonstage.com.