Local alternative rock group Irtaash launched their much-anticipated album, Kala Safaid Aasman, with a concert at the Rock Musicarium in Lake View Park on Friday night. The space was ideal for an Islamabad audience– not overwhelmingly big, not claustrophobically small. High school and college kids dominated the scene, scattered in large groups across the amphitheatre, as the flashing lights lit the impressive stage.
“We are expecting lots of people, and I’m very excited,” said Zohair, an organiser.
Formed in November 2001, the band became a big name in the local underground music scene. With Yasir Jaswal on vocals, Farooq Shah and Umer Sohail on lead and rhythm guitars, Muhammad Talha on the bass, and Ali Nadeem on drums. Their debut album had been 10 years in the making.
“It’s been a ten-year wait,” explained a visitor who has been friends with the
band members of Irtaash for long. “They’re like the Pakistani Coldplay and Lifehouse,” he added.
With such praise it is difficult not to have high hopes. It is too bad they started so late, a lot of fans were frustrated and tired after having waited for nearly two-and-a-half hours for a band that really cannot afford to be tardy, given that they are still making a name for themselves.
Finally they arrived, ushered by plumes of smoke from machines installed
They started with a recording of a speech by Bhutto, adding some political overtones to their work.
“Our album is out this weekend,” announced Jaswal, “and I hope you’ll all buy it and listen to it.”
Although the band played to the crowd and charmed fans with its dramatic stage presence, the music itself lacked cohesion. The guitarists clashed with Jaswal’s strong vocal performance, as if they were planted only for effect, jamming randomly and churning out pinch harmonics and distortions without focus.
Still they pulled it together and kept fans moving and moshing. Their well-known tracks like Hum Nasheen, Kali Ratein and Musafir were particular standouts. Hardcore fans could be
seen mouthing the lyrics near the stage.
A good start for a band that demonstrated a wealth of potential but fell short on harmonic-unity. With time and practice, there is no telling where they might reach. In future, they will hopefully start on time.