So, after months of buildup and anticipation two of Pakistan’s biggest musical titans were finally pitted against each other. The Red Bull Music Soundclash took place this weekend with POP icons Strings on one end and veteran rock star Ali Azmat on the other.
We had a chance to check out the show and boy was it epic.
Ali Azmat who won the previous Red Bull Music Soundclash took the stage first and proved that he’s still the baddest rockstar in Pakistan.
Wassup, hullo. How is he STILL producing these fire performances???
The ex-Junoon front man started off with hits such as ‘Rangeela, and Yaar Bina during the warm-up round. Ali Azmat’s powerful vocals coupled with Manu bhai’s groovy basslines and Omran Shafique’s guitar solos left the audience yearning for more.
This was followed by Strings also covering some of their greatest hits in the warm-up round.
The band started off with Dhani to get the audience pumped. As soon as Bilal Maqsood started playing the opening riff to the song, those that were just few seconds ago humming alongside Ali Azmat, came running to the POP side of the arena. Then the band played Zinda that gave everyone goosebumps.
Then the cover round approached where they sang ‘dil mein tum’ by bunny but it wasn’t until the next round that things really started to pick up.
Now, the bands attempted covers of each other’s songs during the takeover round which was pretty flippin’ cool.
Can you look at Karachi turning it UP.
This clash was like nothing we had seen before. The challenge was to change the genres of each others’ songs and present their own spin on it.
Ali Azmat perfomed a rock-esque rendition of Sar kiye yeh pahar. Meanwhile, Strings went on to do a haunting version of Ali Azmat’s Dewana. Faisal Kapadia’s vocals gave the audience a fresh new perspective on the number.
Things really picked up towards the end.
Strings gave a soul full performance of Mera Bichra Yaar that even made the manliest of us cry. However, not to be outdone this time, Ali Azmat went on to perform an extended Sayonee that left the entire arena mesmerized. At this point, there was no division in the audience. Instead of picking sides, everyone was just enjoying the music, bobbing their head to the tunes, just basking in nostalgia.
But wait…there is more.
Strings and Ali Azmat werent the only performers at the show. During the wildcard, each side had the choice of bringing in a guest performer in their camps.
On Ali Azmat’s side, we had the band Call with Junaid on vocals.
The band performed alongside Ali Azmat completely blowing away the entire audience.
On the opposite end we had Ahmed Jahanzeb joining Strings to perform Dur.
WHOA, there. Ahmed not coming in slow…
Well, that’s a crossover we didn’t think we needed.
There was two finales at the end. Strings went to Ali Azmat’s stage for “yaaron yehi dosti hai” and the show ended with Ali and his band members heading over to the Strings stage as they all sang “aye oo aye oo aye oo a”
Overall, the event was a breath of fresh air, specially for 90’s kids growing up in Karachi. The whole city lit up with the josh and jazba of rock and pop.
It’s funny how while I initially came rooting for Ali Azmat, Strings was the better act on a wholesome level. However that being said, Ali Azmat had his moments where he outshined.
To those who attended, how did you feel? And those who didn’t, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.
This piece has been made in partnership with Red Bull Pakistan.