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Headbangers Inc.

The time: 3pm, Saturday April 18.

The place: Tapan Theatre, nestled in a normally peaceful residential area off Kalighat. The tiny auditorium that is known to stage Bengali plays bears a slightly sinister poster proclaiming that you have reached The Pit, a one-of-a-kind, eight-hour concert dedicated to metal bands in town.

Yes, you read that right — a metal concert at a south Calcutta theatre venue. Starting from the hottest part of an April day and ending in the evening. Headbanging on a hot sultry afternoon, instead of chilling in an AC cafe, sipping on an iced latte? “Why not?” asked first year student Pooja Flora, a metal fan and a member of the Pit Committee.

Girls and metal? “Girls are into metal too. And not all metal is heavy or noisy. You should have seen the girls scream when Flash Flood was performing,” she laughed.

It all started when six up-and-coming metal bands — DIOTB, Sinful Oath, In Human, Chronic Xorn, Noyze Akademi and Cicatrixx — got together and came up with the idea of creating a unique platform dedicated to Calcutta’s metalheads. No mean feat, if you take into account that half of the band members are college students who raised the money, spread the word, hired the auditorium and all that jazz, sorry, metal — all on their own.

“The idea was to get heard and make our music available to metal fans in Calcutta. There is no platform for metal bands, and they don’t get as much media attention, win as many competitions or get to perform in pubs and clubs like bands playing other genres,” said Kabya Ghosh of Cicatrixx. Thus came about The Pit, now known as The Pit 1, which took place on January 27 at the same venue.

There’s democracy in metal, too. The Pit was of, by and for metalheads. The core committee is made up of the band members of the six participating bands, who do the gruntwork — and also pay the bills.

Funds are a problem, of course. “Who’ll sponsor a metal concert in Calcutta?” asked Deeptaroop Basu of Sinful Oath. But also, the committee is not yet a registered organisation. Add to that the decision of keeping the entry free. “We wanted it to be accessible to all fans,” said Kabya.

The January edition’s success gave them hope and The Pit 2 came back stronger, this time with two more bands — Crystal and the Witches (CATW) and Flash Flood — joining the fray. The Pit 2 kicked off at noon, with In Human’s cover of Death’s The Philosopher and ended roughly eight hours later with Noyze Akademi’s cover of Slipknot’s People=Shit.

Not many were cringing at the thought of death metal at noon. Or the different sub-genres of metal played throughout the day. No, not even when there was a powercut. They hung around, waited patiently for the power to come back, and to listen some more.

Take it from CATW’s frontman Diwash Rai, who claims to have seen Calcutta’s audience evolve right before his own eyes. “When CATW started off more than three years ago, very few people were into metal. But this time at The Pit, while playing as a guest guitarist for Flash Flood, the energy was palpable,” he said.

Ankit Mitra of In Human agreed. “The crowd swelled three times in number since The Pit 1. And even though it was suffocating inside, people would take short breaks to go outside between songs and come back for more,” he said.

“One should be open to all kinds of music. If we can listen to Carnatic classical, why can’t people be open to metal?” asked Kabya.

Why not, indeed.

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