Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rock in Trinidad - Hope or Hopeless? My review of 2012 Lockdown.

So last night was the 10th Anniversary of the LockDown Festival here in Trinidad and Tobago. This year it took place at Kaydonna Drive-thru in Curepe.

Mostly rock bands, although the tag-line states 'All Star Music Festival'. I reached rather late because of terrible traffic in the Port-of-Spain area, so I missed about four bands. Four bands I really wanted to see, but I had no control over the traffic, and even though there were Police cars that sped through the bumper to bumper crawl (we civilian motorists always have to 'get out of the way' when that happens) to get to wherever they 'claim' they're going, I was stuck for close to 45 minutes.

I arrived just in time to hear a new band perform. All in all, I heard six bands in the space of 3+ hours. So definitely the lineup of bands was solid.

I was really impressed with KIN Sound System, LynchPin and Escobar Project. I missed Gyazette, JOINTpop, Checklist and Goodnight Parliament. The other bands I heard either had sound problems mix-wise and I could quite grasp their set. Maybe my ears are getting old. But anyway.

Here's my list of Pros and Cons of Last night's show:

Cons:
- Sound was not that great, many a time the guitars or bass would just blare out at you. Was a bit deafening at times, vocals were hidden and the drums were absent in a few bands (although I wonder if that was more to do with the bands themselves and their drummers)
- Venue had an 'ant' problem, many folks got bitten (me included) and wow those critters were brutal.
- Because of rain, parking was a bit strange at the venue and there was mud everywhere.
- The last two bands took way too long to get started and folks started leaving (me included)


Pros:
- Changeover times were by and large swift and adhered to by most bands
- The crowd was rather appreciative of ALL the bands and the various styles of music. There were mostly heavy bands but in between all this there was rock/reggae band KIN Sound System doing their stuff and the crowd was pretty good, so kudos to the crowd for being open to all genres of Rock 'N Roll. Well done audience!
- The numbers were pretty decent. As much as the venue was huge, I think the turnout was pretty good.
- There was adequate food, beer and a 'Merch' tent. Finally bands have merchandise to sell and folks were buying.
- All the bands paid their due respect to each other while performing in between songs, which I quite liked. Nothing like brotherhood.
- The caliber of songwriting for each band has come a long, long way.
- No two bands sounded alike.

So overall, even though there is room for improvement, I would say the LockDown festival was a success and the Trinidad rock/metal crowd has come a long way in terms of music knowledge and appreciation.

So things are hopeful for Rock 'n Roll in Trinidad. Now all we need is to have more constant radio play during the day of local, original content and we'll be finally building a vibrant music scene here.

More on that later.....