When 15-year-old Adrian Mungroo played the guitar riff in the first verse of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey at the People's Choice showdown of the 2012 Pop Music Awards the audience just went crazy.
The youth displayed the skill of a seasoned musician with years of experience and without any offbeat antics as some would for effect. Mungroo simply played his guitar, clearly having fun and executing flawless solos in the process.
The combination of Mungroo's dexterity on the fret board and his bandmates from Prime Apocalypse won for them the Pop Awards People's Choice title and the $10,000 prize that came with it. The competition took place at the Anchorage Beach Club, Chaguaramas on Republic Day when seven bands competed for the honour.
The Pop Awards was created in 1996 by Rory Gadjadhar and the management of the Anchorage. In the years since the competition has served as the launch pad for several bands that went on to become among the region's top outfits including bands such as Black Rose, Flipside, Insert Coin, Skid Nevely, Limestone, Psykik and even the group known today as Kes the Band.
Prime Apocalypse seemed to have the vote of the audience before they played the first bar as people flocked to the stage cheering them on. With 12-year-old lead vocalist, Gabrielle Rajkumar at the helm the band kicked off its set with a medley of Metalica songs that featured, "For Whom The Bell Tolls", "Enter The Sandman" and "Master Of Puppets" into which they threw in a bit of gangnam style that saw the band's original bassist, Cyrus Lakhan, coming forward to dance, with three-piece suit and all.
The band had to stop in the opening bars of their next song, "Bad Romance" because Rajkumar's vocals were not being heard through the system. In fact the sound engineers marred in one way or another every band's performance on the night, causing frustration for the musicians and members of the audience alike. Although this did not badly affect what was a truly
enjoyable event, the periodic audio problems were quite annoying.
Prime Apocalypse sealed its victory with fantastic performances of "Holiday" by Green Day and "Don't Stop Believing" in which Mungroo really showcased his exceptional skill. Manager of the band, Anthony Borde who played bass on the night told the Express the plan is to invest the prize money in new equipment, merchandising products to sell and in recording a single. He also said the band will be taking a break to allow the members to focus on their respective studies.
"We don't do too many gigs because the members are all in secondary school. We may do a performance or two every couple of months so it doesn't interrupt their studies. The band came out of the School of Rock in 2010 and is the only surviving band from that series. Each member is an exceptional singer, musician and they have the total support of their parents. They all love the music and enjoy performing. We are looking forward to recording our first single using some of the prize money," Borde said.
The other bands competing at the People's Choice including Bangaseed, which commanded the audience's attention throughout its set. Lead vocalist, John Emmanuel was very popular with the ladies sending them wild especially when he took off his shirt flexing his muscles. Lead guitarist, Johnathan Agostini, too held people captivated with his mind blowing finger works on the fret board.
The other bands competing were; Mindscape Laboratory, Sunday 9, Tenzin, The Clammies and The Flick.