This would be the first Ministry of Blues (MoB ) gig that I’m attending in almost two years. The band played at B flat over the weekend to a small but enthusiastic crowd of fans. (Thank God for the IPL, no riff raff in the house screaming for Metallica covers). MoB kicked off the evening with their version of the Willie Dixon classic Hoochie Coochie Man and powered through some classic blues songs like Red House, SRV’s Mary had a little lamb, Crossroads, Long Train Running, Hey Joe and more. The original compositions included 9 to 5, Deep in debt and a few others. I’ve not been a fan of MoB’s version of the Pink Floyd classic Coming back to life, which was the only sour point in an otherwise tight gig. Almost no time was wasted between songs, barring a very unusual power outage that ate away at almost ten minutes of stage time. The band returned with a the Gary Moore classic, Still got the blues and ended a fabulous evening with their version of the Titus Turner classic All around the world which the band retitled Mona Lisa was a man.
Soulmate, one of my favourite blues bands in India played at the Hard Rock Café in Bangalore a few weeks ago, as a part of their larger tour. With a set that featured some of the bands more popular original songs like Set me Free and Voodoo Woman, the band paid their respects to the legendary Chuck Berry who had passed away a week prior to the gig by covering songs like No particular place to go, and ending the gig with the classic Johnny B Goode. The rather tight gig had a packed house with folks jumping and head banging; one could have mistaken the band to be a heavy metal act and not a blues act. Even Rudy Wallang (guitars/vocals) quipped that he’s never seen head banging at a Soulmate gig. Well, Bangalore has always been a bit partial to heavy metal acts. Below are some pictures from the gig.
In all the madness of the workplace with end-of-year and start-of-year deadlines, I completely missed putting up these pictures. The last gig of 2016 that I attended was that of one of my favourite bands - Parvaaz. The gig, title 'The Long Road' took place at the B Flat and had the band playing songs from their first EP, to the debut album Baran and to some of the new material they've been working on.
I remember listening to Parvaaz for the very first time way back in 2013 at the NH7 Weekender in Pune. They were the first band on day one of the gig, playing to a crowd of about 20-30 people at best. The band was absolutely unassuming and seriously went about tuning all their instruments and getting everything in place. Without a traditional ' How're you doing Pune? Welcome to NH7' spiel, Khalid meekly inquires if the band is good to start. And then I heard him scream 'Maaaaaaaaarrrrikaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa'. And that was that. I was sold on every tune that Parvaaz has since put out.
Three years hence, the band continues to floor people with their music. The entire band has grown in confidence in terms of stage performance and are continuously expanding their musical boundaries and are one of the best things to happen to the music scene in India. Having been to a fair number of their gigs, the show at B FLat would find a place among the top five Parvaaz gigs I've attended.