IndieMarch - Day 2

Day 2 of the IndieMarch festival offered another stellar line-up of bands. I walked in just as All the Fat Children had started their set. They definitely sounded a lot better than when I had seen them live for the first time late last year during the ‘Bangalore plays for Chennai’ gig. Heavy riffs and top notch energy on a sultry afternoon in Bangalore had a few folks reluctantly venture out of the shade of the trees to come up front to the stage. This band surely knows how to entertain a crowd with relatively easy to remember lyrics and familiar riffs. 

All the Fat Children

All the Fat Children
Right after the Fat Children was one of my all-time favourite bands – Parvaaz. The last time I had seen Parvaaz play was at a festival that had less people in the audience than I have toes. This eventually resulted in a lacklustre set. But today was a whole new day and the band delivered one of their best performances despite the sound from the adjacent stage creeping in. Folks present go to listen in to some of their newer material. Everyone who stood with me right on the barricade knew every word to every song (except the new ones) and unabashedly sang along.

Parvaaz

Parvaaz

Parvaaz

Parvaaz

Parvaaz
As I waited for THE band of the evening that I had come out to check, I caught a song from Dualist Enquiry and some from Agam, who seemed to be struggling to keep key and tempo thanks to the noise…yes, noise from the adjacent stage where The Cosmic Dead were playing. I’m not sure what sort of music it was that band played, but it wasn’t pleasing to my ears. Probably the only dark spot in the line-up for me.

Dualist Enquiry
Pangea! There really isn’t anything I can say about this band that hasn’t been said before. Powering through a tight set of all their classic songs including Women can’t Behave on buses to Epson Printer, and closing with Final Flight and a tribute of sorts to Creed with ‘Bread of Shame’. One of my friends who heard the band, and possibly heavy music of this nature for the first time was mesmerized and asked me where he could get their music. Pangea, time for that album we’ve all been waiting for!

Pangea

Pangea

Pangea

Pangea

Pangea

Pangea

Pangea

Post the high-intensity gig by Pangea, I caught the last few songs from Avial, another of my favourite bands. Didn’t miss Nada Nada and Chekele, paisa vasool! I wasn’t too keen on seeing 65 days of Static, the closing act for the festival, purely thanks to my discomfort with most of the post rock/math rock scene. But I am happy I stayed and saw the gig. The band was quite alright and the gig was high on energy. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a fan, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Avial

Avial

65 Days of Static

65 Days of Static
IndieMarch 2016 offered the best line-up of bands to suit everyone’s indie needs. Barring a few areas around the variety of food and extremely-over priced liquor and mineral water, the gig was top notch and sets the ground for becoming India’s biggest indie gig. And with names like Colour Haze on the roster, it’s a matter of time before this particular music property becomes something of a cult-event. Kudos to the folks from Counter Culture for putting this together.

IndieMarch 2016 - Day 1

IndieMarch was back bigger and better than ever! And Day 1 did not disappoint. I’ll be quite candid in admitting that I was looking forward to Colour Haze play live from the day I bought my tickets. But all the acts in the build up to the stellar set from Haze were fabulous. The F16’s have gotten a lot tighter in terms of their sound and stage presence since the last time I saw them at NH7. A few of the songs were new to me as I’ve not been keenly following the band, but this gig was their best that I’ve seen. Diarchy, one of the new acts I heard at the NH7 Weekender last year didn’t disappoint, barring a broken snare drum which cost them some time and caused some of the folks who were hearing them for the first time to walk away and check out the other acts. Probably a little more focus in terms of occupying such blank spaces could help this two-piece stoner rock outfit with their stage presence, something the likes of Amrit from Live Banned never had a problem with. That entire bit aside, what the band should probably take away was the fact that despite the technical glitch, Stefan Koglek from Colour Haze stayed and watched the band throughout their set.


F 16s

Diarchy

Stefan looks on as Diarchy plays




I caught the last song of AsWeKeepSearching, dressed in black (almost like techno DJs). As the sun set and we waited to check out the Manganiyar Seduction, we caught some of the songs from the gig by Parekh and Singh. At this point, all I can say is interesting sound and I’d like to check out some more songs of theirs before I can (or should) pass judgement. The Manganiyar Seduction, riveting as always, though lacking in terms of the energy that was there in the previous gig of theirs. 

AWKS

AWKS

AWKS

Parekh and Singh

Manganiyar Seduction
The penultimate act for the evening was by one of my favourite indie bands, Skrat. Another systematic high-energy set from the band… it’s almost second nature to them now. I’m yet to see them have an off-day.

Skrat

Skrat

Skrat

Finally, at a little past 8:30 in the evening, the band everyone who was at this festival was waiting to see took stage – Colour Haze. Playing songs from across their arsenal of albums, the band was one of the tightest I’ve seen. (German engineering I guess). Haze powered through an almost 90-minute set that left the crowd wanting more. I still can’t recollect how I came across this band a couple of years ago. And they weren’t on my list of must-see bands as such, but it was an absolute joy to watch them play live.

Colour Haze

Colour Haze

Colour Haze

Colour Haze

Colour Haze


Colour Haze

Gig Pix: Ode to the Blues 2015, Counter Culture (Pt.3 of 3)

The penultimate act for the evening featured a very interesting performance by Madou Sidiki Diabte from Mali. Madou played a very interesting instrument called the Kora which had some 21 strings, all played by using just two fingers on either hand. While it was musically very soothing after heavy-ish gigs, I'm not too sure how it fit into the blues theme. But then again, I might just be being overly critical.



The final act for the evening was one of my favourite bands, Soulmate. As always stellar performance from Rudy on guitar and a mesmerizing vocal act by Tipriti who is one of my fav Indian female vocalists. They were joined by Rick Payne and Madou towards the end of the set for a very interesting jam session that made me really enjoy how Madou's Kora blended in with Rudy's electric guitar and Rick's acoustic guitar. It was the perfect end to an evening of blues.

It's going to a tough task to top this year's OTTB by the folks at Counter Culture, but I'm sure they're up to the challenge.












Gig Pix: Ode to the Blues 2015, Counter Culture (Pt.2 of 3)

Back to the outside acoustic stage, we had a clean set by our two esteemed foreign guests. Rick Payne started off the set with his version of the Rolling Stones classic 'Because I used to love her'. Three songs in and he was joined by Steve Treble. The duo put on on a very neat acoustic set that to me was one of the high points of this year's festival.





Next up on the main stage were Bengaluru veterans, Ministry of Blues. I was a bit disappointed with their set because it seemed very similar to the set from last year's edition. Tight gig nonetheless, but nothing really new that brought the wow factor.






Post a brief acoustic set by By2 Blues, we had stalwarts of Bengaluru's blues scene, Chronic Blues Circus take the main stage. They were accompanied by Steve Treble on lead guitars who kept profusely sweating and complaining between killer riffs about how his strings kept getting detuned due to the weather.








Gig Pix: Ode to the Blues 2015, Counter Culture (Pt.1 of 3)

The Ode to the Blues was back this year at Counter Culture with a bigger line up. While the number of people seemed to be way more than the venue could handle, there was absolutely no trouble whatsoever.

I arrived a little late. The first act I caught was The Hoodoo Gas. I've seen videos of them before, and have seen lead vocalist and guitarist Ananth Menon play with other acts. Here are some pics from the tight gig they pulled off.







The next act on the acoustic stage was White Mug. While I've heard of them before, I've never seen them perform live. While the acoustic set wasn't strictly a blues set but more of an alt rock set, Mathew on vocals was quite lively and kept the crowd going.





Back on the main stage, we had Windoze who put up a tight set with a very memorable rendition of the James Brown classic ' I feel good'. 









Gig Review: Bhayanak Maut at Counter Culture

Last evening at Counter Culture witnessed a heavy duty performance by Mumbai-based band Bhayanak Maut. From the word go, the band had everyone right up front head banging and singing in chorus to every song. Like every other business, experience sets the men apart from the boys. And Bhayank Maut's experience in the circuit clearly showed. Very little time was spent between songs in idle chatter, tuning of guitars and long-winding public statements. The band hit the perfect blend of playing and interacting with the crowd who were left wanting more after a tight relatively short set.

Opening the evening for Bhayanak Maut was Cheisrah who ran through a short six-song set. Personally, I wasnt too impressed with anything the band had to offer as it's all been done before. This sentiment was echoed by a few people I spoke to. The small loyal fan base of friends might disagree with me, but Cheisrah has a bit of a distance to go.

And it wouldn't be Counter Culture without their protest against the recent beef ban in Maharashtra. There was an all-beef menu put up. I tried the Beef Kheema Pav and had a slice of the Bhayanak Beef Pizza. I enjoyed the pizza way more than I did the Pav. Here are some pictures from last evening.

Cheisrah

Cheisrah

Beef Kheema Pav

Bhayanak Beef Pizza

Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut


Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut

Bhayanak Maut

Gig Review: Bevar Sea - IndieMarch 2015, Counter culture, B’lore (Pt.3 of 3)

The final act of the IndieMarch 2015 was the Bangalore-based Stoner-Metal band - Bevar Sea. Having been at their performance at the Black Sabbath tribute show last year, I had high expectations. The riffs and the drumming were tight as expected, but the energy of the vocals that drove the last performance seemed to be missing. That being said the band pulled of a good heavy show with everyone in the house head-banging to all the tunes including their covers of NIB, Snowblind and Astronomy Dominion. The band played some of their more well-known numbers like Universal Sleeper and closed the set with their famous Abhishtu. I woke up the next morning and was not able to feel my neck, so I guess that’s a job well done. Looking forward to their second album that Rolling Stone described as ‘mammoth’.







Gig Review: Pangea - IndieMarch 2015, Counter culture, B’lore (Pt.2 of 3)

The second band of the IndieMarch 2015 is one of my new favourite acts – Pangea. This Mumbai-based outfit’s progressive –metal (or post metal) sound is one-of-a-kind and brings together the strengths of the individual members who are also stellar performers with other acts. For the uninitiated, the band comprises of Akshay Rajpurohit,Shadaab Kadri and Kuber Sharma who perfectly blended three guitars together with some high energy riffs that ensured everyone headbanged from the first note right up to the last. Krishna Jhaveri on bass was like the energizer bunny and jumped all around, including getting off stage to play with the audience while not missing a note. And the drums were handled by none other than the powerhouse -  Jai Row Kavi. Need I say more. Pangea was the best act of the evening in my opinion. 












Gig Review: Shepard - IndieMarch 2015, Counter culture, B’lore (Pt.1 of 3)

Having missed all the previous shows owing to work and travel, I was not going to miss the finale of the IndieMarch 2015 series of gigs at Counter Culture. It also happened to be the first gig of the year that I was attending. 

First up was Shepard. I’ll be quite honest in saying that I went online to check them out for the first time, only the previous evening. Their live performance sounds a lot different from what I had heard online. The band was candid enough to admit that someone would comment that their vocals were off as were the harmonies. That being said, they do have an interesting sound that should get better with time. The drumming is especially tight and so are the leads on the guitar. I rather enjoyed their take of the Pink Floyd classic ‘Have a Cigar’. This three-piece ensemble has something going for them but need to work on getting their live sound to resemble what’s on the online recordings. Look out for their upcoming album – Stereolithic Riffalocalypse. (quite a mouthful isn’t it?)






Gig Pix: My top ten favourite pics from gigs of 2014

Since 'Top Ten Lists' are the in thing right now, I thought I'd put together my top ten favourite pics taken at gigs in 2014. A big thanks to all the bands who put up brilliant gigs and the folks managing the brilliant light and sound that made the gigs so much better.

10. Fidel from Parvaaz during the launch of their album - Baran, taken at Counter Culture

9. Nolan Lewis from Kryptos during their gig at Counter Culture

8. Dinosaur Pile-up at Indigo

7. Motopony playing at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune

6. Warren Mendonsa of Blackstratblues at Counter Culture

5. Ministry of Blues at Counter Culture

4. Luke Sital Singh at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune

3. Tips from Soulmate at Counter Culture

2. Monica Dogra's solo gig at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune

1. Skrat at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Bengaluru

Gig Pix: The launch of Baran, by Parvaaz at Counter Culture, B'lore

Having been a part of their Wishberry campaign, I got my hands on the debut full length album by Bangalore band Parvaaz a few weeks before the official launch. The album titled ‘Baran’ blew my mind. I’ll comment on the album on a later post. I was looking forward to the launch at Counter Culture, it took place on the 6th of September.

The evening began with Vasu Dixit (of Swarathma) who set the ball rolling with Bindumalini, had a fabulous controlled voice. The short acoustic set also had Bindu sing with Kashif on a few Kabir-inspired songs. Vasu was accompanied by fellow-band mate  Sanjeev Nayak, on a few Swarathma tracks and he closed the opening set with the Swarathma hit ‘Topiwalleh’.

Vasu Dixit from Swarathma

Bindumalini

Sanjeev Nayak

Bindumalini with Kashif
Parvaaz started their set with Beparwah from the new album – a perfect song to set the evening in motion. Giving the band solid support on guitar was Anthony Michael Dias from Mad Orange Fireworks. The band then moved on to some of the older stuff like Marika, Aazadi, Dil Khush and others.

Khalid with Michael Anthony Dias

Sachin Banandur

Kashif Iqbal

The crowd was all set and cosy for the rest of the gig with the band resuming playing material from the new album. The band called upon Sanjeev Nayak to help out on Ab ki yeh Subah, from the new album. This was followed by Ramanan Chandramouli and Wilbur Colaco, who came on stage to help on the very daft-punk meets Michael Jackson (the early stuff) song Fitnah. Wilbur continued to play the sax on Ziyankar.

Parvaaz ft. Sanjeev Nayak

Khalid with Ramanan

Fidel D'souza
The band closed the planned set with Roz Roz that morphed into the thirteen minute masterpiece, also the title of the album, Baran. The crowd went nuts and almost rowdily demanded an encore. After a bit of deliberation, the band obliged by playing a completely new song- Mastaan. The launch of Baran was rather epic, right from the whole Wishberry campaign to D-day which had a packed house. The awesome lighting by the folks at Counter Culture was a big added element that made the music sound so much better. 

The one guy who danced right through the gig

Packed house at Counter Culture

Khalid Ahmed
Kudos to the boys from Parvaaz for putting together a great show, and a great album. Do go and buy it online and catch the band in your city. You’ll love it.

Gig Review: Alien Chutney at Counter Culture, B’lore

Opening the evening for Alien Chutney was Michael Anthony Dias from Mad Orange Fireworks who pulled off a pretty tight acoustic set that had almost everyone in the house clapping along. Michael played a lot of his own compositions, the most popular being Corporate Bomb which got a lot of cheers from the crowd. As a preview to next week’s tribute gig by his band at the same venue, Michael played a very neat version of Pearl Jam’s Even Flow. As part of the encore, he played a Malayalam song, which he claimed his grandma taught him, which was a tribute to the recent moral tragedy of prohibition being imposed in the state of Kerala.

Michael Anthony Dias

Michael Anthony Dias

Packed house

Next up was Alien Chutney. The band is popular thanks to their front man - Vir Das. Vir took the stage with his acoustic guitar and began his routine pointing out how men and women perceive music differently. After having the crowd in splits, he brought on the rest of the band to run through the set. While a lot of the set was fairly unchanged from their NH7 gig in Pune last year, the impromptu comedy and interaction with folks in the crowd made all the difference. Singing happy birthday to folks, pulling the leg of an entrepreneur and nearly marrying off two people, the gig had it all.

Vir Das

Sidd Coutto

Sidd cracks up on stage at a joke

The band played songs like Say Naa, Delhi Girls, All You Happy People Please Fuck Off (phew, long name) and the closing number Man Boobs. Playing to a packed house, Alien Chutney closed their gig with We’re Up online to Get Lucky. 

Pozy Dhar clearly amused

Must hold devil's horns


Alien Chutney
Despite not having any new numbers, the band still sounded fresh as Vir Das was immaculate in judging the mood of the crowd and playing off the reaction the crowd gave him. It was one really entertaining evening.
  

Gig Review: Tribute to Black Sabbath by Bevar Sea at Counter Culture's #TimeCapsule

Oh my lord, what did I just see? I just saw the bar for tribute shows raised so high, it gave the White Wall in the Game of Thrones an inferiority complex. I was really stoked with the set list chosen by Kryptos to kick off the month of tributes at Counter Culture, and along comes Bevar Sea and blows the roof off.


Bevar Sea were slated to do a tribute to the founding fathers (or so we all accept) of heavy metal – Black Sabbath. One would normally expect a set list consisting of the standard Paranoid, Iron Man, Sabbath bloody Sabbath and so on. But Bevar Sea decided to throw that set list out the window and choose a very unique list from the Sabbath catalogue. And then they executed it to near perfection. The set started off with Into the Void, with the starting riff getting everyone in the audience up and front right away. The momentum continued with a neatly modified version of After Forever




The band had to throw in one popular Sabbath number, and they chose well. The crowd went hysterical the moment they heard the NIB bass riff. And that was pretty much game, set and match for the rest of the evening. This was followed by Sweet Leaf, National Acrobat, Hole in the sky and Snow blind.



At the halfway mark, the band showed no signs of being weary and the crowd was only getting crazier with each song. With more beer going down everyone’s throats, the crowd started doing (fairly sad) stage dives. Lord of this world and The Wizard followed. The penultimate song was Hand of Doom which made everyone go completely nuts and sing along at the very top of their voices.

I was still waiting for the point at which Paranoid would be played because let’s admit it, Black Sabbath = Paranoid. Almost every band in college played that first. But Bevar Sea took a brave choice to close the set with the Sabbath classic I. Honestly; I’ve never seen a braver set list backed up by a solid tight performance. That set list could have gone either way but at the end, no one was complaining. Take a bow Bevar Sea – absolutely stellar tribute gig.