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: Pepsi MTV Indies Featuring Parvaaz, Prateek Kuhad and Opposite Sex at the Humming Tree (Pt.2 of 2)

The final band for the evening was Parvaaz. I am extremely proud of this band, they're one of those bands that has matured so fabulously and are growing with every gig. It’s evident that the more shows they’re doing, the more they learn and improve their performance and sound.  I remember seeing the band play a few years ago and Khalid (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) came across as this very shy and reserved person. This evening’s gig has shown how fabulously he’s grown as a front man. He’s freer and more comfortable on stage and handles the audience fabulously. I won’t even start to write about how fabulous his voice is. There was this one point where the vocal mic went kaput, but Khalid shrugged it off and got to get the audience to sing along. I don’t think anyone even noticed and felt it was a part of the act. 





Kashif and Fidel are absolutely rock solid on guitar and bass respectively and have become a lot more confident with their presence on stage. From their earlier gigs where they were more or less rooted to the spot, they’ve learnt to use the real estate on the stage and get the crowd going. Sachin on the drums was brilliant as always. There was a point when Khalid introduced him to the audience and everyone went ‘Sachiiiiiiin….Sachin….’  One of the high points was this little nifty bass and drum piece by Fidel and Sachin that got everyone really crazy.




The band played the title track from their latest album Baran and mixed it up with some of the older material from their previous EP with Marika and Itne Arse ke Baad and more songs. We also got to listen to some of the new material that the band has been working on in the studio. They’ve truly embraced the psychedelic vibe. One of the new songs sounded like something Gilmour would have written.



I always go back delighted from a Parvaaz. The way the band and the individual members are growing, they’re on their way to become a monumental part of India’s rock scene (if not already) and of India’s rock history. 

Gig Review: Pepsi MTV Indies Featuring Parvaaz, Prateek Kuhad and Opposite Sex at the Humming Tree (Pt.1 of 2)

While most of the folks at the Humming Tree had come for Parvaaz and Prateek Kuhad, there was a very interesting opening set by a band known as Opposite Sex. This was the first time I’ve heard of them and I’m quite impressed. The band is a simple three-piece ensemble with Ragini Ramanathan handling vocals and bass and Siddharth Gautam along with Pradip handling vocals and guitars. The band sticks to writing simple songs of the world around us that looks at things like people in a relationship but working in different shifts, people who ‘faff’ their way through work and other more relatable topics. I did enjoy how the band did not complicate the sound with too many electronics (a trend that seems to be picking up faster than it should). Ragini’s cheerful demeanour and interaction with the crowd made everyone like the band almost instantaneously. While their sound was a little off on the vocal harmonies and the guitars got a little loud at times, it was still a very nice gig. I’m hoping the band matures with time and continues to stick to the simple guitar-singer-song writer formula.

Opposite Sex

Ragini from Opposite Sex

Next up was Prateek Kuhad with his band. I’ve been in love with his recent album ‘In Token & Charms’ and have been eagerly looking forward to see him play live. Prateek’s performance is exactly like the album - very chilled-out and enjoyable. Prateek is clearly in love with his music which comes across as extremely personal (even on the album) and is on stage just sharing the same. This simple three-piece band kept everyone grooving right from the first song. No time is wasted between songs, not even to talk to the audience or to address the one annoying person who kept screaming that he wanted to listen to Artist from the album. Prateek played some of the songs from the new album and mixed it up with a few Hindi numbers. The overall performance and sound was fabulous and I’m looking forward to more music and live gigs from Prateek Kuhad.

Prateek Kuhad with his band



Prateek Kuhad


Prateek Kuhad


Gig Pix: Live Banned, Skrat and Fuzz Culture at Humming Tree

Sponsored by Vans, this gig at The Humming Tree featured three bands. First up were the boys from Bengaluru - Live Banned. They were followed by Skrat from Chennai. Anyone hwo knows me knows the admiration I have for both these bands and I dont want to repeat myself as to how they played super gigs. Instead, I'd like to write about the closing band of the evening. All the way from Delhi, Fuzz Culture are an electronic act. I was planning on leaving, but this two member band had a very different sound from the usual electronic stuff I've heard previously. What stood out was the thunderous drumming and energy of the duo. I was honestly quite impressed and stayed for a large part of their set. Below are some pics from the gig.


Live Banned

Live Banned

Skrat Crew member and friend - Ashwath

Live Banned

Live Banned

Skrat

Skrat

Skrat

Skrat

Skrat

Skrat

Fuzz Culture

Fuzz Culture

Fuzz Culture

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 Pix: Dinosaur Pile Up at Indigo Bar, B'lore

Dinosaur Pile Up - One of my new favourite bands. I caught the last two songs of their set at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune and was blown away. The energy of the crowd was something else. I was very fortunate they played a few days later at the Indigo Bar here in Bengaluru. I was also fortunate to have a friend who met them in Pune introduce me to the band. They are some of the nicest blokes around. Excellent gig that evening.







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.