Gig Review: Agam, at HRC B'lore

Last Thursday saw the Carnatic-progressive Rock outfit Agam play at the Hard Rock Cafe in Bangalore. I've been a big fan of the band and their music from the very first listen. More importantly, so is my mother owing to her passion for Carnatic music. She was upfront and center when Agam played at another venue in the city and is a big fan of theirs. Unfortunately, she couldn't make it to this gig. I was looking forward to some 'mother-son-bonding-over-rock-music' time.

When I reached the venue, there was a long line of people waiting outside that went around the corner of the HRC building. The last time I saw such a crowd for a gig was when Indian Ocean played here about four years ago. After purchasing a rather over-priced beer ( Rs.500+ for a Corona), I managed to find a spot in the jam-packed gig area. 




The band started almost on the dot as scheduled with Brahma's Dance and moved on to other crowd favourites. The band also gave us a preview into some of their new material and played two of the crowd favourite covers with Dil Se and Aaromale. The gig ended with their Coke Studio hit Malhar Jam. The energy in the crowd was great and this helped the band really improve their performances. Everyone in the band have become far more confident on stage as a unit and as individuals. The sound at the HRC has always been unpredictable, and was a bit of a let down this time considering I've heard Agam at other venues play a similar set list and sound way better. The sound of the drums was off and flat at times. HRC also needs to get some better lighting which has pretty much been the same ever since they've opened.






A good performance, but nowhere close to the last gig of theirs I had been to at Counter Culture. That was the best gig where the sound, light, the audience and everything else worked in the bands favour. Eagerly awaiting Agam's next album.


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 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 Pix: Nouvelle Vague

Nouvelle Vague is one of the bands that I've come across recently whom I absolutely enjoyed from the word 'go'! This French-based cover band have a very interesting take on the music they cover. The band takes rock and pop songs from the 60's and 70's and puts their own twist to each song by giving it a very South Americna bossa nova groove to it. They've covered songs such as Master and Servant by Depeche Mode, Human Fly by The Cramps, Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol and even Uncovered by Queens of the Stone Age.

The band played at the opening of the Le Meridien Hotel in Gurgaon this evening. They also happen to have written the music that plays in all Le Meridien Hotels world wide. Overall, this was a high-energy gig that had everyone dancing away from the time the first note was played.

The band has been founded by by musicians Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux who've worked with numerous vocalists and musicians over the years to breathe new life into songs. Here are some (meaning  'quite a lot') pictures from the gig.







 











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?)