Author Archives: Varun Rajiv

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About Varun Rajiv

Varun Rajiv has tinnitus. The first band he adored with all his heart was Boyzone.

February 1, 2013

The Ganesh Talkies at The BFlat Bar, Bangalore

By - on 01/02/2013 at 4:30 pm


While heading to The BFlat Bar on the 18th of January to watch The Ganesh Talkies, I tried to think of another band that had named itself after a movie theatre. I could think of only two instances, band or otherwise, and neither augured well for my prejudices – Dream Theater and Nickelodeon. To boot, they were the winners of the Converse Original Band Hunt 2012 that, apart from the bump in exposure, doesn’t mean much other than being able to print it in publicity materials and announce it upon entry like a ring announcer (“introducing the hea-VY WEI-ght chammmm-pions of the WOOOOORRRRLLLLD, the GA-NESH TAAAAW-KEEEEEES!”) with fireworks and a theme song. To my disappointment/their…

January 23, 2013

Junkyard Groove at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

By - on 23/01/2013 at 1:28 am


When 16, I attended the ‘western music’ event at a school’s cultural fest. Most of the 12 school bands in competition played covers. With neither coordination nor orders, at least 9 of them played the diamond in the crown jewels of the intangible cultural heritage of the average Chennai CBSE/ICSE English-medium school student of the ‘90s: ‘Summer of ‘69’. In 2007-ish, I was at Bangalore Institute of Technology for their fest, and happened upon the western acoustic competition. A band was covering ‘Feel Like A Knife’ by Junkyard Groove – one of the very few Indian bands I’d seen being covered by an amateur act, and definitely the only band from Chennai being covered in Bangalore during the Kaveri water…

January 22, 2013

Penn Masala at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

By - on 22/01/2013 at 2:56 am


The term ‘boy band’ is dismissively used and abused as shorthand for everything that’s wrong with the music industry – whether personality-free meat puppets heeding their Machiavellian producers, or guile-less manipulation, or a general lack of character, integrity, and quality in the product itself. By ‘product’, I mean the music, but that’s the sort of word the puppet masters are supposed to use to describe something as elemental as music – a product to be hawked. However, often lost in this monetary maelstrom is that product – the songs are frequently frighteningly good. They’re appealing, catchy earworms that are even, summoning my forces of Carnatic music clichés, mellifluous.  When Penn Masala took the stage at a packed Hard Rock…


At 5 PM on the 12th of January, finding my way through the forested IIT Madras campus during their fest Saarang to attend the rock show, it occurred to me that the one phrase I should definitely not use is ‘rumble in the jungle’. When I reached the venue, the fest was in full swing with stalls hawking bags to deodorant to scooters, making people debase themselves for trinkets. In the midst of this melee could be heard a dull sound emanating from the Open Air Theatre (nobody calls it that – it’s always the OAT) that most people chose to ignore. I headed there. Clown with a Frown were already on stage – gleaned only upon entrance. They’ve been on…

September 28, 2012

The Hibernian Jungle at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore

By - on 28/09/2012 at 9:47 pm


Eh, who? Some Irish band. Playing Hard Rock on Tuesday. Irish? Isn’t Hibernian a Scottish football club? I’m pretty sure I read about the place in Trainspotting. Trainspotting is set in Glasgow, no? Uh… maybe. I had broadcast messages to people to get them to show up for The Hibernian Jungle show on the 18th of September, but convincing even one person was beyond me. The best or/and worst reason I received in rejection was, “Dude, this gig has been pimped on the radio – that’s a sure sign that it’s going to be awful.” In hindsight, I’m so glad that everyone flaked on me, because I’d have felt extremely guilty to have made any of them plonk down five hundred…

August 25, 2012

The Supersonics at Opus, Bangalore

By - on 25/08/2012 at 1:00 pm


When The Supersonics took the stage at Opus on Friday, one might’ve thought that they’d died. No, I’m not talking about audience expiry by pleasure, but the band itself. The photographic slideshow on loop that served as backdrop to the band’s set consisted of old gig posters (that showed the band’s excellent sense of visual style) and a mix of performance, publicity, and fly-on-the-wall pictures shot with a stored-for-decades-in-an-old-shoebox feel teased a nostalgic tear from my eye. Of course, you had four men who roughly corresponded to the photographs playing music on stage, but I still got the feeling that some page had been turned even if the same content was being replicated. The Supersonics, of course,…