To be quite honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to this gig. I was telling people “I god a bad code” all day and the meds I had been taking hadn’t really helped so far. To top it off, it was a dry day and looking for alcohol when you’re sick is never fun.
I reached what is probably my second favorite venue, B69, at 8.30pm and was hoping that I hadn’t missed much. As it turns out, I was early and it was quite a sight to see and meet everyone outside the venue instead of Vasant Bar which is the normal meet and greet point, as it was closed.
After narrowly dodging a passing by Sai Baba procession, and managing to down some strong swipes of Old Monk and Pepsi, we stepped inside to catch the first band Kamaal Ke Phool just as they were starting. The first thing that everyone probably noticed was the girl bass player. The guitar player in his cool jacket had an awesome tone going for him with his Godin guitar plugged into a Marshall amp. Nice tone for someone who was only switching between A and B on the amp. The singer, Hitesh I think, sounded like he was having a hard time. His voice sounded harsh, as opposed to the soft music that the band was turning out. I think he wasn’t well. The song ‘Hey Ram’ deserves a special mention here, particularly for the cool duet between the drummer and guitarist. Overall the band had really long songs and was quite boring in parts. But great potential as all the musicians were committed and rehearsed. Special mention for Bryan on drums, who impressed one and all with his fast rolls and great time keeping.
Having watched Sector 8 perform acoustically several times over, I was already familiar with a few of their songs. And seeing as they had won the Artist Aloud, Rock your November competition recently, I was really looking forward to hearing them tonight, full band, and full power. And they certainly didn’t disappoint! Great compositions and vocals, and the band was TIGHT! Full marks to Abel’s clean picking guitar technique, and superb presence by the vocalist, Mrudula. The geeky rhythm guitarist on backing vocals looked afraid of the mic again. Excellent performance, although they only played four songs, and this was probably the only aspect of their set that I didn’t like. Definitely a band to watch out for in the future!
Next up was Pradakshinam. This band has been around for a bit now, although it has had a line up change or two. A very hard working band, always in the news and up to something or the other. I must say, they looked very weird on stage with the way they were dressed individually. To everyone’s amusement, the vocalist, Suraj started off by announcing, “It’s republic day so lets DO IT!” which really seemed like he was suggesting something else entirely. The guitar player is one funny dude, calling the sound guy ‘Szechwan’ every time he asked for something on his monitor. I don’t think he knew that the sound guys name is ‘Shezan.’ The band had some tight drumming and nice harmonies. ‘Ajnabee’ had a nice build up, although the song in parts reminded me of a John Mayer pop song. Major chaos on the third song but they recovered well. Nigel’s keyboard and Aggie’s drums suddenly got too loud towards the end of their set. Nice tight performance as expected. Stand out job by the drummer again. Looks like it’s a night for the drummers to shine!
By now the slight buzz from my meds coupled with the rum was beginning to fade, but the real headache was something else entirely. The last band of the night, Seher, had just started and they were extremely LOUD. And not in a good way. I really don’t know what the vocalist was on. Probably a mix of ecstasy coupled with Viagra. The guy looked really loony, eyes closed, hands almost caressing himself as he swayed from side to side making some weird humping movements. I gagged a little bit. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but he was off key way too many times, shouting into the mic on all high and long notes, while somehow managing to look serious. Imagine the corny applicants at American/Indian Idol auditions who think they can sing and you will get the idea. Bad stage presence, no one was in sync, and the compositions were nothing out of the ordinary. I’m surprised they headlined. I really felt bad for the drummer as the band was making him sound amateurish as well and he was the guy who impressed the pants off all of us with the first band of the night! Being the headlining band and also easily, the most tenured band, that was a very tardy and amateurish performance – far from what I expected.
Well I guess you take the bad with the good. Great effort by HRC (Hindi Rock Circuit) and I hope they keep ’em coming!