Tag Archives: Ashish Kothare

Bangalore Venues Come Under Police ‘Notice’

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The recent talks doing the rounds about an imminent ban on live music in Bangalore city started when the local police slapped a notice on pubs and restaurants in the city that conduct live music performances. It all started when the local police stations received the notice (attached below) along with a list of ‘offenders’ , who needed to be served this notice. This happened in parallel in places all over the state. Local police stations in Bangalore have been serving the notice to offenders in their jurisdiction “ Zero-G and venues in far flung locations like Manipal (Blue Waters) were raided. In Indiranagar, venues like  Take 5, Xtreme Sports Bar , Cirrus, B Flat , Love Shack, Toit and The Beach were served the notice; all these venues are located around the 100 feet area , which has high visibility and traffic.

Our sources reveal that the cops, were heard telling some venue owners that this topic is ‘hot’ right now and the top brass is creating a lot of pressure on them to crack down and stop these locations from having live performances. In Love Shack, one person was charged with assault on a cop and had to cough up a hefty five figure fine. Cirrus was raided on 21st September, and also places like Pebble and Fuga. Last week , at Zero-G, 150 patrons were arrested for dancing , the DJ’s equipment were confiscated and not returned since. The crackdown seems to be directed towards dance-floor centric restaurants for having a strong correlation with their definition of ‘Dance Bar.’ The question is : when there is no dancing at venues like Take 5 or LOR , why are they supposed to quiet down?

 

The owner of a pub in Indiranagar says “Licenses allowing for live music exist, but the Licenses are given out to only 3-5 star restaurants/hotels (We have no data to support this). Its a fair thing to have a license to validate live music. We already have so many licenses for everything we sell, but at least provide some advance notice to owners to procure permissions.”

These problems can be voiced by bodies like the Pub Owners Association headed by Ashish (LOR) and Ananth (Fusion Lounge) by rousing the support of all the venue owners affected by the recent turn of events. This is exactly the kind of effect that can trickle down to the lives of so many people, because the former CM decided to replace the Police Commissioner with a man more suited to his orders.

A clear distinction is necessary to separate the dance bars from the myriad other places of amusement that do not come under this definition but suffer at the hands of the police. Once this distinction is made, prostitution can be dealt with at separate levels of intensity, assuming this is where the problem really stems from.

Translation of the letter:

” This letter is to inform you that it has come to our notice your bar & restaurant is using high intensity bright colored lighting , playing loud western music where clients come to drink alcohol, get drunk and dance causing disturbance to the neighboring houses in the locality. In this regard, you have no clearances authorized. Any such instance reported in the future at your bar and restaurant will result in legal action being initiated as well as cancellation of operating licenses by the higher authorities.”

Special Report, What’s The Scene India

Sharanya Nair

Sharanya is a 'writer' and an 'editor'. You know the type. She loves her music too much to share.

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Bourbon Street at Legends of Rock, Bangalore

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Sunday the 7th of August was a cloudy, drizzly evening that had me trudging up the road leading to Legends of Rock, Koramangala. I entered to find the place packed and was told that I might have to stand to listen to the band playing. Legends of Rock seemed like THE place to unwind after a week of hard work at the office; it was also the place to be to share space with a smoking hot band, rather literally considering its cramped and smoke-filled interiors.

I somehow found a seat just in front of the bar and settled down to enjoy an evening of music with Bourbon Street. I was looking forward to hear them play, having sampled their music online, but was a little apprehensive: recording music in a controlled environment is quite different from how you carry yourself in front of an audience.

The band consists of Jerome Mascarenhas (Vocals/Harmonica), Chester Pereira (lead guitars), Fidel D’Souza (bass), Bharath Kumar (Keyboards), Sudhakar Prabhu (Drums) and Ian Castelino (Djembe). The band is often joined by Carnatic violinist Dr. Sangeetha, who performs with the band for the fusion set.

Bourbon Street opened their gig with a rendition of John Scofield’s ‘A go-go’, an instrumental which lent a jazzy feel to the evening. I was glad they didn’t start off with something heavy, having come across artists who’re too eager to please by playing stuff that upsets the mood of the place. This pleasant number was soon followed by Roy Buchanan’s ‘Roy’s Bluz’. Chester doubled up by lending vocals to this song.

Starting off with jazz, Bourbon Street slipped into the comforting sounds of the blues. Chester’s waspy vocals were accompanied by their vocalist Jerome performing harmonica duties. I found myself cheerfully tapping my feet to the music, and I wasn’t alone. The place was suddenly transported back in time and there was no looking back: the audience was hooked.

‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ followed next, with Jerome taking charge of the vocals. Bold and empowering, this song was a little heavier than the previous two songs. By this time we’d understood that this band was going to surprise us with every new number.

Just when we thought the event was going to be a one-sided affair with the band doing all the hard work, Jerome asked the crowd if they were sober enough to follow their music. Dave Brubeck’s ‘Unsquare Dance’ followed, with the audience clapping in tandem with the beat. It proved to be quite a challenge keeping up with a tune on a 7/4 and quite a few members of the audience falling out of rhythm before long. But was great fun to be part of the magic of the band.

Bourbon Street’s version of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Chameleon’ followed next, as the crowd grooved to the snappy funky solos that each member of the band churned out with an ease that made it seem like they were in their element.

After playing a flurry of covers during the first set, the second set opened with an original composition ‘Opulence’. Opulence is a progressive instrumental track written by Chester, making use of an odd meter sequence from 7/8 , 6/8 to 5/8 + 4/8. This number was also shortlisted at the Yamaha Asian Beats 2011 contest. This number took a myriad of turns, one blending seamlessly into another, taking me through a mesmerizing trip. ‘Opulence‘ certainly brought out the best in each of the band members.

The song that followed took us all by surprise. What started off with funky guitar and harmonica riffs ended up being Dr. Rajkumar’s ‘If you come today (tick tick tick)’. Now it takes courage to belt out a Kannada film number at a bar called Legends of Rock, but Bourbon Street pulled it off and got the crowd shouting out for more. An excited Ashish, (of LOR) took stage and commended the band for flawlessly syncing their genre with a Kannada number. My verdict- Incredibly ingenious!

‘Got my Mojo Working’ was the next track, and boy did they get the crowd’s mojo working! Much heavier than the numbers played before, the rhythm and drums in perfect sync, this Muddy Waters cover got the audience singing/screaming/shouting out what they could of the chorus with Jerome. They also moved on to cover Doobie Brothers’ ‘Long train runnin’ which kept up the crescendo that was built up through the show.

Bourbon Street wrapped the evening with Santana’s ‘Black Magic Woman’. A familiar number to most on the floor, it was the perfect way to end a show that was sure to leave a lasting impression on everyone who was there that night.

I was lucky enough to get some time with the band once their gig ended, thanks to Jerome’s invitation to have a chat with the band. The first question I had was whether they were comfortable playing at a small venue like LOR, with the band members seemingly jostling for space on the tiny stage. “We performed here the first time LOR reopened for live music after the whole ban thing.” said drummer Sudhakar, who’d been obscured from view for the most part of the evening. “We like the place and are comfortable with playing here since the crowd is very responsive as they’re seated quite close to the stage.”

On asking Jerome, where Bourbon Street stood among blues bands in Bangalore, he replied with a smile, “In this city, there are bands that play the blues, there are bands that play jazz, bands that play fusion and then there’s Bourbon Street which plays a bit of jazz, a bit of blues, Carnatic fusion and a lot more. It’s a mix of genres packed into one show.”

On being asked as to why they chose to play cover versions for most of the evening, Sudhakar said, “None of the covers sound like the original. In fact we lend in our own touch to every cover that we perform, so you’d never find two shows sounding the same”. A soft spoken Chester added that they’d like to expose the public to a broader spectrum of music primarily from the older days. The artistes of that period, he said, performed with such passion that it puts many of the contemporary artistes to shame.

The gig went well apart from uncomfortable seating and an annoying light that kept shining into the audience’s eyes. I wrapped up my conversation with the band thanking them for the chat, making a mental note to catch them live again next time.

Sharath Krishnaswami

Sharath is a freelance journalist. When he's not working, he's either painting on walls, trekking, or writing short stories.

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