Tag Archives: BITS Pilani

Pearl 2014 feat. Wolfmother at BITS Pilani, Hyderabad


From the land down under, a band with many accolades in their pocket, Wolfmother took to the main stage at the BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus as part of their tour in India. An Australian Hard Rock band founded by guitarist and vocalist Andrew Stockdale in 2000, Wolfmother  rose to fame with their Grammy for the Best Hard Rock Performance for ‘Woman’, and ‘Joker and the Thief’ (Shrek 3 OST). They have composed two studio albums – Wolfmother and Cosmic Egg and three extended plays ‘Wolfmother ’, ‘Dimensions’ and ‘iTunes Live from Sydney’.

As a band, Wolfmother went through roller coaster rides over the years including a temporary split. The transitions led to the current line-up with Andrew Stockdale on lead vocals and lead guitar, Ian Peres on the bass, keyboards and backing vocals, and Vin Steele on the drums. Wolfmother’s music is primarily influenced by 60’s and 70’s rock greats like Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Who, Beatles etc.

Wolfmother  kicked off their set at the BITS Pilani campus with ‘Dimension’ from their self titled album Wolfmother. This was followed by ‘Woman’ their Grammy award winning piece, ‘White Unicorn’, ‘Apple Tree’, ‘Mind’s Eye’, ‘Love Train’, ‘Colossal’ and ‘Vagabond’ from the same album. They topped it off with ‘California Queen’ and ‘New Moon Rising’  from their 2009 album ‘Cosmic Egg’ and ‘How many times’ from their latest work Wolfmother III. Their swan song was the famous Shrek 3 OST ‘Joker and the Thief’ also from their debut album Wolfmother.

Their music is pure hard rock with groovy styles from the 60’s and 70’s. Though critics believe they try to mimic Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they have a style of their own which is a combination of modern tones with elements of the 70’s. They brought the same to the stage and their energy was just scintillating. Their stage presence was commendable as they kept the crowd engrossed the entire evening.

The band had a good start with ‘Dimension’ and ‘New Moon Rising’, however as the evening progressed, the quality of their performance started to diminish and did not quite sound as expected. By the last few tracks, it seemed like the musicians kept up the stage act but were unable to deliver with their performance. In fact, the front man’s voice was cracking up during ‘Joker and the Thief’ which was something totally unforeseen. Metal heads and rock fans were quite disappointed as this was quite an anticipated gig and given the band’s fame, this was quite a letdown.

Overall, the event wasn’t very well-orchestrated. The venue seemed too small for a band with quite a large fan following. The sound quality was awful, with speakers on one side going off once in a while, and there was constant feedback from the stage. Though Wolfmother’s performance was not up to the mark, their showmanship must be applauded – their groovy pieces, interesting solos and their stage antics kept the crowd cheering the entire evening.

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Vini Lilian

Vini works with an ad agency. She's a metalhead who can't play metal so she writes about it. She loves tattoos!


Kim Benzie of Dead Letter Circus


‘What’s The Scene?’ interviewed Kim Benzie, vocalist of the sensational Australian alt-rock band ‘Dead Letter Circus’ who are all set to headline the massive battle of bands at the BITS Pilani KK Birla Goa campus along with Inner Sanctum on the 3rd of November.

WTS: Karnivool, Parkway Drive and now Dead Letter Circus – Australian bands are performing in India quite regularly now. It’s the first time for you guys. Have you heard anything about India from these bands?

Kim: Our friends from Karnivool came back really blown away by the whole experience, from the people to the place. You guys have very intricate music and art, which we have admired from afar for a long time. India has been on all of our personal must-see travel lists anyway, so to have the chance to perform our music and see your country is truly a blessing. We are really looking forward to feeling that connection between the artist and the crowd. It will be amazing to connect in the universal language of sound and emotion.

WTS: In 2008, Scott left the band and you guys were in need of a drummer. How did you come across Luke?

Kim: Melodyssey had actually given us some of our first shows and Luke was a friend. We literally had a week before heading out on tour as support for a massive band here called Cog when Scott pulled the pin.  Steve from Karnivool filled in for a week, and then Luke jumped on board, also only to fill in, but after a week he fell in love with the music and the rest is history.

WTS: Luke toured with Dead Letter Circus and Melodyssey together. What was the experience like?

Kim: Melodyssey and Dead Letter geographically grew up in a very similar area so as a result we are all good friends. That tour still stands as one of the funnest times of being in the band. Luke just made sure his fitness was at a peak so he could nail both sets.

WTS: How has the sound evolved after Luke came in and ever since you guys started playing together?

Kim: Luke really completed the unit on an energetic level, and in a way we felt he was always supposed to be a part of it. He is the backbone of the band and it feels like we began with him and have been slowly evolving since.

WTS: After a self-titled EP in 2007, and a debut album in 2010, you guys have started working on a new album this year. You have hinted that the new album will have some electronic elements. Now, that’s quite intriguing because ‘The Space on the Wall’ does give a little peek to the band’s electronic side.Tell us a bit about the new album and how you went about the whole process this time?

Kim: What we really felt we got from the success of ‘This is the Warning’ was a confirmation from the people listening, that we can be creative in a broad style. Our debut EP was very frenetic and one dimensional whereas we really branched out stylistically on TITW. We are all fans of atmospheric electronic music like Massive Attack and NIN, so some of these influences became a part of the DLC sound. My comment was more in relation to starting some concepts as electronic and developing them back towards the organic band sound. Previously we had only experimented with adding complimentary layers of synthetic sounds to the already formed rock sound.

WTS: Is there any title for the album yet?

Kim: No not yet but we will be playing a brand new song from the upcoming album called ‘The Catalyst Fire‘ at the festival.

WTS: Tell us about your No Fracking Way Tour, what made you take up that cause?

Kim: We are firm believers of the fact that corporation-controlled governments like ours in Australia, who are controlling the media, will only report what they want people to hear, that decisions are being made for all of us, with a view to profit and not sustainability. The issue of Coal Seam Gas mining in Australia is a major concern here. We have a beautiful country to protect, and mining companies are tearing it apart at alarming rates. We have every intention of using our voice to point people in the direction of the issues we believe in, that won’t be front page news here when they should be.

WTS: Quick trivia. Who’s the clown in the band?

Kim: Stew.

WTS: Who’s the serious one?

Kim: Me.

WTS: And who can be the most annoying?

Kim:  Me!

WTS: What do you guys do apart from making music?

Kim: For the last few years DLC has been a full time occupation with no time for anything other than writing and touring. It’s an amazing life and we feel very blessed.

WTS: Hope you guys have an amazing concert. What are you looking forward to the most at this show?

Kim: Playing at a university concert! We have done a lot of university shows in Australia. There is always a great vibe in these centers for learning and progress.  It could simply be that the people that assemble there are open-minded and ready for new things, or simply that study is hard work and when they party and let go, they go crazy.


Agam at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad





After another dreary day at work, I was looking forward to Hard Rock Café and the Thursday gig featuring Agam, a Bangalore based ‘Carnatic Rock’ band. I’d heard a bit about the band, mostly good things but hadn’t actually seen them perform in the flesh before and was looking forward to listening to a fresh sound.

In the melee, I happened to catch up with a friend, let’s call him Mamooty for the remainder of this review, since the boys from Agam had a particular fondness for Kerala, seeing as some of them are from Kerala. As the band took the stage, Mamooty was in the middle of devouring a burger after another presumably dreary work day too. The band kicked things off with ‘Brahma’s Dance‘, which included a shloka recitation, invoking Lord Ganesh, getting the crowd in on the action. The start was attention grabbing and while the band still seemed to be getting used to the stage sound and warming up to the crowd, they sounded tight and the show promised to be interesting.

The band followed this up with ‘Saramathi Blues‘, and while Agam were living up to their billing of being a ‘Contemporary Carnatic rock’ act, I was still not entirely convinced. The band seemed to be Carnatic at times and Rock otherwise, but I wasn’t yet sold on the Carnatic Rock bit. Neither was Mamooty, still devouring his burger. The band then dropped into their rendition of ‘Geetha Dhuniku‘, a Thillana in Raga Dhanashree; a piece I was familiar with, a-not-so-easy thillana to be performing as a rock band. Mamooty’s attention went from devouring said burger to said band. Agam kicked some serious backside on this one, and the confluence of classical and rock seemed absolutely natural. The complexity of the song with respect to the vocals, rhythm and melody was captured with aplomb, and the band drew some wild applause. They followed it up with another of their originals, ‘Path of Aspirations‘, tight and crisp, with a nice funky bass intro by Vignesh.

They then drove into ‘The Boat Song‘, dedicated to Keralites, which my friend Mamooty thought was apt. The song began with gusto, I thought it had a great intro with the guitars kicking in, all in all a good, high energy song. Rahman’s ‘Muqammal‘, their next song, highlighted the guitar section quite nicely and Harish’s vocals really shone through. This was followed by a dedication to their alma mater, BITS Pilani, featuring a great aalap, although I would’ve liked to see a stronger ending. Next up, ‘Rudra‘, one of the band’s heavier songs, began with a nice metallish start, although I would’ve liked the djentlemen on the guitar, Praveen and Suraj, to get a little more into the song with their stage antics. A slightly disappointing aspect of some of Agam’s songs is the predictable ending after some creative aalaps, and blazing guitar and violin solos and strong, tight drums and bass. The band proceeded to take a break and Mamooty proceeded to indulge me in a discussion about Carnatic music, life, the universe and everything.

The first song after the break, had an intro very reminiscent of Rush’s ‘YYZ‘, with a complex rhythm structure and an interesting choice of raga. Up until this song, I’d barely noticed the bassist coming in with harmonies, but the level on the PA was quite low and the harmonies sounded a touch weak. Frontman Harish, proved himself an adept salesman by ranting about how Agam is a really sucky cover band and then followed it up with a couple of stunning Rahman covers. ‘Hamma Hamma‘ and ‘Dil Se‘ were bang on the money, with the entire band rising to the occasion brilliantly. Another couple of notable Rahman covers included the band’s rendition of ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam‘ and what to me was the highlight of the evening, a ballsy cover of ‘Aaromale‘ from Vinnaithandi Varuvaya. Harish’s vocals absolutely rose to the occasion on this cover, with a brilliant aalap and the band pulled off a cover I suspect Alphonse Joseph and the maestro, Rahman himself would be proud of. At this point, my only gripe was that they didn’t sing the Tamil versions of some of the Rahman covers. Koothu Over Coffee was well, more Koothu over beer, and even more fun. The crowd was definitely having a blast and clamouring for what was supposed to be the highlight of their previous Hard Rock Café Hyderabad gig, Malhaar Jam. And the band didn’t disappoint. They seemed to loosen up a little more and seemed less self-conscious than the first half and it was great to see them have a blast on stage as well.

A few things; Harish was outstanding as a vocalist and a violinist and did a good job as a frontman. I would’ve liked to see a bit more energy from the rest of the band though. At times the guitar levels were all over the place with some of the solos being drowned out by the other guitar, interchangeably so between the two guitarists. Praveen is a talented soloist and Vignesh on the bass kept things nice and tight, despite the odd fumble here and there. Ganesh on the drums did a good, crisp job with the drums, and made for a tight rhythm section along with Vignesh, pulling off complex time signatures with aplomb. I must mention here though, that the acoustics at HRC, Hyderabad are pretty ordinary and there isn’t much a band can do about it when the sound isn’t helping your cause. The apparent disconnect between Carnatic and rock crept up at the odd moment here and there, but overall, I must admit, Agam’s sound is refreshing. They certainly had the crowd’s undivided attention for the majority of their set and even got them to sing along and have a blast while at it!

All in all, I thought it was a super fun gig to be at and would definitely catch these guys again.Hyderabad has been seeing some good, innovative and fun acts over the last year. Vocalist and violinist, Harish, could alternately look to get himself to perform at the hallowed Music Academy in Chennai or Chowdaiah Memorial in Bangalore in the capacity of a proper Carnatic musician. That being said, a fresh sound is always a welcome change. With that, Mamooty left the building, and so did the rest of us.

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Bharath Bevinahally

The writer is a generally fat, slow moving creature, who loves to eat and swears by South Indian filter coffee. He also daylights as a consultant for an IT major.