Tag Archives: Blek
Blek & The Vinyl Records at The BFlat Bar, Bangalore
The ‘POP GOES PUNK!’ – INDIA TOUR features two bands in one evening:
BLEK is a 3-member DANCE PUNK & POWER POP band from Mumbai, formed in 2011. The band released their debut EP Hexes + Drama & Other Reasons for Evacuation as a free download (available on ennui.BOMB Records:www.ennuidotbomb.com ) in February 2012.
The Opening Act is THE VINYL RECORDS – a 4-piece ALL Girl – ‘Girl Power’ band from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Their Genre is described as ‘RIOT GRRL & POST PUNK’. TVR love to put on a show with elements like the keytar which can best be described as glam rock kitsch! One could describe their sound from the new wave eras of 70s and 80s when analog and early digital sound was popular, which they fuse with indie and post punk.
BLEK is one of the most buzzing acts on the Indian indie music circuit. Backed with great reviews for the EP from all quarters, Blek has gigged extensively covering most of the country and performs at BFlat for the very first time. Their stage presence is not only arresting but also packed with energy.
The Vinyl Records (aka TVR), based in Delhi, came together in February 2010. Among their musical inspirations are The Clash, Strokes and the B-52s.
The Jack Daniels Rock Awards 2013
The eighth edition of the annual Jack Daniels Rock awards was held on the 22nd of February at Mehboob Studio amidst little hype and no fanfare. The invite-only event hosted by Sameer Malhotra and The P-Man (Rohit Pereira) saw successful rock bands from the scene, across genres, being feted for their musical efforts over the past one year, by people who had little or nothing to do with the scene.
Bombay punk rockers, Blek kick-started the evening performing songs from their debut album, Hexes + Drama & Other Reasons for Evacuation to an audience of around 100 people. Their half hour long set included some of their popular songs like Minus the Makeup and Fog + Strobe which was also nominated in the best song category. Bleks set was followed by the first set of awards which saw Shantanu Hudalikar win the best producer award. Advaitas The Silent Sea and Swarathmas Topiwalleh shared honours for the best album art while The Blue Frog, Mumbai was adjudged the best live music venue. The emcee then made Michele Obamas virtual presence at the Oscars seem less random by calling upon a Bollywood designer along with an eye-candy model to give away the next set of awards Blek were back on stage to collect their award, after being declared the best emerging band of 2012. The next award handed out was for the best keyboardist which was shared by Jason Zachariah (Jason Zac Band) and Zubin Balaporia (Indus Creed). The designer-model duo then gave a priceless tip of advice in fashion to the musicians gathered (who, judging by the vibes, couldnt care less), before handing over the best drummer award to Jai Row Kavi (Indus Creed). Bombay Jam band Something Relevant was up next on stage, playing a half hour long medley of songs from their second album, We Could Be Dreaming which was released last year.
Actor Suchitra Pillai was then accompanied on stage by Ken Ghosh (Bollywood director) to give away the next set of awards – Tony Guinard of the Ska Vengers tipped my personal favourite Roop Thomas of Blakc to win the best bassist award. Thermal and a Quarter frontman Bruce Lee Mani deservingly bagged the coveted best guitarist award, having being nominated alongside other stalwarts like Keshav Dhar, Baiju Dharmarajan and Mahesh Tinaikar. A clueless Mandira Bedi then walked onto stage to hand over the awards for best male and female vocalists – Vivienne Pocha won the award for the best female vocalist scoring over equally good singers Samara C (Ska Vengers) and Suman Sridhar (Sridhar/Thayil), while Angaraag Papon Mahanta overpowered the likes of Uday Benegal, Rabbi Shergill, Bruce Lee Mani, Gareth Dmello and Vasu Dixit in a star studded list of nominations for the best male vocalist.
The Rolling Stone all-star jam that followed, showcased artists from bands like Something Relevant, Split, Goddess Gagged and Colour Compound, recreate the magic of some of Indias most popular rock songs from Siddharth Basrur and Gareth Dmellos duet take on Them Cloness Zephyretta to Rachel Vargheses cover of Junkyard Grooves Imagine, Saba Azads cover of Orange Streets Candywalk to Gareths beautiful delivery of Lucy by Zero, Suman Sridhars horror screams and deafening screeches on Workshops Pudhe Sarka to Rachel Vargheses rendering of Trapped by Indus Creed, the wonderfully selected set list for the jam had something for everyones taste and gave the attendees a lot to cheer about.
The Rolling Stone jam session was ensued by the last set of awards that saw Keshav Dhars Skyharbor bag the recently introduced – best metal band award before Papon made it two for the night after Boitha Maro Re was adjudicated the best song, overshadowing some splendid tracks like Maeva (Skyharbor), Fog + Strobe (Blek), Dissolve (Indus Creed) and For the Cat (TAAQ). Former Miss India, Yukta Mookhey was then called out of oblivion to hand over the last couple of awards – Advaitas The Silent Sea won the top honours bagging the best album award, however it was Indus Creed who won the bragging rights and took home the 5 lakh rupees prize money after being adjudged the best Indian band for the year 2012.
Despite oddities of the award presenters, a no-show by most winners and a kitty cat on the loose, the award show at large went off smoothly, thanks (largely) to the free flowing Jack at the event.
Jared JC and Rishi Bradoo from Blek on What’s The Scene?
Jared JC and Rishi Bradoo from Blek, Mumbai talk about the extensive and unbiased coverage that What’s The Scene? provides all over the country. WTS completes three years in documenting the Indian live music scene on 23rd July .
Mumbai Punk Attack at Someplace Else, Kolkata
Blek’s Debut EP: Hexes + Drama and other reasons for evacuation
An old joke I heard about these guys when they first hit the scene, was that they are the Gujarati version of Blakc, hence the name Blek! The band actually takes its name from the French graffiti artist Blek le Rat – commonly referred to as the father of stencil – and not from any of the more entertaining ones devised by fans.
They’ve been around for a little more than a year now and they certainly seem to have moved in the right direction. They aren’t a new and distinctive-sounding band as such, but they are in a space by themselves in the blossoming Indian punk scene, managing to cramp a lot of the aggression, normally associated with the genre. However they don’t fall away to the modern mainstream punk sounds of Green Day and Fall out Boy and have the distinction of being the first band to be managed by ennui.BOMB Records.
The EP blasts away with ‘Hexes + Drama’, a song that appears to be dedicated to someone called Jolene, where Rishi pledges all sorts of silly stuff for her. Jared’s bass work is typical of live gigs, with a solid driving bass. Though, what I found pretty annoying was the guitar effect prevalent throughout the song!
‘Running into Walls Occasionally Helps’ was a song I had first heard at the Rush of Blood blood donation drive at Inorbit mall. The song has a semi-staccato bass line that contrasts beautifully with the guitar riff, although the chorus reminds me of a certain “amma dekh” riff. The band convinces you that it has a foot-fetish, with lyrics like “Every time I’m hungry, I’ll lick your feet girl” – kinky to say the least. The song closes with a glorious outro that I wished was longer.
The third song has the same rhythm pattern as the second, although the songs don’t sound the same. ‘Minus the Makeup’ has awesome catchy riffs and the chorus riff is brilliant. Jared sticks to his punchy groove bass lines matching Varun’s straightforward driving rhythm.
‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ shares its title with a Bill Murray film and, much like its namesake, flops. The song starts with a drum intro and… surprise, surprise; it’s the same rhythm again! I found the song a tad boring and listened to it again, but even that didn’t help, so I skipped to the next track.
Finally, a different rhythm makes an appearance on the next track, ‘Fog + Strobe’, with clap snares and a positively disco-sounding beat. The chorus sounded very familiar but I couldn’t figure it out so I gave up trying. Interestingly, the song closed at 3.35 on the player so I was wondering why the band had left more than double that time on the recording. I scrolled ahead looking for maybe a hidden message or to see if it started up again and was rewarded with one of my favorite songs on the EP at exactly 8.39 on the timer.
‘The Monkey Song’ is one of their catchiest songs and I loved this song at the launch where Linford D’Souza, a friend of the band, helped out with some great percussive work. The recording does not disappoint either, capturing the same tight rhythm work and the pace of the song.
The music was produced by Ayan De and mixed and mastered at Midicore Studios who have in the past worked with releases from bands like The Colour Compound, Rosemary and Bones for Bertie. Although the mixes on most songs sound fine, the overall product lacks that punch. This is a feature evident on some of the studio’s other releases. Rishi’s vocals suffer the most, as in all of the songs; his vocals don’t make the impact I wished they would.
The EP features a gloss envelope cover with minimalistic art work. Although the EP was initially supposed to be only for free downloading, the band decided to print a few physical copies for fans who wanted them. A worthwhile effort it would seem, as many people have heard the music online and then bought the CD. It’s at the give away price of Rs. 50/- only so it’s more than worth the cost, and definitely a great prelude to an impending album.
Ctrl ‘ALT’ Delete at B69, Mumbai
We all know about the ‘New Razz’ about 4 months since its establishment. There would hardly be any rock lovers in Mumbai who haven’t heard about B69 Bajaao. – a revolutionary platform for new and old, big and small bands to showcase what they have, in front of Mumbai’s hardcore fans.
There have been a number of attempts by Rishu Singh, SideStand and Ashu to popularize and bring to the crowd music which is not Heavy Metal, thus trying to break the monotony. Courtesy Side Stand, Anish Menon and Himanshu Vaswani, B69 was the venue for Ctrl “ALT” Delete. It was held with the aim of getting new bands out there into the scene and making people aware of the good hidden talent present in our city, along with two huge names in the country when it comes to Alternative Rock i.e. Blakc and Split.
The lineup for the day included Groovedeva, Blek, The Light Years Explode, Overhung, Blakc and Split. Even though it was a Rock gig, the turn out was way more than expected, and a little more than 180 people made their way to the venue to party.
The show started about 45 minutes late due to technical difficulties, but once it did, there was no stopping the powerful performances by some ‘tight’ bands.
First up, was the new band on the scene, Groovedeva. Weirdly quite the opposite of their name, they sounded more like a post punk, rock n roll band and not grunge or funk like the name would suggest. They were a good bunch of guys setting up the mood for the audience and getting them into the groove, yes ironically. The guitarist stole the limelight with some good fingering on the fretboard and good back up vocals. A solid start to the show.
Blek, a post punk rock band managed to enchant the audience with some cool original music and sounded incredibly good and full despite being a three piece band, courtesy some high powered guitaring and some real good drumming. They had a good hassle free run of 20 minutes managing to please the crowd and getting plenty of applause.
The Light Years Explode, very talented guys, full of energy and enthusiasm, practically rocked the stage. To my amusement there were people almost having a mini mosh pit to a punk rock band, which is never seen usually. The drummer was literally dancing on the kit, the bassist managed to give out some cool lines setting up for the vocalist cum guitarist to do his job. They were a crowd favorite and instant hit. Again, no rock band is as energetic as them on the stage.The Light Years Explode managed to raise the bar for the night’s performances.
The next band which was on, Overhung, was difficult to describe. Killer stage acts by the vocalist, cool guitar handling by Howard Pereira, and some good beats by the drummer, in addition to the weird post glam metal/rock n roll kind of music were something to look out for. The guitarist and drummer faced some technical issues in the beginning which caused a bit of panic and a very lousy first couple of songs. Their songs about f**king women and sex machine were not very highly appreciated by the audience, however with great crowd interaction and some funny bits about the South Indians, they managed to get the attention which they rightly deserved. A very entertaining show put up by the band for 20 minutes, and a very good band as a whole. The best part was the confluence of Post rock n roll riffs with heavy grunty vocals and smacking bass lines, something unique to watch out for in the future. Seriously, Hair Metal, why did no one else think of that!
By the time Blakc hit the stage it was almost 12 and half of the crowd had disappeared. Nonetheless a super set by Blakc, including their hits from the album Choking on a Dream like ‘Paper Doll’, ‘Rift‘ and ‘Ambush‘. These guys have never failed to make people groove to their music and sing along.
As an icing on the cake, Split, who were selected for the Harley Rock Riders ended the night with some kick ass hard alternative music. Aviv the Guitarist really stole the show with his legatos and blues influenced solo-ing, not to forget some great vocal work by Garreth D’mello.
In the end, people did get to have a really good time with some beer, friends and some excellent alternative music. A real pity if you missed this one. Coming up on 4th and 5th of Feb, Tribute to the Beast at B69!