Tag Archives: Bryan Adams

Galeej Gurus at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad

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Galeej Gurus

Named as one of India’s “hottest bands” according to Rolling Stones in 2010, the opening act for bands like Mr. Big, Deep Purple, Bryan Adams;  and having played in Dubai Dessert Rock Festival alongside bands like Velvet Revolver, Korn, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Galeej Gurus is a force to reckon with. Their growing fan club in Hyderabad couldn’t wait to listen to them yet again and could barelty contain their excitement. Formed in the year 2000, the Galeej Gurus have been in the music scene for over a decade with over 500 gigs in their kitty. Their line-up includes Nathan Harris on vocals, Naveen Thomas on the guitars, Ananth Menon on guitars and vocals, Matthew Harris on the bass and Kishan Balaji on the drums.

Galeej Gurus at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad

As a band, their influences are Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Eric Clapton, Steve Vai and Deep Purple. However individually, Nathan’s influences include Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Guns n Roses, Robbie Williams, Prince etc., while Ananth tips towards blues and rock and roll. Matthew draws his inspiration from modern guitar funk and rock, for Naveen Thomas, who is considered the “most technically proficient” musician in the band, it is more of progressive influences like Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Tool, Killswitch Engage etc. , and Kishan is inspired by “freestyle improvisation” and jazz. A blend of their individuality is the essence of their band. Galeej Gurus’ music, according to them, is a bit of Alternative, Funk, Blues-Rock, Progressive and Grunge put together; whereas critics classify them as Indie Rock.

Galeej Gurus at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad

Their set list for the day was a mix of their compositions and covers. The band opened with their own composition ‘Believe in Tomorrow’, to warm up the crowd. Picking up pace, their OCs ‘She’s Mine’, ‘Play On’, Jet’s ‘Cold Hard B*tch’ got the crowd pumped up.  Ananth’s bluesy voice was perfect for the cover of Eric Clapton’s ‘Before You Accuse Me’. ‘Blind’, ‘Make some Noise’,’ Dark Hungry Eyes’ were the rest of their OCs for the first half of the evening. By the second half of the gig, the crowd grew bigger and the energy grew higher. This second set included 3 Doors Down’s ‘Loser’ along with Maroon 5’s ‘Move like Jagger’ and another composition ‘Flyaway’. The crowd sang along during Foo Fighter’s ‘Rope’ and King’s of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’, while the band continued on with their other compositions ‘Breathe’ and ‘Physiological Breakdown’. The finale was a medley of three rock legends – Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole lotta love’, Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’ and Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are you gonna go my way’ leading to ‘Full meals’  by The Wayside. They threw in a few amazing guitar and bass solos and pulled in Baba – Native Tongue’s  frontman and a good friend of the band for one of the numbers, which added to the overall flavour.

Galeej Gurus at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad

Every composition of theirs has a bit of Alternative and Progressive while most of them were groovy. Nathan’s versatile vocals, Naveen Thomas and Ananth’s skills on the guitar, crazy bass riffs by Matthew and Kishan’s tight drumming put together, makes a perfectly wrapped package of good music.

The sound was decent with very few glitches and there were quite a good number of people for a weekday evening. As the front man, Nathan knew how to keep the crowd engaged throughout the gig.  The energy of the entire band was so contagious, they crowd couldn’t contain themselves. Everyone was high on music (also on booze, but mostly music) till the end.

Galeej Gurus at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad

Galeej Gurus claim that they are “a bunch of crazy ass rockers who don’t understand the meaning of ‘keep it quiet!’” and they sure kept their word! After a week of rain and traffic jams, an evening with Galeej Gurus at Hard Rock Café was the perfect way to unwind.

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!

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Tales from the Mahindra Blues Festival

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A two day saga of one of the most compelling gigs anyone could have watched through the last weekend, when Anand Mahindra announced that he wanted to recreate the feel of the Montreal Jazz festival in India, brought a spark to music lovers, thus leading it to becoming one of the biggest festivals Mumbai has ever seen. The event, held at the infamous retro looking Mehboob Studios in Bandra was specifically designed to create a blues like atmosphere, with 3 venues, rather stages to choose from, out of which one was strictly for the ‘not so free’ flowing booze. Among the artists who were invited this year were Shemekia Copeland, a Grammy nominee, defined as one of the finest blues singers, (potentially the queen of the blues) and daughter of legendary Texas blues guitarist Johnny Copeland. Then came Matt Schofield, a British bluesman widely regarded as one of the most distinctive and innovative guitarists to have emerged in this generation, and rated amongst the top ten blues guitarists of all time (Guitar and Bass Magazine) putting him right up there with icons like Eric Clapton. Next on the list was Jonny Lang, a Grammy award winner who topped the Billboard New Artist chart when he was 15! And finally of course, the one and only, Mr. Buddy Guy! Need I say more?

On the 5th of February, the gates opened up to the first day of the festival, the buzzing smiles and people waiting for their favourite bands to kick in. Luke Kenny’s Mojo Juke Box, a rather amateur sounding blues band with Luke Kenny on vocals, began playing their set. An hour later, at 8.00 p.m. sharp, Shemekia Copeland with her enthralling voice (which carried right till the end of the hall without even a mic!), was absolutely spectacular, and she dedicated almost all her songs to all the ladies in the house. Sorry boys! Looks like she loved the women better. Nonetheless, she managed to engage the crowd and made them sway to her tunes. Post Shemekia was the last act of day one, Jonny Lang. A rather young handsome looking lad with a Bryan Adams feel to him, he shredded his guitar like never before! However by this time, people had started leaving the venue, fervently waiting for their blues icon Buddy Guy to play the next day.

Sunday, the 6th of February, saw large crowds pouring in. Celebrities like Dolly Thakore, Kunal Kapoor, Gaurav Kapur, and not to forget our very own Anand Mahindra were all spotted walking around in the confines of the studio. What surprised us all was that every music set began on time and ended right when it was supposed to. Of course Buddy Guy wouldn’t conform to that rule! Come 5 o’ clock, the Kolkata based Saturday Night Blues Band started playing covers like ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, and ‘Red House’, resulting in a brilliant, rather splendid show by this skilled band, which was formed in October of 1999.

Following them was the very famous blues band from Shillong called Soulmate, with Rudy Wallang on the guitars, and Tipriti Kharbangar (Tips) on lead vocals. Their showmanship was immaculate, and the weird robotic dance moves and expressions by Tips never ceased to make people fall in love with them! They played their originals including the song which has always been a hit amongst Soulmate fans, called “I am”, and another one called ‘Blues is my Soulmate’ (how apt could that be?) which were sung to perfection that evening, with this band going all out on an international stage and sharing their passion for the blues just like the rest of them.

Subsequent to Soulmate, Matt Schofield kicked in with some mind-boggling riffs, his band comprising three members including himself, a keyboardist cum bassist, and a drummer. After the set completed, a fifteen minute break kept the people lining up outside stage 3’s entrance, and a few humming the blues like me who couldn’t wait any longer to see the ‘74 years young’ legend, Buddy Guy! And finally amidst a packed hall as Luke Kenny announced his name, you could sense the place vibrate, almost like thunder! It took him a good ten minutes to get up on stage. And there he was! The legend himself, with his guitar strumming to the likes of bands like Cream, and the infamous John Lee Hooker.

Buddy Guy is well known for his antics with his guitar, and that indeed is what he did, twisting and turning the instrument at different angles, playing it behind him, walking into the audience, and throwing away his many plectrums into the crowd. Yes, it was the ‘go crazy, feel the blues mood’. Once he started, there was no stopping him; it was pure magic on stage, as if it were set ablaze! His walk into the audience cost a lot of people a lifetime of memories, which they would probably share with generations to come. For me though, the part was where he in between a song would go ‘oh shucks!’ really did it for me! Another rather engaging act was when he sustained a note for over a minute, and his helper came up on stage with his cup, as he took a sip and started off a riff which blew everyone’s mind. His charisma on stage had transcended into this magical night, which was beyond compare to all of us. And later that evening it felt as if a galaxy of legendary blues superstars had come down to earth and played together. A final impromptu round with Shemekia Copeland, Jonny Lang, and Matt Schofield, ended with Mr. Guy’s guitar string breaking, as he yet again flung it across into the audience, marking the end of a whirlwind experience of a never before seen festival dedicated just to the blues. We take our hats off and bow down to those who respect this genre of music. All I know is yes, indeed it left me with this song in my head ‘You’re damn right I’ve got the Blues!’

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Where’s all the new music going?

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It’s 2011. Yes, over a decade since the big Y2K thing that was meant to represent the future. It’s a beautiful year and technology in all directions is doing bigger leaps everyday – Bangalore may even get decent 3G and a rail system 50ft above the ground!

So why is it then, that at almost every pub and restaurant, every new band is doing covers, and our beloved radio station, is completely obsessed with the 60s – 80s? Yes it was an awesome time for music; it was a revolution. But we’ve grown since then. Our lives are different, our pains, our joys, all stem from an understanding of what has passed and from a hope for a less bleak future.

Yet, walk into most any bar, and you’ll hear Mr. Big, Deep Purple, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Dylan, The Stones, and maybe, if they’re adventurous they may encroach on the nineties with some Aerosmith or Chili Peppers. Don’t get me wrong. I do love these bands dearly and am a giant fan of the era, but it is still the past. It’s before our time and therefore not written for us. It talks beautifully of universal things like love and philosophy, but is received more as a story handed down than a representation of where we are. It’s art after all, and art is nothing without context.

So, where is this rant headed? It’s not a stretch to reason that this stuff is played so much because it’s recognizable and people want to hear it. At the same time, big money is putting their weight behind easy-to-digest pop that most everyone hates, but accepts as an inescapable result of commercialism. This means we have a generation of people that seemingly have no one expressing their emotions, being led by a past of hardship that isn’t theirs, ironically often singing about individuality and empowerment: fighting a forgotten war with no opposition.

It’s the adult version of teenage angst. Sadly, you’ll see this spread past just music. It’s a much larger scale problem. It means we don’t actually know what we want; we’re disaffected but don’t really know why. And as a result, support or oppose things like Anna Hazare’s dictatorship proposition without weighing final outcomes. We’re a middle-class who listen to Lennon cry for peace, love and freedom, but will back a totalitarian regime if it’s packaged tidily and pushes the right buttons. We’re not invested in the world around us, because we don’t relate to it directly. It’s not just music. Think of your top 10 painters; your top 10 (non-Hollywood) movies; comic characters, recipes, clothing styles, authors, how many are from the last 5 years?

The last few big concerts I remember hearing about were Cold Player, Foreigner, Bryan Adams, Led Zepplica, Prodigy, Michael Learns to Rock, Lamb of God, the list goes on. It’s not flattering and we happily joke about India being on the ‘retirement tour’. Nobody new comes down because, when they do, nobody turns up – because nobody’s heard of them, because nobody has been sitting comfy in the sixties, unaware that the world is happy now.

We’ve come to grips with the destructive species that we are, and are fighting to save ourselves, not just say there’s a problem. Go out of your way, find music that speaks to you where you are now; you’ll learn about yourself and believe in the universe more. We can hope you’ll be happier, and maybe honk less and smile more.

Note: Prodigy did do Invaders Must Die, which I adore, in 2009. But the publicity, and the big reason people went was Smack My Bitch Up (The Fat of The Land, 1997). Even then, it was far from packed.

Ashim D'Silva

Ashim D'Silva is a grinner. He's a lover. And a sinner. He plays his music in the sun. He daylights as a web designer, bicycles everywhere, and bought his first real shirt last year. You should bring him a sandwich. With bacon, and avocado.

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