The last couple of years have seen the rise and fall of many bands/artistes in the Kolkata rock/music circuit. This demise and/or hibernation of these top bands in Kolkata have led to a void which many new acts are trying to fill up. The jury is still out on who the current top dog is but one band which is laying good its claim to this throne is Gingerfeet.
Gingerfeet is a group of five young blokes, two of whom are also members of the very popular band, The Cynical Recess (currently in self-exile), drummer Abhinandan Mukherjee and vocalist supreme Abhishek Gurung. The remaining 3 members who make up this funk rock quintet are Vedanta Razz (lead guitar), Dibya Raj Mukhia (rhythm) and Lokes Mangar (bass). They are a band which not many people know about, and although they were last years winner of the prestigious Hornbill National Rock Contest, the guys from Gingerfeet preferred to remain underground all these days until, that is, the 17th of June , when Someplace Else decided to play host to their debut gig in the City Of Joy.
After a shitty day at work I really needed something to soothe my frazzled brain. I had no idea if Gingerfeet was the remedy though, having never seen this band play live I hadnt ever sampled any of their originals either – but after seeing their quick sound-check before the gig I had a feeling that my Friday wouldnt end as badly as it had begun.
An hour-and-a-half later, my spirits were certainly sky high, and it wasnt because of the drink in my hand! With their intoxicating combo of funk and super-charged energy on stage, Gingerfeet knocked me off my feet. The crowd at Someplace Else that evening was wowed too a huge feat, since the majority of the crowd comprised of the Friday evening Hip Pocket faithful, waiting for their weekly dose of classic rock covers. Gingerfeet were anything BUT classic, and their infectious energy and musical showmanship on stage was like a vicious punch in the solar plexus to the crowd.
The band opened with the catchy original Game On and that got the Friday crowds ears perked up. This song was followed by two other very funky originals, Fake You and Am I Dreaming Or What?, both ditties being majorly laced with a heavy guitar tone, reminiscent of a typical Red Hot Chili Peppers number (courtesy Vedantas proficient axe attack). And right on cue, their 4th track was an RHCP cover, Suck My Kiss and that got the SPE crowd hooting with joy! One of the highlights of the evening was their rendition of the Jamiroqui cover Black Capricorn Day, deconstructed to give it a very Gingerfeet-ish sound. Half way through the setlist and Gingerfeet had the crowd literally eating out of their hands, as was evident by the way they broke into impromptu sing-along sessions during the chorus lines of Stars and God Forbid. The bands cover of Extremes Get The Funk Out also went down well with the SPE audience who by now were busy either headbanging, hand-clapping or jumping up and down to the funky rhythms being dished out. After 7 originals and 3 covers, the crowd still hadnt had enough of the band so encore time it was, and a repeat of the setlist opener Game On was performed as the final track of the evening.
Cheered on by a close-knit group of fans and friends, the band served up 7 originals and 3 covers, and by the end of their set-list the entire pub was roaring for an encore a good sign of a job well done. Each band member was in their element that evening Vedanta in particular stood out with his excellent funky riffs cutting through each song like a knife. Dibya on rhythm and Abhinandan on the drums too gave a steady performance. Lokes the dreadlocked bassist was bang on with his bass tones and also majorly entertained us with his never-ending energy, making him look like a bouncy kangaroo at times. And what can I say about Abhishek and his golden voice? Arguably the best male vocalist in the Kolkata circuit, the lad knocked the socks off everyone in attendance with his range and vocal power. For those who were hearing him sing for the first time, well, they were lucky there were no flies around. Yes, no joke that, his voice made my jaw drop too, despite the fact that Ive been hearing him sing for more than 5 years now.
And so did end the evenings entertainment and also my first taste of the band Gingerfeet. As debut shows go by, Gingerfeets was definitely impressive to say the least. Good originals that made you both want to headbang and tap your feet, great musicianship and a fun stage presence – Gingerfeet ticked the boxes for all 3 categories. If there was one thing however that made your head buzz, it was the fact that their originals did lack a bit of variety, and after about 5-6 of them played in succession youd probably get the feeling that they sounded the same – something that could be worked upon. However, if you love the Mizo band Boomarang and their brand of music then Gingerfeet is a band you should most certainly check out. And even if you arent a fan of funk, I would still recommend you to catch them live. Especially if youve had a shitty day at work and dont think booze is going to be much help to soothe your soul. It certainly did wonders for me! A big thumbs up to Gingerfeet.