Tag Archives: Extreme

Gingerfeet’s Kolkata Debut at Someplace Else, The Park

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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 year’s 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 hadn’t ever sampled any of their originals either – but after seeing their quick sound-check before the gig I had a feeling that my Friday wouldn’t end as badly as it had begun.

An hour-and-a-half later, my spirits were certainly sky high, and it wasn’t 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 crowd’s 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 Vedanta’s 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 band’s cover of Extreme’s ‘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 hadn’t 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 I’ve been hearing him sing for more than 5 years now.

And so did end the evening’s entertainment and also my first taste of the band Gingerfeet. As debut shows go by, Gingerfeet’s 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 you’d 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 aren’t a fan of funk, I would still recommend you to catch them live. Especially if you’ve had a shitty day at work and don’t think booze is going to be much help to soothe your soul. It certainly did wonders for me! A big thumbs up to Gingerfeet.

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Album Review: Evolve by Indus Creed

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Original Indian rock has had quite a chequered history. Several acts have made bright starts only to sputter out into oblivion a few years later. Several acts have appeared promising but have faded away before anything substantial materialized. But then there are some other acts that have persevered through a fair share of ups and downs, and found their niche in terms of their sound, presence and appeal.

And then there’s Indus Creed.

Quite easily the big daddy of the rock music scene in India, the band that released Rock n’ Roll Renegade (As Rock Machine, in 1989), when this writer was barely out of the diaper stage, hit big time with its appearances on big music channels, an acclaimed video for ‘Pretty Child’ and a rather kitschy one for ‘Top of the Rock’. A couple of albums and some collectors’ edition tapes later, the band decided to call it quits with its members going their own way. Along the way, partial avatars of the band sprung up here and there, with Alms for Shanti (check out ‘Kashmakash’) being the most notable.

And thus, it was with much glee that the news of Indus Creed’s revival after a decade and a half of exile was welcomed whole-heartedly. A year and something of playing at venues around the country, the band announced the release of their comeback album Evolve.  And it does not disappoint. Well, not entirely. Straight out of the CD cover (with excellent artwork, although some sleeve-work would have been nice), one gets the feeling that this is not the Indus Creed of yore.

‘Fireflies’ starts things off in style. Layered with tones that wouldn’t be entirely out of place in the 80s and 90s, the song has an evocative feel around it. The song really kicks in on the chorus along with the bass and some nice harmonies on the vocals. With a couple of teaser solos on the keyboard and guitar, the song definitely sets the mood for the album to follow. Uday Benegal’s voice sounds fuller than its 90s avatar. Another thing that is immediately apparent is the quality of production— the mixing and mastering is terrific.

The album then moves to its second track, ‘Dissolve’. The distorted guitar kicking in after arpeggiated intro, sits in the mix very comfortably, yet adds a significant power to the song. The odd rhythm (10-beat cycle?), is very reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, almost Sound of Muzak like. Lyrically, this song is the strongest in the entire album. The chorus kicks in with a bang, and is easily my favourite section of the album. It also fits in very nicely with the album cover.

Mahesh Tinaikar’s guitar solo rises nicely above the rest of the instruments after the second chorus. The spoken-word section doesn’t really stick it for me, although the evolving soundscapes are nice. The almost vocal only third chorus and the throwback to the intro are nicely pulled off. The longest song at 7:38, it is great to see a somewhat different, slightly heavier side to Indus Creed’s music. A definite evolution from the Rock Machine sound! A big thumbs up to Rushad Mistry’s basswork and Jai Row Kavi on the drums as well.

‘The Money’ follows next, and it’s a bit of a letdown. With its marching beat style intro, electronic influences et al, the song does not quite stick it. After the strong opening in a couple of songs, the song doesn’t quite keep the mood. The excellent guitar solo towards the end does nothing to change that sentiment. The theme of the song lyrically also does not seem as strong as some of the other tracks on the album.

‘Take it Harder’ follows and normal service is resumed with a hard hitting song, with excellent soundscape building on the intro courtesy Zubin Balaporia. The song is excellently written, and Uday Benegal’s vocals really shine through on this one. Well structured, with stellar guitar work, the solo oozes feel and the soundscapes added towards the end of the solo only add to the charm. Jay Row Kavi’s drumming is almost meditative in places. This song is a close second behind ‘Dissolve’ in terms of favourites from the album for me.

Another longish song follows in ‘No Disgrace’. There’s a bit of a throwback to the likes of Extreme and Mr. Big, the song has its own highs and lows. The band, as a whole, shines through nicely as a unit, but the song isn’t as memorable as some of the other tracks. The progressive bent of mind is again very apparent, with some Rush-like keyboard tones, one can almost imagine Geddy Lee coming in with a couple of lines just before the guitar solo. The song highlights the individual skills of the band quite nicely though.

‘Come Around’ kicks off with a nice acoustic guitar intro. Dripping with nostalgia, the song is lyrically a throwback to a time gone by. The song is balladish at times, and is the mellowest of the album in terms of its structure as well as tone and it definitely keeps the mood nostalgic. The production value shines through brilliantly on this track. Uday Benegal’s vocals drive the song and are almost reminiscent of the ‘Pretty Child’ days.

‘Bulletproof’ is a hard hitting out-and-out rocker. The song is of a different vintage from the rest of the album, and is, most definitely, one for the stage. This one would, no doubt, be something to get a crowd going at a nice venue blaring out from the PA. The band sounds nice and tight, with the bass and drum section really coming across in a great fashion.

‘Goodbye’ winds things down for Evolve. The song has a happy nostalgic air about it. While Indus Creed would have us believe that ‘the dream was struck by reality’ and that the bigger dream would have a bigger fall, a resurrection of sorts could be just as big if not bigger. In some ways, it is an appropriate track to close out the album, shutting the door on one chapter while opening another to a possibly more exciting one.

In conclusion, the album does feel a little short and leaves me wanting for more. There are several moments on the album where Indus Creed shows us just why they were so revered back in the day, while at the same time, there are frustratingly ordinary moments as well.

All said and done, Uday Benegal, Mahesh Tinaikar, Zubin Balaporia, Rushad Mistry and Jai Row Kavi have put together an eminently enjoyable album. A special mention to Tim Palmer and company for the mixing and the production. Evolve sounds just as good on hi-fi speakers, headphones and on the car stereo. Another special mention to Zorran Mendonsa for shaping Evolve’s guitar sound, which is phenomenal!

Here’s hoping that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for Indus Creed. Audiences in India are more mature, appreciative and informed these days and exciting times surely lie ahead.

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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.

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