Tag Archives: Goddess Gagged

The Jack Daniels Rock Awards 2013

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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. Blek’s set was followed by the first set of awards which saw Shantanu Hudalikar win the best producer award. Advaita’s The Silent Sea and Swarathma’s 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 Obama’s 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, couldn’t 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 D’mello 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 India’s most popular rock songs  – from Siddharth Basrur and Gareth D’mello’s duet take on Them Clones’s ‘Zephyretta’  to Rachel Varghese’s cover of Junkyard Groove’s ‘Imagine’, Saba Azad’s cover of  Orange Street’s ‘Candywalk’ to  Gareth’s beautiful delivery of ‘Lucy’ by Zero, Suman Sridhar’s horror screams and deafening screeches on Workshop’s ‘Pudhe Sarka’ to Rachel Varghese’s rendering of ‘Trapped’ by Indus Creed,  the wonderfully selected set list for the jam had something for everyone’s 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 Dhar’s 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 – Advaita’s ‘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.

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The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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The third edition of The Rolling Stones Metal Awards took place at The Blue Frog, a venue that has supported this initiative of celebrating the Indian metal scene by giving bands due credit for the efforts they’ve put in over the year. The event had a total turnout of around 600 people and one could safely say that they all had an amazing night.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Rohit Pereira, popularly known as the P-man, was the emcee for the night who tickled everyone’s funny bones with his comical antics and witty one-liners. The first band to take to the stage was Pangea – the progressive metal band from Bombay consisting of Akshay Rajpurohit, Shadaab Kadri and Kuber Sharma on guitars (all seven string guitars). The band was joined by the awesome duo, Jai Row Kavi and Rushad Mistry of Indus creed fame, on the drums and bass respectively. Despite the fact that the band was playing its first gig ever , they sounded very professional on stage and performed songs from their debut album Snails Are When I Was Young. The band may not have won any award that night but made all the right noises with their debut gig and with their layered, melodic and almost ambient metal tunes. They are surely a wonderful addition to the already exciting metal scene in the country.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Next up on stage was Providence, clearly the stars of the night. This metalcore band from Bombay,  was playing with their new vocalist Karan Pote (ex- Noiseware and Abraxas) after Sunnieth quit the band last month and went on to win five awards that night. Pote seemed to have fit into Sunnieth’s shoes with consummate ease as the band got the moshpit going with songs from their album Vanguard. The band was joined by Sunnieth on stage for their last song ‘Prosthetics’. The teamed growls from Sunnieth and Karan threw the crowd into frenzy – certainly one of the highlights of the night.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The award ceremony kick-started as Keshav Dhar’s Skyharbor won the award for the ‘Best Emerging Band’, while Providence bagged the award for ‘Best Album Art’ for their album Vanguard. Taz James of Chaotic Years won the award for ‘Best Keybordist’ while Arun Natrajan and Vibhas Venkatraman of Eccentric Pendulum bagged the awards for ‘Best Bassist’ and ‘Best Drummer’ respectively.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

After this, Karan Pote was back on stage with his metal band from Pune, Abraxas. The band continued from where Providence left off and with the twin guitar attack of Abhimanyu and Vinay shredding away to glory, ably supported by Naman on drums and Kenneth on bass, the band got the circular pits going at certain points in their set. A lot of people from Pune had specifically driven down to catch Abraxas live and the band didn’t disappoint one bit as they played some of their most popular tracks like ‘Deviation’, ‘Eyes of Disgrace’, ‘I Remember’ among others to get the crowds really going before winding up their set with another crowd favourite, ‘Sweet Sufferings’.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The next category was ’Best Guitarist’ which was bagged by Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor. While Sunnieth Revankar of Bhayanak Maut won the award for ‘Best Vocalist’ for his work with his former band Providence, while defeating himself for his own work with Skyharbor, which was also nominated in the same category.

The next set of awards was for the ‘Popular Choice’ category. Skyharbor’s ‘Maeva’ won the award for ’Best Song’, and Providence bagged the next two awards for both ‘Best Band’  and ‘Best Album’ for their album Vanguard.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Bangalore-based metal band Eccentric Pendulum who had a very successful night themselves, took to the stage next. The band, fresh from winning awards for ’Best Drummer’ and ’Best Bassist’ earlier that night, put together a very tight set playing songs from their album Winding the Optics, while also playing some of their new songs like, ‘Resisting the Equation’.

The next set of awards was for the ‘Jury awards’ category. ‘Maeva’ by Skyharbor won the award for ’Best Metal Song’, while Eccentric Pendulum picked up the award for ’Best Metal Album of the Year’ for Winding the Optics.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The last award for the night was the coveted Critic’s Choice Award for ‘Best Metal Band’, which was bagged by Goddess Gagged from Bombay. The closing act for the night was the mighty Zygnema, who will be representing India at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany later this year. The energy that the band’s frontman Jimmy brings into every performance is phenomenal and Sunday night was no different. Add to that the genius of Sidharth Kadadi on guitars, the brilliance of Mayank on drums and Ravi on bass, and you have all the ingredients for an explosive performance! The crowd went berserk as they broke into a huge circular pit in front of the stage, while the band belted out songs from their album Born of Unity, including crowd favourite ‘59’(which has almost become an anthem now) along with some newer tracks like  ‘Endangered’.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

To say the night was phenomenal would be an understatement. Watching the pioneers of metal in India and all their fans under one roof celebrating the growth of the Indian metal scene was testimony to their love for metal and its success India.

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Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark’s Exotica, Bangalore

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May 26th, 2012 as many diehard metal heads had predicted was brutally EPIC. You would have had to be extremely daft to expect anything less from a lineup that read – Escher’s Knot, Bhayanak Maut, Skyharbor and finally Lamb of God. Thanks to the new government rule which prohibits Palace Grounds from hosting any further gigs, the concert took place at Clarks Exotica, which looked like a rather serene resort till the Metal gods took to the stage and tore the place apart. The venue was by no means a letdown but comparing it to the Mecca of heavy metal in India, Palace Grounds, would be extremely unfair (to both Palace Grounds and Clarks Exotica). The location being 30 kms away from the city didn’t seem to pose a problem to the 6000 plus people that showed up but mineral water bottles being sold at an exorbitant fifty rupees a litre did. Unwilling to move from their vital vantage points, the water shortage soon turned into a mini crisis for the fans upfront. The enduring fans however were soon rewarded as the guys from Bhayanak Maut were kind enough to throw their own bottles to the thirsty crowd.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

First up on stage (starting sharp at 5 pm) was the experimental metal band from Chennai Escher’s Knot, who played an extremely tight set, playing a lot of their new songs including ‘Reciprocity’ which seemed to have struck a chord with the crowd. It was a pity a lot of fans had to miss out on this enlivening opening act as most of them were either waiting to get inside or were stuck in Bangalore’s famous traffic jams. From playing in the pre party gig for the Lamb of God concert in 2010 to opening for them in 2012, this band has come a long way and is destined to scale more heights.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

By the time Bhayanak Maut (who were up next) took stage a sizeable crowd of close to 5, 000 had gathered, and in true BM style they brought it that evening. Their set was a healthy mix of some old and new songs – their brand new song ‘I am Man’ along with with some of their older songs like, ‘Perfecting the Suture’ and ‘Ranti Nasha’. The guttural twins Sunneith and Vinay were specially brutal and with the double guitar attack of Aditya and Venky, teamed with Rahul on drums and Swapnil on bass they prepped the crowd perfectly for the mayhem to follow (though Sunneith’s vocal levels on the PA was quite low for most part of the set) It took them no time to get the crowd going, and the two gigantic circle pits on either side of the stage were testimony to it. Randy Blythe in particular seemed to take a liking for the band, he was spotted clicking pictures of the band whilst their set was on and later went on to make a personal dedication to them when Lamb of God was playing.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

Next up on stage was Keshav Dhar’s much anticipated live act with his band Skyharbor; going live for the first and probably (hopefully not) the last time with Daniel Tompkins. Though Lamb of God was the headlining act, I personally know a lot of people who came down just to watch Skyharbor’s set. The band has been creating a lot of buzz, for all the right reasons post the release of their first album earlier this year, Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos, which also features Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth) in a couple of songs.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

After the insanity of BM, Skyharbor was an invigorating change with their breezy vocals and intricate guitar riffs. You’d be forgiven to think that the recently moshing crowd was replaced by an opera audience (dressed in black metal t-shirts and combat boots though). Their set featured songs from Illusion and their sound was awe-inspiring to say the least. Keshav was his usual legendary self, and it was so refreshing to watch him just stand there smiling at the crowds while playing some of the most mind-boggling stuff on his guitar effortlessly, while Devesh Dayal from Goddess Gagged supported him beautifully. Dan’s poignant vocals melted perfectly with the sound of the band and it’ll truly be a pity to not watch him sing a ‘Celestial’ or a ‘Catharsis’ live again. Although I must say, it would have been awesome to see Sunneith on stage creating some ‘Chaos’ with the band, considering he was just around the corner.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

Up next on stage for the second time in Bengaluru was the headlining act from Richmond, Virginia, Lamb of God. They came on stage to thundering applause and started their set with ‘Desolation’ and ‘Ghost Walking’ from their brand new album, Resolution after which the entire crowd of 6000 plus metal heads walked with Randy in Hell. The band thankfully played a lot of music from their earlier albums which had a more raw sound compared to the polished sound of ‘Resolution’.

The crew filming for Lamb of God’s upcoming movie must have, without a doubt, got some spectacular shots of wave after wave of head banging metalheads I literally had goose bumps when the entire crowd sang Something To Die For’ along with Randy. The band followed it up with crowd favorites, ‘Hourglass’, ‘The Undertow’ and my personal favorite, ‘Omerta’ which all led to two of the most massive and wicked circular pits I’ve ever seen. (People moshing had nothing to worry about; there was an ambulance on standby!)

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

They belted out some more classics like ‘Contractor’, ‘The # 6′ and another crowd favorite in ‘Laid to Rest’ before going off stage for a bit giving the audience a chance to comprehend the insanity that had just hit them. But before any sanity could sink in, the band was back on stage with some of their most characteristic songs like ‘In Your Words’ and ‘Redneck’ before sort of calling a premature end to the night (considering it only 9:30) with yet another crowd favorite ‘Black Label’, arguably their most popular song till date.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

The party however wasn’t over for the 6000 plus metal heads who had gathered at Clarks Exotica just as yet, as Overture India decided to play Santa Claus to them by announcing that, “the booze is on the house”. That pretty much sums up how epic that night was. Was the concert better than Lamb of God’s first coming on May 15th, 2010 at Palace Grounds? Well, you don’t compare two great concerts; you just have to be there to enjoy them.

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Goddess Gagged at Bandstand Revival, Mumbai

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Parizad D

Parizad D is a photographer with a strange aversion to her surname and an even stranger affinity towards all things feline. When she isn't going click-happy you can find her obsessing over feet, good food, Radiohead, tea and dead baby jokes! Follow Parizad on Twitter @parizad_d

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The Alternative At Counterculture, Bangalore

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Uday Shanker

Uday Shanker is a freelance photographer based in Bangalore and has a day job.

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Tribute To The Beast at B69

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Last Friday at B69 Bajaao, hundreds of metal and rock heads gathered to celebrate the never-say-die spirit of the late Vincent Pereira. Roydon Bangera and Ashwin Sharma organized this event, which was in its third year, and certainly seemed like its strength was increasing year after year. Goddess Gagged, Summerpint Junkie, The Hoodwink Circle, Blakc and Split formed the lineup for the first of the two day show. For reasons unknown, the atmosphere was somehow a lot better than the last time round, people were enthusiastic, the bands kicked ass and everyone had gathered for the same cause, that of paying their respects to THE BEAST.

Before I write about the show, I’d like to take a minute to say that the Underground Scene in Mumbai is finally here. The crowd knows it, the bands know it and so does everyone else. After Blue Frog and Hard Rock Cafe, B69 witnessed the presence of a few foreigners; I sense good things happening for the scene.

Ever tried putting your head out the window of your car at 120kmph+ ? Well if you have, then that is what Goddess Gagged was like. Aggressive, in-your-face, heavy and melodious at the same time, truly justifying the genre Progressive/Hard alternative rock. Siddharth Basrur was fantastic with his work on the mic, and the drummer, Jeremy managed to pull out the best in him along with Arman and Devesh on Guitars and Krishna who practically killed his bass on stage, with those funky riffs and some sweet lines. All in all a great show starter and a time and paisa vasool  band .

Known for their trippy and off beat progressive music amidst some ‘FULL POWER’ alternative rock, Summerpint Junkie literally made people swing people to their music, sing along and took them to seventh heaven. Well, the credit for that somewhat goes to the cheap beer! But on a more serious note, great set, an immaculate combination of genres and songs coupled with some raw high pitched vocals, got the people rolling. The highlights of their performances were a few ‘spacy’ effects and some crazy acts by the vocalist and bassist. However, people seemed a little bit disappointed with the small talk the vocalist was having between songs.

The Hoodwink Circle was the underdog of the day, with some pure, honest and true music straight from the heart. Sanjeev ripped apart the guitar with his unseen fingers during the solo with some company from Ishaan on bass, and Joshua, probably one of the most fantastic drummers in the city. Aiden, the frontman, was able to make people laugh with this witty sense of humor. The band, with some good old fashioned blues, trip hop, jazz fusion and funk got the whole B69 gang back on their feet. Clearly Joshua, Sanjeev and Ishaan were at their best today and helped the band generate an even larger fan base.

Split and Blakc need no introduction or words of praise, being the two most established alternative bands in the city. Blakc for the first time played an acoustic set at B69. Playing the crowd favorites resulted in a moshpit. I mean, if you see a mosh pit during an acoustic set, you just know that it’s Blakc playing! Shawn hogged the limelight, leaving very little for anyone else, which was quickly grabbed by Roop, with his ‘driving’ bass lines. The band never fails to deliver what the people want and generated plenty of headbanging.

Split on the other hand, played a chilled out set with two new songs, which were pretty good. They managed to get all the other bands up and listening to them, jumping around and humming with them. Varoon, the drummer was on top of his game, ably accompanied by Shekhar on the bass. Aviv and Melroy with their great soloing and mind blowing rhythm sections were able to give the crowd something to hold on to for the rest of the night until tomorrow, when Tribute to the Beast continues into its second day with the top 5 metal bands in the city, including Zygnema and Atmosfear.

It’s on days like today that I pity my friends and acquaintances who sit at home thinking, who cares, these are local bands. They have no idea that what they’re missing is some of the finest music they could have seen live!

Anand Kamath

Journalist, Musician, Photographer, TV Show Enthusiast.

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