Tag Archives: Justin Timberlake

Alexis live at The BFlat Bar, Bangalore


The folks at BFlat organized a fantastic evening with the extremely talented Alexis on 27th September. I will be honest, I wasn’t the most excited. I love rock and RN’B never particularly fascinated me except for a couple of tracks, but enter Alexis D’Souza with her powerful voice and my misgivings were silenced.

Alexis’ selling point is their subtlety. Even their most powerful tracks ooze simplicity. Their biggest strengths are the leading lady’s vocals and their hard hitting lyrics. For the most part, in my head I was screaming ‘Oh My God! Her voice!’ My only complaint is that they had more covers than originals. They did however try to ensure that they added some of their own elements to a couple of covers. I must tell you about the band’s camaraderie on stage. It honestly looked like they were just jamming on stage. No big deal.

The evening began with their original ‘Back to the Start’. A definitive bass line courtesy of Kaushik Kumar, a subtle solo and the band looking like they were drunk on music – if that doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the gig, I don’t know what does! ‘No Matter Where You Are’ had beautiful guitar riffs, quite John Mayer-y if you will. Also, Srijayanth Sridhar (Keys and Synth) was caught singing along while losing himself completely to the music. Deepa Jacob’s (Backing Vocals) and D’Souza’s voices meshed together so perfectly in this one. My favourite song of theirs has to be ‘Hurt too Much’, which was the perfect blend of minimal instruments and a very catchy melody line. Alexis also debuted a new single at the gig, ‘You Wouldn’t Like Me’. Ramanan Chandramouli’s (Lead Guitar) brilliant guitar solo, the girls’ powerful vocals (I’m saying that a lot, aren’t I?) made this one, one of their best tracks yet. ‘Forgive Me’ was another track in which D’Souza, the lyricist shined. Unfortunately she went off key in a couple of places but ‘Burn’ saw the vocalist take command. The vocals were the star of the show and the instruments added to them.

Their best cover was Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’. They made it ‘their’ song. Talking Heads fans, don’t hate me for saying this but I loved their cover more than the original. Seriously, give their cover a listen. Kumar’s bass and Deepak Raghu’s drums stole the limelight! Jacob took the lead for their cover of Mayer Hawthorne‘s No Strings Attached’ and pulled off the single effortlessly. Their cover of ‘Love will tear us apart’ by Joy Division is another track where their love for subtlety simply shines. Their cover was so uncluttered in comparison to the original. However in Corinne Bailey Ray’s ‘Closer’ and Justin Timberlake’s ‘Pusher Lover Girl’, the vocals slipped off pitch at a couple of places.

They wrapped the gig up with ‘Make love to me’, an original. They even got the audience to sing along and before we knew it, the gig came to its close. Alexis made sure that along with the audience, they had fun too. The fun included an impromptu performance of ‘Happy Birthday’ for a member of the audience. The band looked a little cramped on stage but nonetheless they made it a great Saturday night for everyone who showed up.


Street Cred live at The Stage- Manajsa, New Delhi


It’s always interesting to watch an a capella group live. Especially one with the kind of credentials Street Cred holds. Most of the members of the group, led by Soumya Jha, are or were part of various college music groups and some were a part of Delhi ensemble Artists Unlimited. I reached the venue just in time to see the in-house band finish up their last two songs (‘Sweet Child of Mine’ going into ‘Won’t Go Home Without You’). Street Cred took their time to come on stage, which, as I later found out, was because they didn’t have enough mikes to work with. On asking around, I got to know that this was due to some miscommunication regarding the band’s tech rider. The sound engineer, though really sloppy behind the console, must be given credit for arranging extra mikes at 8:00 in the evening on a Sunday.

Post a rather long soundcheck, Street Cred was ready to take off. They started their set with a well-structured Michael Jackson medley, which included ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Billie Jean’. After a strong opening, they moved on to the strongest song in the set, a jazz-based song, ‘Walking Down the Street’ by The Real Group. The next song, ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz, was one song that, according to me, seemed the most out of place in the entire set. However, the group still did a good job on it. They then moved on to another medley – ‘Nothing on you’, ‘My Love’ and ‘Rocketeer‘. While they were well-arranged and well-sung, I felt that they could’ve made it a bit longer, though I must admit it was probably because I was influenced by the complexity and length of the Michael Jackson medley.

The band then sang a cover of ‘Teardop’ by Massive Attack. This would’ve been the strongest song of the set, if only half of the singers hadn’t looked self-conscious while singing it! I guess it was a new addition to the set and not everyone was equally comfortable with it. Yet, it came out almost perfect, minus the sound guy playing havoc with the lead vocalist’s mike levels. From here the group took a two-minute break while the beat boxer kept the crowd entertained with a solo performance. Very easily one of the strongest links in the Street Cred chain, Darwin is an extremely talented beat boxer. Incorporating a host of different drum sounds and grooves, he even added vinyl scratch sounds to his solo performance, enthralling everyone in the crowd.

The group came back with a cover of ‘That Thing’ by Lauren Hill – well sung, but the song itself was overshadowed by Darwin’s solo performance. Their last two songs were the most entertaining of the evening. First was a mash up of ‘What Goes Around’ by Justin Timberlake and a Bollywood number, ‘Tujhe Bhula Diya’. The sound guy again came in the way of a perfect execution by messing up the male lead’s vocal levels. The final song of their set was ‘Memories’ by David Guetta. Intrigued by an a capella group covering an electronic dance number, I paid extra attention to this and wasn’t disappointed. It’s a tricky business, arranging an electronic song to suit a capella, and Street Cred really proved their worth with this one. After their set, the crowd screamed for an encore. After a minute of contemplation and taking the crowd’s opinion, they performed ‘Walking on Sunshine’ again and took a bow afterwards.

The strongest and weakest points of the gig were quite obvious – Street Cred’s strength lies in its sheer talent and knack for excellent arrangement. With a beat boxer (who is also an accomplished singer), the group is rather cohesive with a keen ability in giving the crowd what it wants. The group’s entire performance was marred by sound issues. Mild feedback here and there, mike levels changing mid-song and rechecks being required after every two songs or so tend to kill the buzz that their music creates. However, in this case, these issues are somewhat justified considering the group had to sound check with their audience already present rather than well before the show. All in all, for someone like me who always enjoys a strong melody at a gig, it was a treat to watch Street Cred perform. Hopefully, next time I’ll get to watch them sans technical difficulties.