Tag Archives: Kaushik Kumar

Alexis live at The BFlat Bar, Bangalore

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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.

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Mad Orange Fireworks and Solder at Loveshack

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Thursday evening saw me riding over the Koramangala-Indiranagar Ring road, braving the biting Bangalore cold to lay to rest a busy week and reach out to some good ol’ rock and roll. After reading a recent write up that christened our friendly band next door Solder as performing ‘Bangalore Rock’, I was eager to see what they had to  offer that evening.

I reached at half past eight and walked up the stairs of the building to find Mad Orange Fireworks halfway into their song ‘Black Hole’ – a song about a break up. I was partly glad at having caught an interesting song, and partly disappointed at having to listen to the sound in the first place, which was a tad jarring. I had listened to Mad Orange Fireworks at Strawberry Fields and was already familiar with the songs that they had on their setlist that evening.

Mad Orange Fireworks, which describes its music as ‘Orange Rock’, consists of Michael Dias on Vocals/ Guitars, Kaushik Kumar on Bass/Vocals and Shravan Bendapudi on Drums/ Vocals.

Loveshack is located on the fifth floor and has a bar and a restaurant that opens out onto a terrace. The band faces a small audience of about 25-30 and has to squirm on the stage to face the entire crowd. So the very setup of the stage isn’t very comfortable. I was also a little taken aback by the speakers, which weren’t flanking the band but were placed elsewhere.

MOF soon moved into their next set of songs, ’Kiss goodbye’, and ‘I want you’.  Unfortunately the vocalist’s voice was drowned in the bad sound system and the only lyrics I could decipher from the latter were “I want you so bad” – evidently a love song filled with longing.

‘Once I find you’ stood out among the rest for certain. An extremely groovy song, the drums and leads seemed to take their genre someplace else. ‘Empty Saturday’ followed next.

“I’m seven down the barrel,

Falling off the wagon”

– the lyrics sketched a ballad of a lonely guy on a Saturday night. Beginning with a bass intro, I doubt any band could capture the emotion as well as Mad Orange Fireworks did. However, Michael’s vocal cords seemed restrained that evening and, in my opinion, he could’ve sung better.

MOF wound up their setlist with ‘School Boy’ and ‘Don’t forget me’. The latter found the band diving headfirst into their song, their instruments exploding into a heavy outro.

Solder took to the stage next. A band much spoken about, much listened to and little written about, Solder is Sylvester Pradeep on guitar/ backing vocals, Akhilesh Kumar on guitar/backing vocals, Joel Rozario on drums/backing vocals, Samson Philip on bass/backing vocals and Siddharth Abraham on  vocals/acoustic guitar. Frontman Siddharth Abraham took to the stage, adorned with his familiar coat and hat.

I often wondered what ‘feel good’ rock meant and the answer lay in Solder. They broke into their first song, ‘Questions’, thrusting their brand of rock n’ roll over the audience. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear a word of what Siddharth sang, because of the tainted sound system.

Pushing through to their next song, ‘Save the World’, Siddharth began marching on stage with great gusto. If there’s one band that exudes spirit from every pore, it is Solder. The rhythms, drums, bass and leads were played with such cheerful unison that they blur the lines between a routine jam and a live performance.

‘Stay with Me’ followed next – a nostalgic, wistful number after which the band moved onto ‘Cookie monster’- a more fast paced and power-packed song.

Up until this point, the evening seemed rosy. Just as Solder started playing ‘Waiting for love’ the word came around that Loveshack didn’t have the license to perform so late into the night. The bouncers made an unwelcome entry, asking the band to tone down their music or wind up for the night.

Unwilling to let the spirit die down, Siddharth Abraham disappeared and walked back onto stage with a Glittering Candy Cane, marching up and down, drawing up laughter at his antics.

After a brief pause, Siddharth caught hold of his acoustic guitar and said that the next part of the show would be unplugged; resorting to the oft-quoted line “The show must go on!”

Next up, was ‘Passerby’. This song is almost a classic, heralding high pitched leads and rhythms at the intro.

Solder ended the evening with a Beatles medley, turning the damp squib by lackadaisical organizers into a power-packed lively gig that got people singing, ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Let It Be’. Siddharth threw Christmas caps into the crowd, bringing the evening to a cheerful close.

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Sharath Krishnaswami

Sharath is a freelance journalist. When he's not working, he's either painting on walls, trekking, or writing short stories.

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