Tag Archives: Money for Nothing

Sonic Flare at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad


When you bring a bunch of working professionals, the love of rock music and great talent together a band like Sonic Flare is born. After many “beginnings” in 2002, the band was formed with Neeraj, Jongky, Ajit, Vinay and Martin as their first lineup. The current lineup of the band, however, is vox by Nikhil and Priyanka, Neeraj on the guitars, Jongky on the keys, Ajit on the bass and Vinay on the drums.

Sonic Flare decided to celebrate Republic day at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad. An evening of good classic rock, their set list included a couple of their own compositions and covers of some of the all-time classic greats with vocalists, Priyanka and Nikhil taking the lead alternately.

Sonic Flare at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad

They opened with a cover of Black Crowes’ ‘Hard to Handle’ that got people grooving. Tina Turner’s ‘Simply The Best’, Eric Clapton’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff’, and Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Need Somebody to Love’ were nostalgic for those who grew up to listening to them. The blend of both Priyanka’s and Nikhil’s voices was harmonious when they sang The Knacks’ ‘My Sharona’. Also, their covers of Pink Floyd’s ‘Coming Back to Life’ and Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’ were probably the best versions heard live in Hyderabad. The rest of covers included Dire Straits’ ‘Money for Nothing’, Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’, Van Halen’s ‘Jump’. And the finale –  the all-time favourite Guns n Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ got the crowd singing along.

Whereas ‘Take Me Away’, ‘Beautiful World’, ‘Stay’, ‘Dream On’, and ‘Me and You’ were their original compositions, which felt like they stepped out of the 80s. Their music is a light-hearted blend of rock, funk and blues. Every composition had its own essence and ‘Stay’ seemed to be the favorite among Sonic Flare fans.

Sonic Flare at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad

Thanks to dry day the turnout was not great. This did not bring down the spirits of the band and those present, and turned out to be quite an enjoyable evening. The band interacted with the crowd and had great stage presence. Their energy was contagious. Though the sound had some tweaks here and there, it did not affect the performance.

There are only a few bands that play classic rock and blues, Sonic Flare being one of them. With the bluesy vocals of Priyanka, awesome ranges of Nikhil, the classic tones of Neeraj’s guitar, some crazy bass lines by Ajit, the old school tones that Jongky played on the keys and Vinay not skipping a beat on the drums, this band played to perfection. Each member of the band brought his and her own flavor to their music. Despite the small turnout, it was a wonderful evening of classic rock. Nobody really wanted the evening to end.

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Vini Lilian

Vini works with an ad agency. She's a metalhead who can't play metal so she writes about it. She loves tattoos!


The Knopfler Effect – Money for Nothing’s Tribute Gig at UB City, Bangalore





My introduction to Dire Straits wasn’t special. It happened when I first heard ‘Sultans of Swing’ on MTV and for the next few days the tune lingered in my mind – I kept humming it to myself when I realized, that just didn’t cut it. I needed to get their album. That was nine years ago and I still haven’t had enough of them. Dire Straits are not my favourite band but they’re on a pedestal upon which I place few others.

Eventually, more music filled my hard drive, several new bands came into existence, genres of rock started to diversify and I listened to Dire Straits less frequently but somehow, they never got old. A few of my older neighbours, used to talk about the ‘experience’ of listening to Dire Straits, with distant visions of memories clouding their eyes. They used to dreamily talk about how they can never forget Mark and David Knopfler’s magic.

So when I heard about UK’s oldest Dire Straits tribute band Money for Nothing’s performance in my city, I was filled with an urge to watch them. I told myself that a tribute band that has been playing their music for 11 years will have to do since I can never have the real thing. If they’re number 1 in the UK, they must be incredible. With a leap of hope and an eager stride, I headed to UB City where the gig was to happen. The rain gods showed no mercy and it was quite frustrating to stand there in anticipation. I looked around as I waited. Sure enough, there were people lining up in the front to watch a tribute band that showed immense promise. Their faces were eager and earnest. There were excited murmurs, impatient ramblings and feet tapping the ground as if they were clocks ticking at each passing second.

“I hope they play ‘Walk of Life’ dude”

“Can’t they just start already?”

“F*&% these rains! If they don’t play the entire set list I’m going to be pissed”

It was amply clear that everyone was restless and they needed the band to have started fifteen minutes ago!

After what seemed like eons, the band finally arrived on stage. Not surprisingly, the crowd cheered, hooted and howled. Without wasting any time on introductions and fanfare, they began to play. I froze in my spot. Their debut song was ‘Calling Elvis‘. A single thought came to my head – so THAT’S why they’re UK’s number #1 Dire Straits Tribute Band! It was actually that good a cover. Aled Williams, the vocalist, sounded freakishly similar to Mark Knopfler. They played ‘Sultans of Swing’ next – even better. Surely, it wasn’t an exact copy of the original and it wasn’t as good as their first song but I wasn’t expecting genial work from them when it comes to the most popular Dire Straits song. It was still very precise at some places. Only the solo was improvised, and some purists in the crowd whined gloomily at that but not for long.

They then played ‘You and your friend’. It was with this song that things started spiraling downwards. The songs that came afterwards were mostly rushed. The rains are partly to blame but it was disappointing to see a band that was doing well so far suddenly lose all charisma and technique. There were several issues –  the guitars weren’t tuned properly so they had to be tuned in between the performances, the backup vocals ruined Aled’s perfectly synced voice, the keyboard playing was dismal when they played ‘Walk of Life’ and even their signature song ‘Money for Nothing‘. The famous riffs and rhythms that define both songs shouldn’t be difficult to play for a band that has been playing Dire Straits for 11 years. Yet, they didn’t get the basics right. That’s where I was a little let down.

Despite all of these hiccups, the crowd seemed to enjoy the evening and the music. Even the rains didn’t send them back running for cover. To be fair to Money for Nothing, it wasn’t a terrible gig. If you haven’t heard Dire Strait songs, you’d never have thought that they messed up (asides from the dreadful backup vocals – that was just unforgivable). Paul Guy played a fantastic bass and Derek Bisset was spot on with the drums. Also, I doubt if most people actually went to the gig expecting to see John Illsey and Pick Withers reincarnates and Jack Sonni clones.

As my eyes drifted from one person to another in the crowd, I saw a group of rather ebullient old men, raising their hands up to the heavens and singing along to every song. One look at them told me that their hearts were brimming with emotions that I could never fully comprehend.

Tribute gigs are often opportunities for cynical people to lash out at bands and point out just how pathetic they are but for the rest, they’re extensions of memories. They’re a panacea for pain stemming out of nostalgic remembrances of things one might never get to experience again. Tribute gigs such as this one, pull chronicles of the past that once enthralled some people, out from some cherished corner of their hearts. They bring out those moments of joy alive. There is a gap in how that same emotion is conveyed now, from how it was back then but the feelings and the songs remain the same. In some evolved way or form, those sensations continue to pass through people and generations and time. In the eyes of those old men, I could see the same essence that I saw in my neighbours’ as they told me how they felt about listening to Dire Straits. It’s a connection I made subconsciously but it unified them nevertheless.

I’m a Generation Y kid who will never get to see Dire Straits perform but I’ll settle for a band that makes a consistent endeavor to keep their legacy alive.

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Swati Nair

Swati is a writer/sub-editor for What'sTheScene. She enjoys most kinds of music and spends all of her time scouting the Internet and re-watching Star Trek and Swat Kats.


Money For Nothing Tribute To Dire Straits, UB City Bangalore


Heaven’s Down – Dire Straits Tribute Gig





Of late, Delhites have been lucky enough to attend some rock solid gigs. The year started with a bang with the likes of Pentagram, Shaa’ir and Func, Menwhopause who delivered fairly impressive shows. Heaven’s Down formerly known as Ashtoreth are one of the icons of the Delhi rock scene and it goes without saying that a lot was expected from this gig.

Let me start this review with an honest confession. The sound setup of Hard Rock Café – Delhi sucks. Period. Luckily, since this was a Dire Straits tribute gig and the band did not unleash their hard rock roots, there wasn’t much damage done (it would have sounded horrible otherwise, courtesy the rather disastrous sound setup of HRC-Delhi).

The audience was in for a surprise as Leo Anderson (Keyboards) took up the reigns as the lead vocalist and Malan (Lead Vocals) handled the harmonies and only sang lead vocals on classics such as ‘Sultans of Swing’. This tactic worked well and Leo proved to be an exceptionally good Mark-Knopfler-equivalent, if I may say so. Sudarshan Chetrul was back on drums and he provided the much needed dynamic push to the performance making it truly electrifying, something that I always felt, was missing.

The band mesmerized the crowd with ballads such as ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and other soulful performances such as ‘Communique’ and ‘Brothers in arms’ which revealed their versatility.

The rhythm section was tight as ever with Pranav Garvi (Bass) and Sumit Sharma (rhythm guitar) holding the band together, setting the stage for their master lead guitarist Manjit Joseph. Joseph wowed the crowd with his virtuosity. His improvised solo on ‘Heavy Fuel’ was absolutely scintillating. They ended with the last song of the gig – ‘Money for Nothing’ which was slightly underwhelming as it was played without the signature quaky wah-wah laden tone.

Overall, the band really shined through the performance and did justice to Dire Straits by p(l)aying a wonderful tribute!

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Sahil Mohan Gupta

Sahil, the byline may read, but they call him ‘Bones’ because of his undying love for Star Trek. Sahil is a crazy tech journalist at BGR.in, who also happens to be a blues guitarist and a sound engineer based out of Delhi. Oh, and he also has 14 dogs!


The Luke Kenny Mojo Jukebox at The Blue Frog





I love the Blues. I’ve been very recently, completely immersing my self in regular doses of Buddy Guy, SRV, Hendrix and Phil Sayce. So to say I was looking forward to watching the musicians in The Luke Kenny Mojo Jukebox really is an understatement.

Having already had a long day, I was eager to get to my favorite live music venue, The Blue Frog and sit back and soak in some long bends and cold brews. I managed to convince my famous Mallu friend Sujit to accompany me and so we caught a slow train from Malad station, party packs in our bags.

We entered just as the band was starting up. I quickly spied around and saw several usual suspects around the bar and quite a sizeable crowd. Denzil Mathais was on alone showing off his super sounding custom hollowbody guitar, wailing out some warm fuzz which suspiciously sounded like Beethoven’s Symphony No.5. Vinayak Pol and Chirayu Wedekar on drums and bass joined him to start off the song with a bang which turned out to be ‘Roll over Beethoven’. Luke walked out next to a warm welcome and danced the song out. It was a bit funny to see the whole band with scarves on; guess it was some kinda style statement that I don’t get.

After a couple of songs and a Willie Nixon cover, Luke eloquently invited his first guest out, Mahesh Naidu on blues harp, while giving us a serious face and a small history on the next song. The first few notes out of the harp assured me that we were finally getting down to business and doing a real blues number. Muddy Waters’ ‘Hootchie Cootchie Man’ tumbled out and had the crowd grooving immediately. The harp solo was off time for some reason, but the guitar solo really made up with long sweet bends and super vibrato by Denzil. Mahesh just didn’t find his groove as he spat out some odd sounding notes during the next song on the steel flute. I don’t remember what song it was but it didn’t go well, Luke’s dancing didn’t help much.

Next up was Shilpa Rao and I was really hoping the bar would now shift upwards from the ground. She looked a little nervous to begin with but when she started singing she displayed undeniable power there. ‘Nature boy’ was the first song I think, but the impressive singing came only in the next song which was an original. ‘Romeo was in love with me’ is a cool ditty although the solo interludes were basically just Denzil bailing them out. Nice work by the band.

The next song had Luke back on vocals for a nice cover of Dire Straits’ ‘Money for Nothing’ although it still didn’t qualify as blues. I saw a couple of women jiving in front and they stole my attention. Luke decided to not care about pitching anymore in this song.

The funk version of Queen’s ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ was marred by a little sloppy bass playing by the young Chirayu Wedekar and completely off key vocals. The ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ line that Denzil injected a couple of times really didn’t work. Nice tone in the guitar solo though. ‘Baby you can drive my Car’ was dismal. Tight drumming but ironically the only song about driving that night just crashed and died.

Next up was Vasuda Sharma and her Loop station. Nifty device and she managed really well creating a whole section of percussion and backing vocals in all her songs which got the crowd clapping along. Although she had pitch perfect vocals, they were a bit uninspiring. All songs had the loop station build up but she apparently decided that passing off covers of folk and country songs as the blues were good enough as long as she sang some blues notes at the end. I must mention that Neil Gomes who joined her later on ‘These boots were made for walking’ has improved a lot on the violin. The Sax playing was not upto the same mark though. The version of ‘Roadhouse Blues’ really made me sad. They ended with a shoo-be-do version of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ but I guess I was alone in my opinion because the end of her set brought on loud applause from everyone else. My friend Sujit remarked how she reminded him of singers in Goan restaurants with minus one tracks.

The next set saw Trumpet player Paul Rodrigues on a killer version of Prince’s ‘Kiss’. Great wah tone on the guitar, nice vibrato on the long trumpet notes. Tight song. Luke’s next offering was an original that made me wonder if I was fooled into thinking this was a blues gig. It was more of a soft rock song where he sang about how he always confides in his feelings.

I was really not looking forward to Sunidhi Chauhan. I mean anytime you hear a Hindi playback singer attempting blues is bound to make you gag. But boy did she prove me wrong! She looked HOT and she sang with amazing power, soul and feel. ‘Cry me a river’ was a lovely jazz blues number with a nice time signature change inserted a couple of times. It finally seemed like the gig was warming up. Then she blew the roof of the place with Dhruv Ghanekar joining the band onstage for the best performance of the evening. Janis Joplin’s ‘Piece of my heart’ was a great version that displayed some lusty and on purpose off time vocals and super guitar work by Dhruv.

Dhruv then stepped upto the mic to sing a Gary Moore classic, ‘Still got the blues’. I had never heard him sing before but that’s just as well as his singing was nothing to write home about, sounded like he had a bit of a cold maybe. The guitar tone had a nice delay wailing after his solos. Listening to him was a treat until he suddenly started shredding all over the place.

Luke was back after Dhruv exited the stage with a chunky riffed original called ‘Hard Loving Woman’. Very Deep Purple sounding and the band was tight. Great drumming by Vinayak. The last song of the night was Should I stay or should I go,’ a cover of The Clash’s punk anthem. The song had decent vocals and a killer solo courtesy of Dhruv who joined the band again for the last song of the night. Highlight of the song was the conversation between Denzil and Dhruv’s guitar. Denzil managed to more than hold his own displaying for the first time that blues band leader mentality, easily conducting the band as they jammed the song out.

All in all it was a disappointing night of music only because I felt we were served small portions of what was promised as the main course. The musicians on stage were all great and Luke’s band is pretty entertaining. I had earlier asked Rishu Singh whether Luke was a good singer and he mentioned that he has his good and bad nights. I hope this was a bad one.


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Howard Pereira

Howard is a guitarist with Mumbai based bands, Dischordian and Overhung. His other interests include drinking, comic books and occasional writing.