Touted as being one of the most promising bands over the last year, their debut album was looked forward to by many as tangible means to solidify their reputation of being a cut above the rest. Dischordian is an unmistakeably Goan-sounding acoustic folk outfit with elements of jazz; they can speed it up with as much ease as they tone it down. Lead singer Garreth D’Mello has a powerhouse voice that can have songs sounding rustic and comforting, while being equally capable of helming growl-styled songs like ‘Your Right Heel’, which anyone could tell is written from a place of unfiltered rage (justified, since it’s about the Mangalore pub attacks). They also have a very specific talent: making lyrically melancholic songs come out sounding uplifting!
So, backstory dealt with, the day of the gig arrived and I was glad that it was at The Bflat Bar. For all intents and purposes, The Bflat Bar is probably the best venue for the sort of music that the band plays. The perfect spacing and the proximity to the band are perfect for an acoustic set with a little fun thrown in at the end.
A little after 9 o’clock, Garreth walked onstage without much ado and the aimless chatter petered off into the comforting sound of his expert plucking. Starting off on a mellow note (leading the audience into a somewhat false sense of security, considering the mayhem toward the end of the show), ‘One of These Days’ is a song about yearning that conveys the emotion perfectly without falling prey to becoming a prolonged whine. A few bars into the song and the ever-smiling Nigel is up onstage, jumping into things with his melodica. Next up is ‘Stone’ which is a personal favorite of mine. There’s too much feeling in this song to let it go by without special mention! The throaty guitar and restless lyric are particularly endearing.
“What was warm once is cold to the touch,
And the past is a flimsy old crutch”
Guitarist Howard Pereira pussyfooted his way onto stage shortly after the first chorus and Aggie (Agnelo Picardo) walked on last, to add his trumpet to the fray. After some light cajoling to buy the album between songs, they’re off into ‘Baby, Maybe’ – an upbeat ditty with close to nonsense lyric and the best introduction of the set – “This is a song about drinking, so you’ll probably like it.” The clarinet and guitar sounded a bit jarring right down the middle but they recovered with ease.
Nigel surprised me by shifting to the clarinet for the song (but I was soon to get accustomed to this since he ran through several instruments during the course of the gig) as did Aggie who hopped across to lightly assault the drum kit during a later song. You realize that these aren’t just boys with their musical sounding toys; they’re as serious about their music as they are talented exponents of it.
The eagerly-awaited free Feni shots were finally brought up when the band requested people to come up, glasses in tow. There was much hesitation and bribery (a free CD) until someone finally complied and the band got into another song. The band dispatched songs from their album like ‘November’, ‘Must Drink’ and ‘Curtain Call’ – a sombre song with heavy saxophone influences and lyrics that surprise you with their ferocity, and ‘Lover’ for which Garreth flipped his guitar over to play slide and a tambourine appeared suddenly in Nigel’s able grip.
In retrospect, these songs were the perfect lead-up to ‘The Old Whore’, their most popular song. It’s one of those songs that isn’t particularly upbeat but has a crowd crowing with enthusiasm from the word go, with its macabre lyric and catchy chorus. The song was sung several times over (by the band and the audience), with band members grinning ear to ear at our enthusiasm to sing the words “for the old whore” over and over (and over) again.
George from Lounge Piranha was the surprise guest artist and along with the band, did a cover of LP’s ‘Handhold’, which was enjoyable. At the behest of our screaming “Another!” and “Encore” and the more direct “Don’t stop!”, they also covered “Let It Be” and Garreth grinningly sang the naughtiest version of La Bamba I have ever heard!
There was yet another attempt at The Old Whore before they wrapped up the show with a very cool cover of Hunters and Collectors’ ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’, made popular by Pearl Jam.
A rip-roaring success, the gig had just the right amount of everything and I hope Dischordian decides to hit the Bangalore circuit harder the next time they come around!
Howard’s “I may be able to change this water into more Feni since I’ve been told I look like Jesus” joke.
Aggie’s notes stand disintegrating at a glance.
Nigel’s two-gulp downing of an audience-sponsored shot.