Tag Archives: OKBYE!

Fire Exit at Manajsa Cafe, Delhi

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A glowing halo around the stage, multi-dimensional streaks of lights spanning the floor  of Manajsa Café, Hauz Khas – all of this added to the exuberant performance by Fire Exit – a Delhi based progressive alternate rock band. A product of time and talent, the band’s own unrelenting ambition was truly expressed on the stage with its performance of all the tracks from their 6-track EP called OKBYE!

The first official studio release by Fire Exit showcased its proficiency in varied styles of genres; combining rock, metal and electronic sounds. The tracks ranged from acoustic-ambient nature to ones with a heavier feel. The band blends great vocal melody along with instrumental harmony, and is based on experimentation with varied time signatures, jazz-influenced bass-lines and an Indian percussion instrument.

‘Poison Ivy‘, ‘Vacuum‘, ‘MML‘ were the tracks where the tabla gave an intriguing turn to the way the songs progressed, evoking tranquility among the musicians and the audience alike. The band also did a couple of covers including ‘Secret’ by Maroon 5, ‘White Knuckles’ by Alter Bridge, and ‘Creep’ by Radiohead. Not to forget Subhadra Kamath’s bewitching performance reminiscent of Myles Kennedy (that made me hoot in quite an unlady-like manner). Hot guitars gave an energetic beat, with smooth soloing rhythm, accented by shakers and tambourine; paving way to the sizzling musical chemistry between the lead vocalist Subhadra Kamath and the bassist Aditya Roy. Now THAT definitely did not go unnoticed. Killer wah on the drop!

Besides the melody, the impressive song writing had me strung-out all through the gig. I simply love the art form of song writing and yes, agreeing to what Glen Hughes says that it is through song writing that you get to carry a lot of vibes to a lot of people. They tend to find themselves in the songs. Similarly Subhadra’s lyrics hooked and reeled me in till I was drowning in the melody so deep that resurfacing took me a long, long time (I ended up buying three CDs!)

Disappointingly, there were less takers than one would expect at the Cafe. The Indian rock industry has gone through a metamorphosis in the last decade, becoming a melting pot of influences. It comes across as more open to experimentation than bands outside of the country. However, there might be a need to sound out a distress call soon. Especially, considering the fact that we still see people going annoyingly berserk over western influences.

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OKBye! by Fire Exit

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Most people first got a glimpse of Fire Exit through the 2008 compilation release, Stupid Ditties 2. ‘MML’ was one the songs that stood out as it had a different vibe to it. Their debut EP has managed to capture the same easy vibe. Although the songs are complex in terms of time signature switches and vocal harmonies, the collection still comes across as simple yet thought provoking.

Subhadra’s vocals ring of familiarity, but you’d find it hard to really settle on a definite influence. Her voice sounds mature yet innocent as she delivers textures of harmonies on ‘Waiting For’. Nice subdued percussions close the song out well.

Poison Ivy’ starts off with a Tabla and Guitar intro. Varun is on form displaying some great tabla work and the whole band sounds great on what is my favorite song on the EP.

When I heard the guitar intro of ‘Vacuum’ I went straight to my guitar to learn the riff. Beautiful acoustic harmonics and great delivery in the vocals as she dips in and out of the blues scale in parts.

The Spark’ has a very RHCP feel to it with its pronounced bass line and clean guitars with slight swells. The song just goes ahead and reminds us all that we’re listening to a band that has defined their music and know enough about themselves to write honestly and intelligently.

Heroes’ has a nicely crafted rhythm that suddenly turns into a driving groove as Subhadra croons “You don’t remember all the times you failed, as long as you know you’ve tried.”

Its only fitting that the placement of ‘MML’ is last on the EP. Nice blend of jazz chords and progressive bass lines. Superb harmonies and definitely the lead song of the EP. ‘MML’ closes out a great offering by a talented bunch of musicians. The album is well produced, and the art work on the cover is unconventional and goes well with the band’s sound. If you haven’t heard them yet, listen and order a copy.

Howard Pereira

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

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