Tag Archives: Opus
Barry The Boss live at Opus, Bangalore
Lou Majaw and friends at Opus, Bangalore
Fly Music Festival pre-party ft. Millennium at Opus, Bangalore
The Raghu Dixit Project at Opus, Bangalore
The Raghu Dixit Project stands out from other bands because of the absolute ease with which they connect with the crowd. Christmas Eve saw Opus Bangalore packed to the hilt with no space to take a step and the undeniable warmth of the Christmas spirit made its presence felt immediately. The densely packed tables placed close to the stage seemed awfully inappropriate for such an energetic show, but given the guest artists who graced the stage the past 7 days – Opus was definitely the place to be this Christmas. Raghu Dixit – almost a household name now, took to the stage at half past nine, with a considerably changed lined up – Wilfred D’moz on Drums / Percussion, a very youthful looking Parth Chandiramani on the Flute and Bryden Stephen Lewis on Guitars.
Raghupathy Dixit brought folk music to the front lines of the music scene of a city that saw all sorts of influences – from western classical music to college rock to jazz and blues, the dominion being sounds from the west. But what he manages to do is entwine eastern sounds and infuse carnatic notes with western instruments and sing in three languages (English, Hindi and Kannada) that instantly strikes a chord with the people of Karnataka. After playing Hey Bhagwan from his debut album, with which he opened the gig, Masti ki basti was the new song that he rolled out. The performance of this song saw both Gaurav Vaz and Raghu jumping in unison – the rhythm rising to a lively jig that brought a smile to many faces there.
Raghu manages to bring the folk genre of Bhagavathee to the forefront with his songs. A genre peculiar to Karnataka, Bhagavathee (literally means ’emotion poetry’) is a form of expressionist poetry and light music. Most of the poetry sung in this genre pertains to subjects like love, nature, and philosophy.
Kodagana Koli Nungitta was the next song he sang. Originally a Kannada folk song, (details of which you can find here), he turned it around to make it seem like a composition of absolute brilliance. It started off sounding like Jazz, moved into the familiar sounds of a folk song interjected with Carnatic sounds from the flute, and culminated with Rock n Roll! For those of you who need an introduction to what Raghu can do to old tunes, heres an example.
If you havent been initiated into the Raghu Dixit Project fan group yet, you must listen to the songs from his first album that he played at this gig Gudgudiya sedi nodo, Mysore se aayi, Im in Mumbai, waiting for a miracle and No man will ever love you, like I do, the last one being a soulful melody that can tug at the heart strings of any lovelorn bloke.
What surprised me most was how the flautist supplemented the band after the departure of the violinist. I was glad to be introduced to the newer songs that he played Jag Changa, which he said would be the title track of their next album. It had a nice rhythm and vocal parts and every member of the band sang the harmony to this song flawlessly. Another track – Lokada Kaalaji had awesome riff lines and was fun to sing along to.
Yaadon ki kyaari was about Raghus childhood back in Nasik, where he was born. A laidback song where the guitarist uses a ukulele and the flautist plays the melodica. Just maath maathalli, Munjaane manjalli, Neene Beku, and Mahadeshwara were the other numbers that they played. Considering that their first self-titled album came a full four years back, Raghu reassured the crowd that the second one would come out towards the end of January next year.
Their website proclaims the band as often being called India’s biggest cultural and musical export, and with good reason too because travelling frequently to play at countries like the US, Mexico, England (they played for the Queen on her 60th year anniversary since her accession to the throne) is no easy task. This band can only see greater success in the future!
Adam And The Fish Eye Poets at Opus, Bangalore
The Supersonics at Opus, Bangalore
When The Supersonics took the stage at Opus on Friday, one mightve thought that theyd died.
No, Im not talking about audience expiry by pleasure, but the band itself. The photographic slideshow on loop that served as backdrop to the bands set consisted of old gig posters (that showed the bands excellent sense of visual style) and a mix of performance, publicity, and fly-on-the-wall pictures shot with a stored-for-decades-in-an-old-shoebox feel teased a nostalgic tear from my eye. Of course, you had four men who roughly corresponded to the photographs playing music on stage, but I still got the feeling that some page had been turned even if the same content was being replicated.
The Supersonics, of course, are a Famous band. Not famous, but Famous, i.e. in 2012 theyre spoken of in appropriate circles as The Supersonics are back, even as the occasional interloper lay back and thought of Seattle. A band that stormed into popular consciousness in 2008-09, they released the album Maby Baking in 2009 and gained airplay on MTV too (as if that is a measure of popularity anymore) before disbanding in 2010. But, now, The Supersonics are back.
The past year, I happened to live in Kolkata. Though I harboured vague memories, for the most part, I knew of Rohan Ganguli as the guitarist for The Saturday Night Blues Band – one that popped up any day of the week to play at Someplace Else (really, thats the name of the venue. Theres also a The Other Place in Kolkata. When the Supersonics reunited, I was in attendance for both their first secret reunion gig that had been appended as a secret Japanese bonus performance to a concert featuring The Lightyears Explode,Blek and the aforementioned SNBB. Then there was a later show, also at Someplace Else, at the Kolkata edition of the Kingfisher BeerUp.
Both performances can best be described as enh. Home-turf advantage, an intimate venue and a crowd that could sing-along to Yeah, Whatever – what more did they need? Yet, enh. Perhaps they were just rusty.
And that brings us to this particular performance. Opus itself has always struck me as a slightly loopy place, its combination of an open space (with a barely-there roof to keep the outside out) and low slab tables amongst pebbles reminding me mostly of a makeshift wartime medical camp. It didnt help that the walking wounded were amongst the crowd during gig night I saw at least a couple of people with a winced stride, and one casted and crutched.
Its slightly better than HRC, in that the band arent treated like caged animals with a restraining order that stipulates a minimum distance to be maintained between musicians and crowd, but still not optimal for a concert, and certainly not for a band like The Supersonics. Barely a handful of the people in attendance were standing and the rest seemed to be there for Opus and not the band (one table paid its bill and left in the middle of the set). To borrow a phrase, this crowd was a Wimbledon crowd and not a Rajnikanth crowd no singing along and outward expressions of emotion here; all were seated and clapping politely.
The band didnt care.
Right from their first note, they brought it.
Rohan, of course, has always looked like Nosferatu teasing a guitar, while drummer Avinash and bassist Nitin fit snugly, but the man to watch is frontman Ananda Sen – he is electrifying. He looks like an anorexic John Reis (which, come to think of it, a large portion of Kolkata does) and is 100 percent coiled tension bound by the limited stage, swaying and writhing in place while barely cracking a smile, ever-threatening to break free and pounce at the closest table – or at the least pinch their beer.
They tore through their initial set, including Maby Baking staples Far From the Human Race, 170 and In Memory Of, without comment or complaint, yet with a spark that had been missing from their earlier concerts. Maybe theyd just found their groove again. They broke after a (seemingly) criminal barely forty minutes, announcing that they were done for the night. The crowd looked nonplussed for a minute and then, with a vague tinge of feeling short-changed, returned to their food. After about fifteen minutes, the band took the stage again without any flamboyance of an encore, and played on for a further half hour, mingling old cuts like Policemen and Nice Guys with new material as well.
Admittedly, while theyre an absolute hoot to experience, theres a fair amount of spot the influence in their songs and the Supersonics are a band that wear their influences on their sleeves (or their t-shirts, as the case may be) at the least one can spot tinges of the Velvet Underground, Green Day and Weezer in their music (my notes from the set include a scrawl that reads that song that sounds like the Sweater Song). But, thats fine. Really, I mean that theyre good enough, fun enough and bring enough originality to the table that the influences remain just that, influences, and dont veer into the territory of that nebulous film industry euphemism, inspiration.
Listening to Maby Baking after having seen them live felt like something inferior after something superior, for which an appropriate metaphor shall be inserted at a later date. The donkey-kick to the gut of the drums, the buttery groove of the bass, edgy guitars and, above all, the vital yelps of the vocals are certainly worth the trip, and then some contrast the live and album version of In Memory Of, for example. I cant stress this strong enough if you have the chance to watch them live, GO.
Maybe I was just feeling sentimental on the night, but looking at those photographs made me sad, even though I could see the band right in front of me. Blame the filters used, but the band on screen seemed to be from another age, while the band on stage…?
It doesnt matter, does it?
The Supersonics were, but now the Supersonics are.