Tag Archives: Porcupine Tree

An Eye for Music


One of the most delightful conundrums of music is that while it had almost solely been hailed as an enchanter of the ear, its proliferation into the phenomenon that it has become has been dependant largely on the visual dimension. To put it bluntly, music has been parading as a non-optic art even though half its appeal lies in visualization. Not merely stage presence, but even music videos and the artists’ presentation in terms of fashion and symbology shapes the listener’s perception of and response to the music.

In all truth, can you imagine your favorite group never touring? Can you imagine never having the opportunity to gauge their skills without the sound processors and the benefits of jaw-dropping equipment? You really can’t. Even if the chances of you actually getting to watch Radiohead or Draconian or Steve Wilson is slim, you still go to YouTube and check their live performances because, in this age of auto-tuning and musical contraptions whose names I can’t even spell, the live show is our last resort to judge the quality of what the artists purports to stand upon.

But the appeal of the live gig does not merely end with a perfect rendition of your favorite song. The very vision of musicians physically handling instruments and singing, the movement in time, or even out of time with the rhythm adds a sense of validity to the music. Think about it. Aerosmith’s performance of ‘Dream On’ at the concert for Tania Vasileva is completely different from anything else they’ve done, and mainly because Steven Tyler makes this voodoo-ballet arm motion which is frankly, mesmerizing, even with his obviously tired voice. Think Steven Wilson gesturing furiously while singing ‘What Happens Now’ in Tillburg [remember when he twirls his fingers? A perfect cross between Moriarty and Bellatrix Lestrange!] Everything, from the color of lighting to the motions of the artist become a part of the listener’s receptive sensation. Karsh Kale’s collaboration with The Midival Punditz in the Paleo Fest ’09 in Geneva brings to mind the effect visual arrangement has upon what the music ‘feels’ like. There is none to deny that the play of light and shade on stage and beyond it has manipulated countless listeners into the state of mind that the music desires.

An Eye for Music

The personal nuances of the musician’s physical expression, in accompaniment with the music incorporates a sense of completeness. Yanni’s enormous performances set at the great monuments of the world make a direct statement upon the grandiosity and the power his music never fails to achieve. The music that, on an album is more of a simple auditory expression, when heard live, infuses into the listener a certain bodily consciousness.

Nowhere is music’s visual significance more evident than in the rock and metal community. Both genres have a fanbase that chooses to define itself by visual means, be it clothing, accessories or personal style. In essence, the black clothing and the long hair and the tattoos do not merely proclaim the fan’s loyalty, but also collect the individual into a sense of artistic community. It might sound trivial, but eons of similar cultural functioning would state otherwise.

Interestingly, the visual facet of music finds an expression in something called “visual music”. A term coined by art critic Roger Fry to describe the work of Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky, it refers to use of musical structures in visual art or methods that translate music into visual presentation. This form is frequently found in the works of experimental musicians like Porcupine Tree or Japanese noise artist Merzbow or Indian guitar virtuoso Amyt Dutta. Try Dutta’s video of ‘Ironic Bironic’ and you’ll see what I mean. Or check out any of Porcupine Tree’s live shows, which are incomplete without a background kaleidoscope of Lasse Hoile’s photography. Album art, infact, contributes enormously to conveying a message or establishing an ethic. Why else would Cat Stevens or Cannibal Corpse take such pains to devise album art that have gone on to become the stuff of legend? Let’s not forget The Bicycle Days creating album covers that seems right of a Beatles style LSD trip? The visual part is not just an accompaniment but serves to enhance the influence of the music.

An Eye for Music

Of course, such influence is noticeable only in the case of artists that make conscious use of imagery in tandem with their melody. Most often, the visual paradigm is confined to music videos. Barring those that choose to merely random images without making an actual point , the video offers a great amplification of the musical intent. The video can contribute, to an astounding extent in understanding the musician’s conclusions. Case in point : Tool’s ‘Parabol/Parabola’ video, Wilson’s ‘Harmony Corine’ or Unkle’s ‘Rabbit in your Headlights’. The irrefutable truth of humanity’s preference for that which can be seen makes visual artistry an undermined but inalienable part of music in its entirety.

The existence of a neurological condition called ‘synesthesia’ that enables human beings to actually visualize music in colors and visual shapes is reflected in the artistry of most experimental musicians.

Sure, many of them resort to obscurantism, but you’re bound to come across unforgettable tales written in a combination of image and sound. Bring to mind the soundtrack of Ben Hur or The Dark Knight Trilogy or even Eraserhead. The music’s excellence first struck us because of its skill in accentuating and manipulating our sentiments in accordance to the film’s events. Moreover, some of the most harrowing and engaging music in the world, namely psychedelia, attempts to replicate a state of mind dominated by intoxicant-induced images. Syd Barrett or John Lennon certainly devoted a large part of their imagination to the construction of music that sought to enhance your ‘high’, and popular opinion would have you convinced that the ‘high’ is almost entirely a profusion of uncanny images.

Music is the most embracing of all art forms. Never meant to be isolated, music makes inroads into every consciousness and does so by appealing to every one of the listener’s senses, among which the visual is the most accessible. Human perception, unless otherwise hindered is primarily active through the eyes. Music, in its complete aspect harnesses and harmonises the visual to the auditory in creating a sentimental and psychological response.

Shreya Bose

Shreya Bose is an English grad who is rethinking her dedication to academia and trying to figure out the secret to personal sanity. Currently, writing seems like the only activity that offers both inspiration and catharsis. When free, she overdoses on Yukio Mishima and Kahlua.


Ambiance de Danse by Amyt Datta


Amyt Datta’s work is for no casual listener.  The prolific nature of his work is no surprise to anyone who is acquainted with the Indian offshoots of experimental music. He began fiddling with the combination of uncharacteristic and apparently incompatible sounds before the recent popularity of Porcupine Tree and Opeth made it cool.  In his latest outburst of musical genius, Datta pairs up with Pinknoise and Skinny Alley drummer, Jivraj Singh to create the album that is bound to raise standards for musicians all over the country.

Ambiance de Danse is, like most of Datta’s work, unpredictable. Unlike Pinknoise, which  creates an atmosphere reminiscent of lounge music groups like Pink Martini or Lemongrass peppered with Indian condiment and effectively bellies their technical expertise, or Skinny Alley  that tries to draw from a mellowed down jazz-based, Dizzie Gillespie slash Glorybox-ish ethic, Ambiance de Danse takes on a more aggressive avatar.  Wholly instrumental, the songs are endlessly expressive. They mostly utilize a dominant synth sound which is accentuated and manipulated by subtle string work and muted drums. Take ‘Ironic Bironic’, for instance, it is a harrowing amalgam of sounds that are representative of emotional responses. The choral sound is easily appropriate for a  90s Broadway musical, something along the lines of the Rocky Horror Show.

The thing about Ambiance de Danse is that most of the tracks seem less meant to catch the listener’s sense of “groove” and more to elicit some kind of deeper emotive reaction. The songs all feature the same kind of sound but their arrangement is explosively different. ‘Camellia’ features a more ‘romantic’ sweep of guitar work punctuated by non-melodic sounds that rapid deflection of musical mood from wistful to cautious and back. Psychedelic influences are scattered throughout the album. ‘Electric Insenity’ and ‘Tymas Twins’ may feature a speedier progression than common, but the revolving sounds and the constant use of an extended background tone produces the unconventional primal sound psychedelia demands.

‘Dance Acoustica’ begins with a Carnatic sound and has the most noticeable and straightforward rhythm in the album. But, it is hardly simplistic. In every song, Datta and Singh establish their sound in a certain key and then take turns diverging from it and swerving off it, making the sound not just uncommon, but downright delightful. ‘Ambiance de Danse’, the eponymous track, literally forces you to expect the unexpected in about a thousand ways.

The clarity of the instruments creates a strange effect. Each sound in a song is heard distinctly, and yet all these sounds complement each other perfectly to form a flawless unit.  If one listens closely, the songs have been embellished with a multiplicity of little sounds which enable the creation of a specific …ambience, allowing the songs simultaneous specificity as well as spontaneity.

Both Datta and Singh have retained their signature styles, while departing completely from their previous compositions. Jivraj brings his dirty industrial inclination into the music while Amyt wanders into the alleys of boundless dissonance and exploration.  They come together in a flurry of improvisational-sounding pieces that , even without words, makes perfect sense to those who can listen and associate.

I wouldn’t call the album flawless, no album, not even Thriller or In Utero, ever has been. The sounds may seem repetitive, and it does take a while to settle into the music that makes use of no catchy chorus or an immediately likeable beat.  But for the serious listener, Ambiance de Danse spins its flaws into merits. In fact, to get a feel of their intent, I would recommend  the video for Ironic Bironic, crafted by Yoshi Sodeoka. This album guarantees a trip for your insight and intellectual aesthetics, but only when you decide to reach beyond any idea of literal interpretation.

Shreya Bose

Shreya Bose is an English grad who is rethinking her dedication to academia and trying to figure out the secret to personal sanity. Currently, writing seems like the only activity that offers both inspiration and catharsis. When free, she overdoses on Yukio Mishima and Kahlua.


Words to Epilogues by Heretic


The idea that stems from the ill-begotten notion that Indian rock/metal bands just can’t sound like international acts: the sound quality, the mix, everything is always to be a notch below what we hear on (insert international band’s name here)’s songs, is something that Heretic shatters with delight. The general sound itself is simply put: pleasing. Here’s a band you want think of and say: They need to make it. They deserve every accolade they get for the jewel that is Words to Epilogues.

‘Echoes from a Canvas’ is a prelude that belies the ensuing aggression in the album, but lays a clear foundation of depth in the band’s music, which you dive straight into with ‘Reprise’.

‘Reprise’ gives you a riff-based hook filled earful. The first thing that strikes you is the quality of the mixing: there’s a crisp and distinct drum sound, perfectly mixed cymbals, (don’t forget the drool-worthy snare sound), and a perfectly underplayed almost inconspicuous bass-line by Benjamin Thomas on this track. The twin guitar solo followed by a Porcupine Tree’s ‘Trains’-like acoustic transition highlights the band’s focus on the melodic element of their music. The growls keep you rooted to the aggression that the band channels.

After listening to the first track, one might lean towards turning the EQ off/setting it flat: Heretic have given a lot of attention to their portrayal of themselves on a non-live platform.

‘Choice’ is a 100kmph (200bpm?) foray into the technical realm. This track is a drummer’s delight, and Kevin Paul Prichard seems to revel in this glory. There is never any (mindless?) repetition on this track, but the hooks are succinct and played frequently enough to stay in your conscious memory long after the music has stopped, without sounding cheesy, lending breath and breadth to the song. The classical gamagas on the vocals are signature Heretic, and one will find oneself keeping an ear out for just those. They’re done beautifully, and the band plays to Akhil Unnikrishnan’s vocal skill. However, one is inclined to feel that the clean vocals carry the song well enough that the growls can, sometimes, be done without. The growls feel a little reedy at worst, and the demand on the singer due to the progressive, eclectic nature of the song makes one wonder how reproducible this music is live. The vocal ending on this track is a testament to Akhil’s prowess as a singer. Hareesh Kumar’s and Abhijit Namboodiripad’s guitars dominate the vocals sometimes on this track, but that’s a technicality that only a cynical sound engineer will complain about. At almost six minutes long, the band risks boring the listener after 5, but having said that, the guitar solo is slick, devoid of nonsensical overplaying, and the rhythmic phrasing is hits the sweet spot, which can be used to argue that it just took that long to build the song up. Fair enough.

‘Slaves and the System’ is dark, and if you’re angry (right now, or as a person), you will resonate with this track. Three tracks into the album, and Heretic makes its impression on the listener: they love being in-your-face and their music is instantly gratifying. Lovers of riff based heavy guitar work: rejoice. This music is hook-fest at worst! The vocals on this track, like the rest of the music, are wet, filthy, and glorious. One might argue that the vocals here just work, while simultaneously leading one to wonder: what would it sound like with more vocal harmony, considering that the chorus/verse structure is almost begging for it? Or, will more growls throw the music into a darker, angrier place?

‘Words to Epilogues’ is reminiscent of Periphery. Heretic does their best to keep the music fresh, which, generally speaking, is always a challenge. The band’s collective thought processes reflect a desire to always address the technical element of the music, yet never depart from the realm of easy, almost palatable listenability – even in a song that is 7 minutes long. This song is a vocal and guitar delight off the bat, but 1:30 minutes into the song, none of that seems to matter. One is inclined to think it is fitting that this is the title track, and one may like for this to be the signature song of the band, if there ever was one; but one might also be biased towards ‘Thoughts’ (video), which has the advantage of creating a visual impression, in addition to being an auditory bonanza. ‘Words to Epilogues’ requires one’s careful attention; if there ever was a labour-of-love for this band, this might just be it. The conclusion of this song is a staunch reminder of the excellent quality of the production (Keshav Dhar, Skyharbor.)

‘Alone’ is the band’s departure from the complexity and the depth of the early tracks. The layout of the songs reflects a live set-list like ensemble of tracks. Having said that, one might be disappointed with this track because of the departure from the more progressive earfuls that delighted one not five minutes ago.

‘Bleed to Heal’ follows with a welcome tone change, and the quality of the mixing only seems to improve with every track that Heretic have put on their album. This track almost cries for more vocal harmonies. ‘Thoughts’ displays a Words to Epilogues-like tone (guitar-wise and on the whole), and if one isn’t convinced of Heretic’s ability to tap into what seems like its members’ fantastic musical facilities, then replay this album from start to finish.

‘Thoughts’ sounds like a farewell that the band does not want to make – the angst rises to a crescendo, and then descends into a ‘Ring of Colours’, which reflects the sheer intellect of the band in that it can induce a sense of auditory déjà vu, and subsequently bids the listener farewell until the next time she pushes play.

Give Heretic a listen, and find yourself nodding in approval.

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Sidharth Mohan

Sidharth Mohan is the founder of ‘What’s The Scene’ and a biophysicist. A musician in his own right, he started WTS while still a part of a local band in Bangalore. When not working with gloves and a lab coat, he spends his time travelling, swimming and jamming.


Album Review: Evolve by Indus Creed


Original Indian rock has had quite a chequered history. Several acts have made bright starts only to sputter out into oblivion a few years later. Several acts have appeared promising but have faded away before anything substantial materialized. But then there are some other acts that have persevered through a fair share of ups and downs, and found their niche in terms of their sound, presence and appeal.

And then there’s Indus Creed.

Quite easily the big daddy of the rock music scene in India, the band that released Rock n’ Roll Renegade (As Rock Machine, in 1989), when this writer was barely out of the diaper stage, hit big time with its appearances on big music channels, an acclaimed video for ‘Pretty Child’ and a rather kitschy one for ‘Top of the Rock’. A couple of albums and some collectors’ edition tapes later, the band decided to call it quits with its members going their own way. Along the way, partial avatars of the band sprung up here and there, with Alms for Shanti (check out ‘Kashmakash’) being the most notable.

And thus, it was with much glee that the news of Indus Creed’s revival after a decade and a half of exile was welcomed whole-heartedly. A year and something of playing at venues around the country, the band announced the release of their comeback album Evolve.  And it does not disappoint. Well, not entirely. Straight out of the CD cover (with excellent artwork, although some sleeve-work would have been nice), one gets the feeling that this is not the Indus Creed of yore.

‘Fireflies’ starts things off in style. Layered with tones that wouldn’t be entirely out of place in the 80s and 90s, the song has an evocative feel around it. The song really kicks in on the chorus along with the bass and some nice harmonies on the vocals. With a couple of teaser solos on the keyboard and guitar, the song definitely sets the mood for the album to follow. Uday Benegal’s voice sounds fuller than its 90s avatar. Another thing that is immediately apparent is the quality of production— the mixing and mastering is terrific.

The album then moves to its second track, ‘Dissolve’. The distorted guitar kicking in after arpeggiated intro, sits in the mix very comfortably, yet adds a significant power to the song. The odd rhythm (10-beat cycle?), is very reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, almost Sound of Muzak like. Lyrically, this song is the strongest in the entire album. The chorus kicks in with a bang, and is easily my favourite section of the album. It also fits in very nicely with the album cover.

Mahesh Tinaikar’s guitar solo rises nicely above the rest of the instruments after the second chorus. The spoken-word section doesn’t really stick it for me, although the evolving soundscapes are nice. The almost vocal only third chorus and the throwback to the intro are nicely pulled off. The longest song at 7:38, it is great to see a somewhat different, slightly heavier side to Indus Creed’s music. A definite evolution from the Rock Machine sound! A big thumbs up to Rushad Mistry’s basswork and Jai Row Kavi on the drums as well.

‘The Money’ follows next, and it’s a bit of a letdown. With its marching beat style intro, electronic influences et al, the song does not quite stick it. After the strong opening in a couple of songs, the song doesn’t quite keep the mood. The excellent guitar solo towards the end does nothing to change that sentiment. The theme of the song lyrically also does not seem as strong as some of the other tracks on the album.

‘Take it Harder’ follows and normal service is resumed with a hard hitting song, with excellent soundscape building on the intro courtesy Zubin Balaporia. The song is excellently written, and Uday Benegal’s vocals really shine through on this one. Well structured, with stellar guitar work, the solo oozes feel and the soundscapes added towards the end of the solo only add to the charm. Jay Row Kavi’s drumming is almost meditative in places. This song is a close second behind ‘Dissolve’ in terms of favourites from the album for me.

Another longish song follows in ‘No Disgrace’. There’s a bit of a throwback to the likes of Extreme and Mr. Big, the song has its own highs and lows. The band, as a whole, shines through nicely as a unit, but the song isn’t as memorable as some of the other tracks. The progressive bent of mind is again very apparent, with some Rush-like keyboard tones, one can almost imagine Geddy Lee coming in with a couple of lines just before the guitar solo. The song highlights the individual skills of the band quite nicely though.

‘Come Around’ kicks off with a nice acoustic guitar intro. Dripping with nostalgia, the song is lyrically a throwback to a time gone by. The song is balladish at times, and is the mellowest of the album in terms of its structure as well as tone and it definitely keeps the mood nostalgic. The production value shines through brilliantly on this track. Uday Benegal’s vocals drive the song and are almost reminiscent of the ‘Pretty Child’ days.

‘Bulletproof’ is a hard hitting out-and-out rocker. The song is of a different vintage from the rest of the album, and is, most definitely, one for the stage. This one would, no doubt, be something to get a crowd going at a nice venue blaring out from the PA. The band sounds nice and tight, with the bass and drum section really coming across in a great fashion.

‘Goodbye’ winds things down for Evolve. The song has a happy nostalgic air about it. While Indus Creed would have us believe that ‘the dream was struck by reality’ and that the bigger dream would have a bigger fall, a resurrection of sorts could be just as big if not bigger. In some ways, it is an appropriate track to close out the album, shutting the door on one chapter while opening another to a possibly more exciting one.

In conclusion, the album does feel a little short and leaves me wanting for more. There are several moments on the album where Indus Creed shows us just why they were so revered back in the day, while at the same time, there are frustratingly ordinary moments as well.

All said and done, Uday Benegal, Mahesh Tinaikar, Zubin Balaporia, Rushad Mistry and Jai Row Kavi have put together an eminently enjoyable album. A special mention to Tim Palmer and company for the mixing and the production. Evolve sounds just as good on hi-fi speakers, headphones and on the car stereo. Another special mention to Zorran Mendonsa for shaping Evolve’s guitar sound, which is phenomenal!

Here’s hoping that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for Indus Creed. Audiences in India are more mature, appreciative and informed these days and exciting times surely lie ahead.

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Bharath Bevinahally

The writer is a generally fat, slow moving creature, who loves to eat and swears by South Indian filter coffee. He also daylights as a consultant for an IT major.


Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Fire on Dawson

Outlaw’d 2012, the annual fest of the National Institute of Juridical Sciences saw German rock band Fire on Dawson headlining the second day of the three-day-festival on the 7th of February, 2012. No stranger to our shores, this was the band’s second tour in India after having performed at Mood Indigo and IIM Bangalore in 2011. Fire on Dawson has Ankur Batra on vocals and occasional acoustic guitars, Markus Sticker on guitars, Martin Sonnbag on bass and Max Seigmund on drums.

Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

The band took to the stage at precisely 8:00 p.m. on a not-so-chilly Kolkata evening. They broke into the intro to the set with a groovy bass line that sounded almost like a tribal war-call! Marcus then kicked in with a heavy, groovy riff as the band segued into their first song, a yet-to-be named track off their upcoming album set for release in mid-2012. The drummer did some intricate double-bass tricks on this track – a completely headbangable number!

Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Next up was another track off their upcoming album. It was a rather small instrumental track that started off with a jumpy groove, the tension slowly building up by way of the drums and bass. The band then gave away CDs of their debut album which were picked up by two lucky fans; one of them even managed to get his copy autographed at the end of the show!

Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

What followed was another soothing number with some crunchy guitar riffs; in fact, it felt like an intro to their next song ‘Stuck in Infinity’. Ankur was armed with an acoustic guitar this time, starting off with another mellow number that sounded a lot like Porcupine Tree. It was quite nice but I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous ones. This was followed by a little background on the band, about how it was formed, what their philosophies are and so on.

Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Up next was a song about dreams titled ‘Red’. The song was pretty good with a sublime/comforting rhythm and a beautiful interlude breaking into the verse. While it was one of the better songs of the evening, the vocalist seemed to have some issues – although he was singing alright, something just didn’t click in many of the tracks. Next, they started off with another song from their upcoming album – an instrumental track with a psychedelic, delay-based tone and lots of bluesy chords. In the midst of all this, there was a stop-break when the drummer was keeping count with his sticks; he accidentally hit his own fingers midway but recovered beautifully, with the whole band landing together bang on time, covering up the glitch like pros! Another new song followed – apparently it was the first time they were performing it live. Next was a headbangable number titled ‘Spanish’ and sure enough it had the crowd headbanging in no time!

Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Up next was ‘Losing Time’; the vocalist sounded pretty good on this track; it was another one of their jumpy tracks and he did a wonderful job of actively getting the crowd involved. However, by this time their song structure sounded predictable and repetitive. The next track was titled ‘Hit me’, with the guitarist using a weird crunchy tone, bending the guitar neck, hitting the body, doing a lot of different things – this one was their most dramatic tracks.

Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Then came the encore, with the crowd enthusiastically reacting to “Do you need one more??” from the vocalist. Their setlist ended with ‘Lakeeren’, a Hindi track tracing the vocalist’s roots back to India. This track reminded me of R.E.M back in the old days.

Fire on Dawson at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

With a ceremonial bow at the end of the show, the band was done for the evening. While the gig was overall a good experience, I didn’t enjoy it too much – just enough.”

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Joy Chakraborty

Debdutto 'Joy' Chakraborty is the skinniest music fanatic, plays some guitar, jumps around trees, and likes to stay in the shadows. He is also studying B.Tech as a side project.


ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore


We were late. 2:30 p.m. on a Sunday just can’t be viewed as a strict time to start anything, so we rocked up well into Allegro Fudge’s set. They were really in the heat of it and quite an audience had already assembled.

You really can’t underestimate the power of The Beatles, and after ‘Colours Fly’, Allegro Fudge truly erupted with ‘Hey Jude’ – was it ‘Gay Dude’, or did we mishear? They filled up the 40 feet ceiling of Toit’s central area: sound guys got stuff down tight! Sahaas was in his element more than I’ve ever seen him before, heavily involved with an adoring audience. The rest of the evening was no different, the crowd today was really happy to be there, loved everything, and waited patiently for more. Allegro had a new bassist as well: she hasn’t confirmed joining them full time, so I guess we hang tight and wait for the big news. A bass change could be fairly significant in the long run as we’ve already seen with TAAQ quite recently.

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

Toit of course, has the best pizza in a 100 km. radius (they’re slipping a touch, but still), and a stage that has been dying to be played on. It’s set about halfway up a three storey open plan which sets itself up for a very relaxed jam atmosphere. The frontman though, has to end up targeting five to six different audience locations. It is heaps of fun to watch, and I imagine it’s an absolute joy to play. What they’ve entirely ignored: any lighting whatsoever! The announcer keeps calling the event “unplugged”. It’s anything but for a music school they’ve sure got some basic terminology mixed up. Semantics aside, we do need more mini-festival type situations. Sunday arvo jam time!

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

Toit is also quite scattered over the three floors and they’ve done what I’ve always hoped someone would do: covered each separate area in speakers so there’s sound from everywhere instead of just from the stage. Gives people a chance to spread themselves out and just chill on an overcast Sunday. They even separated sets with some Sufjan Stevens – new music, in a Bangalore pub, you’d have to be there to believe it!

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

I’d never heard Illuminati before, so the incredible rock-voice threw me entirely off guard. The man packs a punch. ‘Joker and The Thief’ was close enough to them kicking the door in, breathing fireballs and blowing the windows out. Sadly, they lost track with Porcupine Tree where neither the vocalist nor the drummer seemed comfortable at all. Their own stuff was where they settled back in though. Funk groove, nonchalant vocal line and a guitar midriff that was just tough as nails. I think they may have you believe they also have something to say. The band hiatus finally showed through with ‘Roadhouse Blues’, which ended up being entirely off, but well, entertaining nonetheless and everybody was happy to sing along to an old favourite. They peaked at ‘TNT’, where all their dangly bits come together for the perfect storm of no-nonsense rocking like our forefathers intended. They even threw in a super slow bounce version of ‘Killin’ In The Name Of’, and a rock version of  ‘Come Together’ (Beatles again!). If they’re really on a comeback I’d watch them again, but they need to buckle down and work at it.

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

Side rant: There’s still a tendency in India to call things “own comps” rather than run with it as a natural part of a show. It’s a small thing, but it recognizes the idea that Indian bands writing their own stuff is still out of the ordinary. We’re past college festivals; we’re all grown up now and can handle new, original music from local bands.

People on the top floor seemed more at ease and on their own trip: the band kept them entertained when conversation slipped. All in all: “This is just, such a cool Sunday evening!”

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

With Matthew stuck in traffic or otherwise delayed, Naveen picked up bass and toyed around for a solid ten-minute bass solo with acoustic backing. Everybody was really just out to have a good time and Mr. Thomas really can’t disappoint. Galeej Gurus setup the way I’d hoped, tall chairs along the front and an added acoustic guitar – a little more personal, connected to the audience and living up to the “unplugged” idea. Matthew took longer than expected though and an hour and a half, a ‘Redemption Song’ and ‘The Boxer’ later, you’d be forgiven to believe a late evening family sing-along was in full swing.

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

And bam! The bassist was in and the whole band kicked in for real. They were doing great acoustic kickbacks of their songs, giving the “unplugged” name some juice. They have been my favourite Indian band for years now, so there’s nothing but school-girl like adoration from me. They continually make me want to be a bonafide rocker myself. Nathan oozes cool, even sitting down, and incidentally makes the best burgers in Bangalore (he owns Hole In The Wall, Koramangala). Listen to them lots, and go eat there, I command you!

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

Acoustic Guitar Man turns out to be a fantastic addition. A superb set of backing pipes and he tears through solos as well. If he’s permanent, they’re setting up to really do some damage. And if there’s anything that would prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s them doing ‘Use Somebody’ in the middle of the set with the entire, and I mean entire, packed-to-the-friggin’-rafters, crowd singing along. We got through an entire first verse courtesy audience happy-singing.

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

And Thermal and a Quarter. I think they’re an interesting case study. It’s very complex music, they’ve been doing it for quite a while now, and Prakash is only adding more twists: changing old feel-goods into epics, even bordering on self-indulgence but lovable no less. In a city where the single English music radio station puts out the most inane crap the world has to offer with a mere smattering of some golden pop a year too late, it’s truly refreshing to have a pub-full scream for smooth sax jazz over Thermal signature anti-gravity blues. The best drummer I know, of course he can play away physics.

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

Thermal is on quite a metamorphosis, this is the point where you catch all the gigs you can – it’s all building to something and you don’t want to be missing out. A saxophone really suits them and it looks like they’ll be able to have a lot of fun with it, so I hope they can add Sax Man on more often. Or maybe a horn section. Any brass would do it.

ILM Unplugged at TOIT, Bangalore

The cops turned up at this point. The neighbours weren’t fans of any of it and Toit does bump uglies with residential Indiranagar, so I can’t imagine this is going to go away easily. There were troubles with an open space – noise spread. Mr. Complaining Neighbour, just wait till the metro starts.

“There’s a saying Milo – If it’s too loud, you’re too old.”

Tell me you know what flick that’s from.

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Ashim D'Silva

Ashim D'Silva is a grinner. He's a lover. And a sinner. He plays his music in the sun. He daylights as a web designer, bicycles everywhere, and bought his first real shirt last year. You should bring him a sandwich. With bacon, and avocado.


The Beatroute – Live at Pizza By The Bay


They say the ‘routes’ of music lie in the ‘beats’ of sound, and that’s what the emerging Bombay based band,The Beatroute adheres to. The Beatroute, that comprises of ex Vayu drummer Gopal Dutta, Vignesh on guitar, Biswajeet on bass, Eeshan on keyboards, and Greg on lead vocals, recently played a gig at ‘Pizza by the Bay’, previously known as ‘Not Just Jazz by the Bay’.  This new and upcoming band performed a wide array of songs ranging from their originals, to covers of U2, Coldplay and the sensational Michael Jackson.

Despite the fact that they are new to the world of live performances, their music seemed to stir our attention. With a professional like Gopal in the band who has had years of experience and other band members full of enthusiasm and zeal, they kickstarted the show with Wolf Mother’s ‘Joker and the Thief’, which was very well done. In  their second song which was a cover of U2’s ‘Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me’, we saw a very focused Eeshan almost magically produce a techno sound through the motion-sensing interface on his keyboard, as if he was talking to it with his fingers!

Then came one of their originals called ‘Nine to five’, about the working class people in the city. The song was a tad shaky here and there and a little monotonous, but a good attempt at an original nonetheless. Next up was another U2 song, ‘Where the streets have no name’ followed by another original called ‘Glow’, which again seemed to lack the punch and vigor of ‘Nine to five’.

Next up, The Beatroute went into a wonderfully done medley of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ and Maroon 5’s ‘She Will Be Loved’. Subsequently, they played another cover of ‘Smooth Criminal’ by Michael Jackson, which was completely off beat and too fast a version of that song to be sung. It sounded like a cacophony of sound, with a mix of different instruments and bad timing. Next up, they broke out into another one of their originals called, ‘This Is Bound To Happen’, which had an electronica feel to it, making it a good listen.

Then came Eeshan’s solo performance on the keyboard, with an assortment of ‘Chariots Of Fire’, ‘The Godfather Theme’ and ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’. Immediately after which, out of the blue, I heard Greg screaming out happy birthday to someone, with Eeshan hastily filling in a 2 minute happy birthday tune on his keyboard.

Later on, Gopal Dutta played a 15 minute drum solo, which was astounding, highlighting his prowess as one of the most technically skilled musicians in the band. The best cover the band played was ‘Sunday Morning’ by Maroon 5; it proved that they have an umpteen amount of potential in them, considering that they’ve only been playing live for a few months. ‘Clocks’ was one song where they couldn’t get their timing right however, and towards the end of this Coldplay number, everyone in the band seemed to be a little perplexed.

Amidst this ambience of good music and dim lights, a man came up to the microphone and proposed to a woman, on stage, while Greg retreated into the background. Apparently, this wasn’t a prank, but the real deal. In so many years of having attended gigs, this certainly was a first!

After this unusual saga, the band played a rather flat version of Porcupine Tree’s ‘Lazarus’ and a soothing version of Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ which made everyone in the house sing along and come together for that moment. They proceeded to play an impressive rendition of ‘Drive’ by Incubus, followed by ‘Slither’ by Velvet Revolver that had a good solo by Vignesh. All in all, a band heavily inspired by Coldplay and U2, The Beatroute will probably go a long way.


Interview with George Kollias


George Kollias is a world renowned and much accomplished drummer from Greece. He is best known as the drummer of the American Death Metal band, Nile. He is also a very sought-after drum teacher and conducts power packed drum clinics all over the world. WTS caught up with him for a tête-à-tête, where he spoke at length about his drumming style and techniques and his inspirations. Read on to find out where India lies in Nile’s and George’s future plans…

WTS: Expression in drumming has to do with dynamics and the idea of ‘playing with feel.’ How do you incorporate this into your drumming style?

George: For death metal, there’s not enough dynamics, you’ve to be very solid and as less dynamic as possible. For other styles of music, of course you need dynamics, you know, it’s a big point of the expression. For example, if you are playing jazz music or folk music, you gotta have lots of dynamics always. For death metal, not so much. It’s a different style, we need more speed and stamina instead of dynamics. And I always try to approach any style I’m playing in the best possible way.

WTS: A lot of drummers want to know why you use one pedal to play blast-beats when there are double bass pedals available.

George: Well, umm, the main reason is, because of some of my favorite drummers when I started playing. Like Pete Sandoval from Morbid Angel, he was doing wonderful blasts. The truth is, where I grew up, in a small town about an hour from Athens, there were no metal drummers. I didn’t actually know two feet blasts, so I had to do one foot blasts. When I learned the easier way, it was too late, because I was too fast already! (laughs)

WTS: We’ve noticed that you use your wrists instead of swiveling the sticks in your fingers when playing quick. Is there any particular reason for approaching speed-drumming this way?

George: Yeah, that’s another reason, you know I was looking upto old school drummers, like Pete Sandoval, Dave Lombardo, Igor Cavalera. I grew up (listening) to these guys, and back in the day everyone was mostly using wrists. So till today, you have these drummers who are using mostly wrists for speed. And its again too late cos, you know, I can go as fast as I can with wrists and there’s no reason to change anything right now. But the main reason again, like the one foot blast, is that I didn’t know the other way! (laughs) I just wanted to play traditional metal.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Have you ever drummed using wrong techniques and incurred injuries because of it?

George: Umm, never. I got few injuries here and there because of playing too much or not warming up. You know, we go on tours so much and I have to warm up everyday and somewhere in the middle of the tour it gets a little bit boring, there is no room to warm up. So, I’m like “You know what, let’s go without warming up.” That’s quite wrong for metal. Yeah, so, I’ve had few minor problems here and there and that’s only because I didn’t warm up.

WTS: So, your advice to prevent any such injuries is to warm up before playing?

George: Yeah, these days I’ve a personal doctor and what he suggests, and which I always do, and I don’t have a single problem since, is to stretch. So, he gave me a couple of stretching exercises and everything works so much better, you know. For death metal, you have to warm up and stretch a little bit, and it’s a different kind of music, you know. If I were playing a jazz gig or something, I would never warm up – it’s just different for metal.

WTS: So, do you play at jazz gigs as well?

George: Not gigs, but I practice, I practice a lot. I actually have a trio, but we don’t play so often and we have no plans for shows. It’s for fun and, you know, to develop a better technique, become a better drummer. That’s basically for fun and for myself.

WTS: You’ve learnt from the great Yannis Stavropoulos. What is it that you can share as the crux of your learning? There are a lot of drummers out there who envy your technique and style!

George: We did some rock drumming and we did some jazz drumming. When I started the lessons with Yannis – it was just a year, you know – when I started the lessons, I was already a well-known drummer here and I was fast to play in any band. So, what he basically did was, open my mind to new drumming techniques, new drumming approaches, different styles- jazz drumming or, you know, funk music and also, he helped me so much in how to become a teacher, how to understand what I’m doing and how to explain how I came up with my own exercises and stuff. He was also a huge part of my DVD. We were watching my exercises and he was giving different names (to them), suggesting different things. So, basically, he’s my older brother right now, he’s my mentor. We always hang out, talk drums. Today this is actually what I need. He always helps me out, man, always.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: About your drum kit – would it be right to say that it’s built for a rather ambidextrous approach?

George: Yeah, yeah, it’s an extreme metal drum kit, a big one. You know what’s interesting – lately I’ve been interested in the smaller drum kits. So, to me when I wanna have fun, I’m usually practicing on my small kit, which is like one tom, one floor tom, right cymbal, high-hat, that’s it. Very very simple. But for metal I’ve to play this big drum set. When you tour, there are too many things to worry about, too many cymbals, we’ve to carry too much of gear all the time. You gonna have atleast two drumsets if you’re going to have some serious practice.

WTS: Can you tell us more about your drumkit?

George: I use three floor toms, that’s two on the right side and one on the left. I use two snares – one 14 inch, my main snare, and one 12 inch snare. Two kicks 22/18. That’s it for drums. It’s all Pearl. I have a Pearl Masters Premium and I’ve my main kit which is Pearl Masterworks, that’s custom made drums. These days I’m expecting my new Pearl Reference Pure. This is the brand new model from Pearl based on the old successful Reference series, but I think the new one is better and more versatile to other styles of music as well. Like I said everything is from Pearl! I play Sabian Cymbals, Evans drumheads, and I play Axis pedals. I also use Extreme headphones and have been playing Vic Firth drumsticks for 22 years or so! (laughs) And right now, right next to me I’ve my new signature drumsticks, which, you know, we’re working on new prototypes at Vic Firth. So, my personal signature drumstick is one the way right now and I think it will be ready in about a month and released. Something, I’m really really proud and really really happy.

WTS: Will you be bringing those to your next show in India?

George: I don’t know if they are gonna be ready, but I got some prototype here. We’ve got 3 different models which I checked and we develop my own signature model, but the stick I was using in the past, and I still use, is the Vic Firth 55A, which, of course, has my signature on. But, I don’t know whether my signature model will be ready by then.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: While looking at the picture of your drumkit, we see a lot of Sabian AAX and HHX series cymbals. What is it about these series that draws you to them?

George: Well, the AAX are studio cymbals. They’re versatile and you can play any style with these cymbals. So, that was my first approach. The HHX series, they are more smooth and dark, (which I use for) more dynamical purposes. Like I said, I use stuff I would use for other gigs as well. So, my drumkit looks metal, but it’s not only for metal. You can play rock music, you can play, not jazz music, but many different styles on it and this is what I do also. Last two months I did some recording sessions for some really weird different bands, like I played for a punk band, I played for a band – they were progressive like Porcupine Tree stuff. So, all the time I was using (the same cymbals) for more sound options and that’s the reason I don’t use AAX metal crashes, because they’re only for metal. So, my crashes are (the ones on which) you can play different styles. Cymbals are never enough, never enough. You can have 50 cymbals and you will need more, that’s for sure.

WTS: Who among the current crop of extreme metal drummers do you follow and admire?

George: Extreme metal drummers? To be honest, nobody. I kinda lost interest for extreme metal drummers, because we do so much, we talk about this so much – I teach extreme metal class and all these clinics all over the world. So, what I really need is different drummers. Do you understand what I’m saying? I mean there are many great extreme metal drummers – one is Dave Haley from Psycroptic from Australia. I really like Jade Simonetto from Hate Eternal – this guy’s a monster. Romain Goulon from France – these would be my favorite extreme metal drummers. But, what I really need for my playing is to approach different drummers. For example, the last year I practiced a lot with Benny Greb, Chris Coleman. So, these are the drummers I’m watching and and trying to get into the sounds they do, mostly and not so much about extreme metal drummers anymore.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: You started out playing music at a pretty young age. What got you into music? Was your family into music?

George: No, no, not at all. What happened was I started listening to metal when I was seven. So, it was very natural for me to pick up an instrument a few years later.And what I did was I picked the guitar when I was 10. I still play the guitar, you know, I own three guitars here and I write music all the time. I always wanted to start drumming as well cos, I don’t know, it was cool? I don’t know. I always had the rhythm inside me, I wanted to get involved with drums. But, it was the money issue mostly and I couldn’t get the money to get my first drumkit, which I finally did when I was twelve and from that day I’m just a drummer. The main reason was I wanted to play metal, that’s it. Now there are more, but back in the day I just wanted to play Metallica, Sepultura, Slayer songs, that’s it.

WTS: So, what are your earliest memories of metal?

George: Yeah, it was a guy from Canada. He was a lot older than me and older than my brother. I remember then he had just moved to Greece and, this is a small town, in Korinthos. And, I remember me and my brother were at his home listening to music. He was into metal and we were learning and we were listening to Judas Priest. And we were like, “Oh my God, this is so fucking cool. We gotta follow this style, we gotta listen to this music.” And, next week or so, my brother and I bought AC/DC’s Flick Of The Switch album. That’s pretty much the beginning for me and then Iron Maiden and Metallica and everything.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Having handled drumming duties on three albums so far with Nile, what is it about Nile, as a band, that keeps you going with them?

George: When I joined the band, the band was big enough, but not as big as we are today. To me, it was my favorite extreme metal band. So, to start with, I joined the band because it was my favorite band. That’s it. And why we keep going on? Because we fit together, we communicate very easily, we have fun, we are friends. You know, I think it’s the whole package, it’s what we do, we have the chemistry. I think that’s the most important thing. No matter how great a musician you are, if the chemistry is not there, it doesn’t really work and, thankfully, with Nile I found some good chemistry.

WTS: Is Nile recording any new material right now?

George: Right now, we are working on the new Nile album. We will probably get into the studio around November, December or January. That would be my fourth album with Nile.

WTS: From a drummer’s perspective, what is it that you think forms the primary component in Nile’s music? If someone was asked to drum for Nile, what attributes do you think he/she needs to have?

George: Nile is traditional death metal, so you gotta be able to play all these wonderful blasts. You gotta be able to play double bass drumming to a certain level, to a certain beats per minute. You gotta be able to play ‘cruiser’ extreme metal beats, you know. For example, no matter how fast are your beats, you gotta be able to keep it going, so you gotta have great stamina. There are so many fills, there are so many odd signature meters, you know. In ‘What Can Be Safely Written’, there’s a time signature that’s very weird, like a 30/16 on a breakdown and what I do is I follow the 30/16 and I break it down to groups of 3s. So, there are some rhythmic illusions going on in Nile’s music. So, in a few words, you gotta be able to play fast, you gotta have a good technique. Some drummers are faster, some are more creative, it depends. Nile has a little bit of everything. This why I really like the music.

WTS: Any plans for Nile to come to this part of the world?

George: We already tried three times to get to India and we failed three times. Right now, I’ve managed to come there myself. Everybody in the band is really happy atleast I made it. We actually agreed for a short tour very soon, that would be definitely within the next year – to come and do Singapore and all together, and maybe we will be able to come to India as well. Because, the last time we weren’t able to come to India was because the cost was too much for the band to fly to India – they were asking about $30000, you know. So, that’s too much money, but if we are touring in Singapore – very close to India – then it will cost us 1/3rd the amount to come to India and we can make it, and we will make it. We really want to get there. We have so many fans in India, we get so many mails. You know, this is something we talk about so many times. So, in a way, I’m happy it is happening, in a way atleast, with this drum clinic.

WTS: You started teaching drumming quite early – how has this worked in tandem with touring and gigging?

George: Well, I started teaching drums way before I joined the band. And then I joined Modern Music School and, now I’m drum instructor in Modern Music School in Athens – actually, worldwide, because our school is pretty big, we have like 70-something schools worldwide. So, sometimes we teach in different places. Last week I was in Germany teaching for the professional program of our school. It’s pretty tough with always touring and sometimes my students have to wait. But there is another way, they are lucky to have a touring drummer as a teacher instead of just having a teacher. Because, I tour different parts of the world and I can advise in different aspects and I think they like it even though it’s hard on everybody.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: We see that you’re actively driving learning in metal drumming – what prompted you to make the instructional DVD Intense Metal Drumming?

George: The only reason I did was because of my love for music and for drummers. I wanted to share what I have and this is what I was doing online with my forum, this is what I was doing when I met fans – always talk drums, always share what I have. So, I wanted to be little more professional and little more serious, and release a DVD, which I did, and which, thankfully, went very well. And, right now, actually, I’m getting ready to shoot the new DVD to be out in January 2012.

WTS: Any other activities or ventures that your fans normally don’t know about?

George: These days I’m really busy. I did 4 albums for different bands. Actually, most of them were guest albums, like one song or three songs or whatever. I’ll be doing the new Cerebrum album – it’s a band from Greece, very technical metal. I’m working on the Nile songs and working on my solo project, which I think will be released early next year as well.

WTS: Give us some info about your solo project.

George: I got eight songs so far, everything is metal, black metal, it’s groovy in a way, it’s pretty fast as well. The music is almost ready. I’m working on the lyrics when I’ve the time. I don’t know when I’ll be able to record, but the sure thing is Eric Rutan from Hate Eternal wants to do the mix. So, Eric’s gonna be a big part of this CD. And, I’m gonna have many other guests – guitar players to play the solos. Everything is gonna be me, I’m gonna sing, I’m gonna play everything, I’m gonna write everything, except the guitar solo which I’m gonna leave to some guest guitarists.

WTS: Is this your first trip to India?

George: Yes.

WTS: Do you have any idea about the metal scene here in India?

George: I do have an idea because we have many fans there and I heard about a crazy crowd, the huge metal scene, and I’m very excited and I can’t wait to come there and play for you guys. I think it’s going to be a great clinic.

Interview with George Kollias

WTS: Give us a bit of info on the drum clinics you do. What can we expect in the drum clinic?

George: Well, I’m gonna be playing Nile songs for sure. It will be kinda like a show. I’ll present a few Nile songs, maybe a new song, let’s see. I’m gonna play some of my songs, maybe a few solos -depends on the time we have and the feedback we have from the crowd. And, of course, I’m gonna share some exercises and tips for the drummers. And, the main thing – and this is actually why we do the clinics – is for the drummers and fans to be able to communicate, come see and talk to you. In general, we’re gonna have a great great time.

WTS: What would be your advice to young budding drummers – the most important message you would like to give?

George: Get a teacher and get serious. That’s it. It is simple because most of the metal drummers are lazy, nobody is going for a teacher. I see with my students. When I was on my forum online everyone was like “Oh I wanna study with George, I wanna study with George.” And when I launch my online lessons I’ve only 20 people. So, yeah, I would like to see serious drummers. No matter where you are, there is always a great teacher. You gotta go there, you gotta pay him, of course. Because, you know, he will spend his time for you. If you wanna do it, do it the right way – find a teacher, open your mind to different styles of music, you know, be a drummer in general – not just blast beats, you know. That would be my message.

WTS: Anything else you would like to say?

George: Well, just looking forward to getting to India. I’m really excited. I’ve talked with many people, I get so many emails. So, I think it’s going to be a crazy day there. I’m really excited to see your beautiful country, and I’m really really looking forward to come there. I’ll be here this time for just one and a half days because there are many clinics before and after the one in India. I wish I had more days, but, unfortunately, I’ve to stay for one and a half days only. But, you know, it’s enough for me. I just wanna say to everyone, try and come for the clinics, meet me there, let’s have some fun, let’s talk all things drums. I’ll do my best to deliver one of the best shows you ever saw.


Chilly Potato at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore





I have a confession to make. I’m a Manchester United fan. How is this arbitrary piece of information relevant you ask? Well, I walked into the Chilly Potato gig at Kyra, wearing my Manchester United jersey just  after having witnessed them lose possibly the most important game of the season to arch-rivals Arsenal. As depressing as that was, I was looking to the concert to cheer me up. During my college days Chilly Potato (CP) was one of those bands at whose shows you were guaranteed a fun time.

The crowd that had gathered mainly consisted of friends and family. There was a sizeable WTS contingent there as well (Support the scene, y’all!) and they patiently waited for the show to start. Chilly Potato started off their return-show with their staple cover of ‘Born to be Wild.’ The band looked comfortable on stage even though it had been almost a year since their last show. The band segued well into a couple of their own compositions as Sidharth Mohan, the newest member of the band (on drums) impressed with his precise and varied beats. CP’s set-list was dominated by cover songs but a feature to note was that they put their own spin on all of the covers that they did play. Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’ was pulled off with aplomb. CP did take the easy way out by covering ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ though. The expected crowd-chanting of the chorus didn’t happen either – the members in the audience were content applauding at the end of each song.

The band also played a four song acoustic set which kicked off with a full-feelingsu version of ‘Hallelujah.’ Singer Bharath managed to hit the right notes (well, most of them atleast!) in a song that isn’t the easiest to emulate. They also covered The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ and interestingly enough, Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit.’ Bassist Kevin and keyboardist Siddharth adeptly played the guitar parts for this phase of the gig. I thought they missed a beat (pardon the pun) by covering Porcupine Tree’s ‘Trains’ without a drummer though.

Chilly Potato then signed off the gig with what is possibly their best original – ‘A Million Miles Away.’ It was heartening to see few people in the audience know the lyrics to the track and sing along with the band. The band closed the show with a high-octane version of ‘Highway Star’ that segued into an encore of Phish’s ‘Tweezer Reprise.’ Although this wasn’t a drop-your-drink-and-stop-talking-to-the-girl-next-to-you-to-headbang sort of gig, every person in the audience seemed to have had a very enjoyable time. More importantly, the band, after their hiatus, had a great time on stage and will hopefully play few more shows in the future…and include their cult cover of Dr. Rajkumar’s ‘Tic Tic Ticâ’ in them. One more serving of some Chilly Potato please! This time with extra toppings of ‘Mungaru Metchul’ and ‘Sheela Ki Jawani’!

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Sohan Maheshwar

Jack of all tirades, total shirk-off. Follow Sohan on twitter! @soganmageshwar