Tag Archives: Rock n’ Roll Renegade

Outlawed feat. Indus Creed at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata


This was my second time at an Indus Creed gig. I was equally stoked as the last time I had seen them as a kid. When I went into the grand and beautiful courtyard after my ritualistic cigarette at five past 8 in the oddly chilly Calcutta evening, Indus Creed were already on stage and ready to rock the place.  They sparked the fire on the stage with ‘Dissolve’ from their latest album. This was followed by ‘The Money’, which is a jumpy track in itself and to top that, Uday Benegal was displaying some brilliant stage performance with his signature ‘Monkey Dance’. From this point onwards it was evident that the crowd was having a ball despite Jai Row Kavi’s absence with Andrew filling in for him. Indus Creed struck all the right chords and the crowd literally swayed with the music.

Outlawed feat. Indus Creed at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Indus Creed moved into some classic stuff from the ol’ times with ‘Trapped’ from their self-titled third album. Unlike the other songs they played from the album Evolve, this song sounded way different from the album version. The bass was extremely prominent and the outro was pretty much a free-jam kind of thing which was brilliant.

As the gig proceeded, it was more obvious that the band’s output mix was not quite up to the mark. But Indus Creed sounded incredible as they picked up with ‘Fireflies’ which Uday dedicated to “all the lovely ladies in the crowd” of which there was quite a significant number. ‘Fireflies’ was a huge hit and the crowd went on to prove this by singing along to the lyrics.

Outlawed feat. Indus Creed at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Next up was ‘Cry’, the intro of which was starkly different from what was on the CD, primarily because of Zubin’s tremolo-ish flute tune. This is what music is all about – constantly evolving and changing with time. It felt great being in the front row of an Indus Creed gig all over again. As these thoughts lingered in my mind, IC hit it suddenly with ‘Bulletproof’ and Mahesh nailed the solo precisely and elegantly. This was followed by ‘Take it harder’, during which I noticed that the bass drum skin was that of a white breasted eagle. It looked awesome and fit beautifully into the band’s genre.

‘Pretty Child’ added to everyone’s delight and in the sheer excitement, the crowd started singing and jumping around. Between all this, the band started with a grungy and groovy riff that I immediately knew was from ‘No Disgrace’, my personal favorite from their latest album. Mahesh topped off this ecstatic moment with some carefully placed pinch harmonics to the riff. As Yoda would have put it, “Beautiful, It Was. Enjoy, I Did”.

Outlawed feat. Indus Creed at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

The band then moved its pace into an all classic Indus Creed set with Uday heeding to the crowd’s request for ‘Pretty Child’. Next was the customary band introduction which ended with a beautiful outro to ‘Pretty Child’. This was followed by ‘Rock n Roll Renegade’ from the band’s previous album as Rock Machine. There was a sound glitch in the middle of all this with the guitar’s output disappearing and reappearing mysteriously, but Mahesh and the rest of the band covered it effortlessly.

Indus Creed was planning to end the set with their classic ‘Top of The Rock’, but the crowd didn’t budge even after the band went off stage. After a little while, with some more pleading and cajoling from the crowd, Uday came on stage and said “How could we possibly let such a beautiful crowd down?” and started off with ‘Fireflies’ once again! The response from the crowd after this one was magnificent!

Outlawed feat. Indus Creed at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

As the band went offstage, fans reached them for autographs and pictures. The most awe-inspiring thing was that after being the epitome of the rock movement in India for nearly three decades, these musicians are unbelievably humble and modest. It was really nice to see them interacting freely with their fans. As all good things come to an end, so did this gig. Quoting Uday, Indus Creed truly ‘Lost their virginity to NUJS, Kolkata’.

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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.


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.