Tag Archives: Rohit Pereira

Tough on Tobacco’s Big Big Joke album launch at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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On the 15th of May, somewhere in Mumbai a bunch of doctors successfully performed a rare heart operation, construction work came to halt, and Mahesh Bhatt noticed that Sanjay Dutt had been crying. Away from all of this, within the stylistic confines of The Blue Frog, a hundred or so people grooved as if in a trance. Mumbai based band, Tough on Tobacco had transported its audience from the usual laptrap of the city, into the world of funk, reggae, rock and eccentricity.

The band was launching their second album Big Big Joke with a gig at the Frog that night and they started off their set with ‘College of Life’. The catchy intro on rhythm proved to be the perfect crowd puller and by the time the band moved on to their next song ‘Come On Down’, the crowd really had come down. The only setback was the backing vox which could hardly be heard through the mix. The reggae, funk styled song had most of the house on their feet.

The band then moved on to ‘Rock N Roll Party’. The chirpy upbeat tempo alternating with a headbang-worthy beat proved to be a rare treat for the audience. The crowd jumped and nodded their heads to the unabashed rhythm of this energy avalanche and appreciated it with a generous amount of hooting. This was followed by the song ‘Dog’ that saw Jai Row Kavi go crazy on his drum-set and ‘Door’ with Gaurav Gupta on vocals for the intro.

“This is a song about you”, said Sidd Coutto before beginning with the band’s next song, ‘Wonder’. The song was magic combined with the effect of the blue gobo-filtered lights and caught the audience spellbound. It was the perfect build-up required to play ‘Happy’ which seemed to completely consume the audience in a sort of musical hug. The first half was given the perfect end with the song ‘Alone’, which was a crowd favourite.

Sidd Coutto finally took a break from his robo-hipster influenced stage antics and got down to talking about their new album. ToT’s second album was being launched after a hiatus of four years, he said. The projection screens started to drop down as the band announced “Watch this video about the making of the album and the album art.”

What ensued was an absolute cracker. The people in the audience were beside themselves with laughter as they saw Jai(aunty) pointing disgustedly with an “eeee” at her daughter(Johan Pais) as she(he) spitted food out. The video captured this being repeated around four times in order to capture the perfect shot.  Jai(aunty), was clearly the crowd’s favourite for the night with a stride and pitch that was very much stereotypically lady-like and actions that were not at all. The video was a piece of marketing wizardry with five humorous lads/band mates/family members trying to tickle every bone in your body.

Then video ended, the screen was lifted up and ToT dived straight into the first song from their new album, ‘Do What You Gotta Do.’ It’s not really new material since the band has been playing songs from its second album before official release since 2010. The song, ‘Yahweh’, came next and like its predecessor saw many in the audience singing along with the chorus. The third song from Big Big Joke was ‘Follow Your Dreams’. Sidd Coutto is perhaps one of the few front men out there who don’t look down upon their audience from above stage. Whether he is singing about following your dreams or singing about how happy it has made him to do so, the lyrics can be seen reflected on his face as emotions. Raw and real, just as he is. It’s probably this very quality that enables Coutto to engage a viewer and truly be able to move them.

Songs ‘Ordinary’, with Gaurav on the lead vocals and ‘Big Big Joke’, the title track, were played in quick succession. The soft mellow tunes were like a sweet balm, add to this Pozy Dhar’s sweeping solos, and you have a very happy audience. Rock ballad ‘Love Love Love’ followed by ‘Blow Yourself Away’ were the highlights of the night in terms of Coutto’s dramatics. The band members were grinning playfully at each other and making comical faces. They seemed to be really enjoying themselves on stage.  Midway through ‘Blow Yourself Away’, Coutto introduced the band in his typical sing-song manner.

The set, as usual, was ended with a hot favourite ‘Smoke Some Ganja’ with a guest appearance by Tracy Pais, wife of Johan Pais. Coutto called her on stage to celebrate her birthday. Jai Row Kavi is handed a mic and Tracy and him work out a funny on-the-spot Marathi improvisation laced with nonsensical exclamations and animated voices that has the audience rolling on the floor, laughing. Then the song reached its climax and the audience and band members went crazy in unison jumping and dancing to the upbeat second half of ‘Smoke Some Ganja’. The song ended too soon and the band was already packing up as Sidd thanked the audience and briefly explained where one can get access to the download codes.

Among the audience that seemed to be coping with what looked like withdrawal symptoms after having consumed some very addictive tunes, one could see many celebrities from the Indian independent music scene. There was Vishal Dadlani, Karsh Kale, Gino Banks, Vinayak Pol, Warren Mendonsa , Bobby Talwar, Rohit  Pereira, Akshay Rajpurohit to name a few. As the show concluded, they all had one thing in common as did everyone else in Blue Frog.  Smiles of contentment.

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Drashti Thakkar

Drashti Thakkar is a Mumbai based writer, a freelance drummer and loves working with lights for live gigs. Her idea of an epiphany is anything that gets through while reading the IPC. Her idea of a good time is a ride on the bike. No, She don't drive.

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Shaa’ir and Func at Blue Frog, Mumbai

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Kunal Khullar

Passionate for photography and music, Kunal is a Delhi boy who is apparently NOT a rapist. Currently pursuing photography as a profession, he loves all kinds of musical genres and is also a big geek when it comes to gadgets and the latest in technology.

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The Jack Daniels Rock Awards 2013

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The eighth edition of the annual Jack Daniels Rock awards was held on the 22nd of February at Mehboob Studio amidst little hype and no fanfare. The invite-only event hosted by Sameer Malhotra and The P-Man (Rohit Pereira) saw successful rock bands from the scene, across genres, being feted for their musical efforts over the past one year, by people who had little or nothing to do with the scene.

Bombay punk rockers, Blek kick-started the evening performing songs from their debut album, Hexes + Drama & Other Reasons for Evacuation to an audience of around 100 people. Their half hour long set included some of their popular songs like ‘Minus the Makeup’ and ‘Fog + Strobe’ which was also nominated in the best song category. Blek’s set was followed by the first set of awards which saw Shantanu Hudalikar win the best producer award. Advaita’s The Silent Sea and Swarathma’s Topiwalleh shared honours for the best album art while The Blue Frog, Mumbai was adjudged the best live music venue.  The emcee then made Michele Obama’s virtual presence at the Oscars seem less random by calling upon a Bollywood designer along with an eye-candy model to give away the next set of awards – Blek were back on stage to collect their award, after being declared the best emerging band of 2012. The next award handed out was for the best keyboardist which was shared by Jason Zachariah (Jason Zac Band) and Zubin Balaporia (Indus Creed). The designer-model duo then gave a priceless tip of advice in fashion to the musicians gathered (who, judging by the vibes, couldn’t care less), before handing over the best drummer award to Jai Row Kavi (Indus Creed). Bombay Jam band Something Relevant was up next on stage, playing a half hour long medley of songs from their second album, We Could Be Dreaming which was released last year.

Actor Suchitra Pillai was then accompanied on stage by Ken Ghosh (Bollywood director) to give away the next set of awards – Tony Guinard of the Ska Vengers tipped my personal favourite Roop Thomas of Blakc to win the best bassist award. Thermal and a Quarter frontman Bruce Lee Mani deservingly bagged the coveted best guitarist award, having being nominated alongside other stalwarts like Keshav Dhar, Baiju Dharmarajan and Mahesh Tinaikar. A clueless Mandira Bedi then walked onto stage to hand over the awards for best male and female vocalists – Vivienne Pocha won the award for the best female vocalist scoring over equally good singers Samara C (Ska Vengers) and Suman Sridhar (Sridhar/Thayil), while Angaraag “Papon” Mahanta overpowered the likes of Uday Benegal, Rabbi Shergill, Bruce Lee Mani, Gareth D’mello and Vasu Dixit in a star studded list of nominations for the best male vocalist.

The Rolling Stone all-star jam that followed, showcased artists from bands like Something Relevant, Split, Goddess Gagged and Colour Compound, recreate the magic of some of India’s most popular rock songs  – from Siddharth Basrur and Gareth D’mello’s duet take on Them Clones’s ‘Zephyretta’  to Rachel Varghese’s cover of Junkyard Groove’s ‘Imagine’, Saba Azad’s cover of  Orange Street’s ‘Candywalk’ to  Gareth’s beautiful delivery of ‘Lucy’ by Zero, Suman Sridhar’s horror screams and deafening screeches on Workshop’s ‘Pudhe Sarka’ to Rachel Varghese’s rendering of ‘Trapped’ by Indus Creed,  the wonderfully selected set list for the jam had something for everyone’s taste and gave the attendees a lot to cheer about.

The Rolling Stone jam session was ensued by the last set of awards that saw Keshav Dhar’s Skyharbor bag the recently introduced – best metal band award before Papon made it two for the night after ‘Boitha Maro Re’ was adjudicated the best song, overshadowing some splendid tracks like ‘Maeva’ (Skyharbor), ‘Fog + Strobe’ (Blek), ‘Dissolve’ (Indus Creed) and ‘For the Cat’ (TAAQ). Former Miss India, Yukta Mookhey was then called out of oblivion to hand over the last couple of awards – Advaita’s ‘The Silent Sea’ won the top honours bagging the best album award, however it was Indus Creed who won the bragging rights and took home the 5 lakh rupees prize money after being adjudged the best Indian band for the year 2012.

Despite oddities of the award presenters, a no-show by most winners and a kitty cat on the loose, the award show at large went off smoothly, thanks (largely) to the free flowing Jack at the event.

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The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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The third edition of The Rolling Stones Metal Awards took place at The Blue Frog, a venue that has supported this initiative of celebrating the Indian metal scene by giving bands due credit for the efforts they’ve put in over the year. The event had a total turnout of around 600 people and one could safely say that they all had an amazing night.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Rohit Pereira, popularly known as the P-man, was the emcee for the night who tickled everyone’s funny bones with his comical antics and witty one-liners. The first band to take to the stage was Pangea – the progressive metal band from Bombay consisting of Akshay Rajpurohit, Shadaab Kadri and Kuber Sharma on guitars (all seven string guitars). The band was joined by the awesome duo, Jai Row Kavi and Rushad Mistry of Indus creed fame, on the drums and bass respectively. Despite the fact that the band was playing its first gig ever , they sounded very professional on stage and performed songs from their debut album Snails Are When I Was Young. The band may not have won any award that night but made all the right noises with their debut gig and with their layered, melodic and almost ambient metal tunes. They are surely a wonderful addition to the already exciting metal scene in the country.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Next up on stage was Providence, clearly the stars of the night. This metalcore band from Bombay,  was playing with their new vocalist Karan Pote (ex- Noiseware and Abraxas) after Sunnieth quit the band last month and went on to win five awards that night. Pote seemed to have fit into Sunnieth’s shoes with consummate ease as the band got the moshpit going with songs from their album Vanguard. The band was joined by Sunnieth on stage for their last song ‘Prosthetics’. The teamed growls from Sunnieth and Karan threw the crowd into frenzy – certainly one of the highlights of the night.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The award ceremony kick-started as Keshav Dhar’s Skyharbor won the award for the ‘Best Emerging Band’, while Providence bagged the award for ‘Best Album Art’ for their album Vanguard. Taz James of Chaotic Years won the award for ‘Best Keybordist’ while Arun Natrajan and Vibhas Venkatraman of Eccentric Pendulum bagged the awards for ‘Best Bassist’ and ‘Best Drummer’ respectively.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

After this, Karan Pote was back on stage with his metal band from Pune, Abraxas. The band continued from where Providence left off and with the twin guitar attack of Abhimanyu and Vinay shredding away to glory, ably supported by Naman on drums and Kenneth on bass, the band got the circular pits going at certain points in their set. A lot of people from Pune had specifically driven down to catch Abraxas live and the band didn’t disappoint one bit as they played some of their most popular tracks like ‘Deviation’, ‘Eyes of Disgrace’, ‘I Remember’ among others to get the crowds really going before winding up their set with another crowd favourite, ‘Sweet Sufferings’.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The next category was ’Best Guitarist’ which was bagged by Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor. While Sunnieth Revankar of Bhayanak Maut won the award for ‘Best Vocalist’ for his work with his former band Providence, while defeating himself for his own work with Skyharbor, which was also nominated in the same category.

The next set of awards was for the ‘Popular Choice’ category. Skyharbor’s ‘Maeva’ won the award for ’Best Song’, and Providence bagged the next two awards for both ‘Best Band’  and ‘Best Album’ for their album Vanguard.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Bangalore-based metal band Eccentric Pendulum who had a very successful night themselves, took to the stage next. The band, fresh from winning awards for ’Best Drummer’ and ’Best Bassist’ earlier that night, put together a very tight set playing songs from their album Winding the Optics, while also playing some of their new songs like, ‘Resisting the Equation’.

The next set of awards was for the ‘Jury awards’ category. ‘Maeva’ by Skyharbor won the award for ’Best Metal Song’, while Eccentric Pendulum picked up the award for ’Best Metal Album of the Year’ for Winding the Optics.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The last award for the night was the coveted Critic’s Choice Award for ‘Best Metal Band’, which was bagged by Goddess Gagged from Bombay. The closing act for the night was the mighty Zygnema, who will be representing India at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany later this year. The energy that the band’s frontman Jimmy brings into every performance is phenomenal and Sunday night was no different. Add to that the genius of Sidharth Kadadi on guitars, the brilliance of Mayank on drums and Ravi on bass, and you have all the ingredients for an explosive performance! The crowd went berserk as they broke into a huge circular pit in front of the stage, while the band belted out songs from their album Born of Unity, including crowd favourite ‘59’(which has almost become an anthem now) along with some newer tracks like  ‘Endangered’.

The Rolling Stones Metal Awards at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

To say the night was phenomenal would be an understatement. Watching the pioneers of metal in India and all their fans under one roof celebrating the growth of the Indian metal scene was testimony to their love for metal and its success India.

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