Tag Archives: Sweet Child of Mine

Guns ‘N Roses at Bhartiya City, Bangalore


Let me preface this review by saying that I have been a GNR fan for the longest time. I was lucky to get a copy of ‘Appetite for Destruction’ at the age of 9 and there was no looking back. Though my musical tastes have become wide and varied over the years, I still consider Appetite to be one of the best rock albums ever produced. It has inspired several generations of musicians and has stood the test of time. Let me also preface this by saying that I am fully aware that the current lineup of GNR does not include Slash, Duff, Izzy or Steven. I had mentally prepared myself for the same, dropping all expectations. Yes, GNR is not GNR without Slash and he is the reason why many (including me) started playing the guitar. However, that should never come in the way of enjoying good live music.

Guns 'N Roses at Bhartiya City, Bangalore

A few years back, I would have never in my wildest dreams thought of watching GNR live in India (with whatever lineup) from the front row and I thank the band for coming out here. I advise everyone reading this review, and retrospectively all those who attended the concert, to keep this in mind. There is nothing more annoying than somebody in the audience shouting, “Bring out Slash!” after every song. There is nothing to be gained by comparing the present lineup to what GNR was at its prime in the 80’s. To state the obvious, the only remaining members of the original lineup is Axl Rose. DJ Ashba, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Richard Fortus have taken over guitar duties.  Use Your Illusion era keyboardist Dizzy Reed, Bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardist Chris Pitman complete the lineup. The concert took place at Bhartiya City on the 7th of December 2012.

Guns 'N Roses at Bhartiya City, Bangalore

Bangalore Rock pioneers Thermal And A Quarter kicked off the show with a really tight set. They played some old tracks and some new from their recently released Three Wheels Nine Lives album. As usual, they burned through their set effortlessly and got the crowd warmed up. I was happy to hear their cover of ‘In Bloom’ which they haven’t played for some time. The crowd then waited eagerly for GNR and boy did the audience get wild when Axl casually walked on to the stage.

Guns 'N Roses at Bhartiya City, Bangalore

And a second later we’re hit by ‘Chinese Democracy’, a really cool track from the post Slash period. The first thing I noticed about GNR was their massive sound. Crunchy guitar tones perfect for riffs like the one in the beginning of ‘Chinese Democracy‘. In terms of sound and production this gig was only second to Roger Waters Live in Bombay (2007), for me at least. The band spared no expense and all their equipment was shipped down, including two pianos and even the small stage used to raise the drum kit. The opening riff to ‘Chinese Democracy‘ made it clear to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this would be a concert to remember.

Guns 'N Roses at Bhartiya City, Bangalore

Apart from their infamous wall of sound, the musicians themselves were extremely talented. Each of the three guitar players has a very unique style and are brilliant musicians in their own right. I also appreciated the fact that when they played the old classics, they were played exactly the way they were recorded. I mean, there is nothing really to improve on these tracks, pure nostalgia trip.

The band went on to play old classics interspersed with some newer compositions. ‘Nightrain’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘Rocket Queen’ stood out for me. These tracks sound great on tape but they sounded insane live. I could really feel the band’s energy when they were playing these tracks and it really got the old school fans going. Tommy Stinson, with his punk influence did justice to those songs and drummer Frank Ferrer didn’t fail to impress. Axl Rose has done a fantastic job of finding phenomenal musicians to fill in really big shoes, which were never meant to be filled.

Guns 'N Roses at Bhartiya City, Bangalore

Of course no GNR gig would be complete without the more popular tracks like ‘November Rain’ and ‘Patience’. ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ was almost entirely drowned for the most part by the audience singing along. Keyboardist Chris Pitman was a pleasure to watch, great stage presence.

Many people have criticized Axl Rose for not being the vocalist he used to be. To be honest, doing what he is doing and for this long, it is a miracle that he can still sing and put on a great show. He might not have the energy that he had 15 years ago (who does?) but he can still kick some ass. It was evident that he was giving it his all like a true musician would, especially during the heavier tracks towards the end of the set. I was amazed to see that they put on a complete 3 hour set! International acts of the same caliber that are coming to India for the first time, or even after a long hiatus and do not plan , should not leave the audience after short set, playing only their popular tracks. GNR took me on a trip down memory lane and they pretty much covered all their albums.

Guns 'N Roses at Bhartiya City, Bangalore

GNR didn’t just start with a bang but keeping to the GNR ethos, ended with one that was louder. The concert came to an end with a cult classic – ‘Paradise City’. I was happy that they chose this track as their final act and not ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine‘. The whole band for this last track and it was intense. Axl did a really good job on this one. To top it all off, during the breakdown of the song, the audience was doused in red confetti. You had to be there. Sophisticated writers don’t say this often, but it was really fucking cool. After the audience had a few minutes to calm down, the band came out to thank us for being wonderful hosts. Axl’s parting words ‘Stay away from the popo (police)’.

The organizers could have done a much better job of the concert. It took us nearly 2 hours get our car out of the parking lot onto the main road (with a couple of dents) even though there wasn’t a spectacularly large audience present. But other organizers have set low enough standards and people didn’t seem to bother after such a killer show.


Street Cred live at The Stage- Manajsa, New Delhi


It’s always interesting to watch an a capella group live. Especially one with the kind of credentials Street Cred holds. Most of the members of the group, led by Soumya Jha, are or were part of various college music groups and some were a part of Delhi ensemble Artists Unlimited. I reached the venue just in time to see the in-house band finish up their last two songs (‘Sweet Child of Mine’ going into ‘Won’t Go Home Without You’). Street Cred took their time to come on stage, which, as I later found out, was because they didn’t have enough mikes to work with. On asking around, I got to know that this was due to some miscommunication regarding the band’s tech rider. The sound engineer, though really sloppy behind the console, must be given credit for arranging extra mikes at 8:00 in the evening on a Sunday.

Post a rather long soundcheck, Street Cred was ready to take off. They started their set with a well-structured Michael Jackson medley, which included ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Billie Jean’. After a strong opening, they moved on to the strongest song in the set, a jazz-based song, ‘Walking Down the Street’ by The Real Group. The next song, ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz, was one song that, according to me, seemed the most out of place in the entire set. However, the group still did a good job on it. They then moved on to another medley – ‘Nothing on you’, ‘My Love’ and ‘Rocketeer‘. While they were well-arranged and well-sung, I felt that they could’ve made it a bit longer, though I must admit it was probably because I was influenced by the complexity and length of the Michael Jackson medley.

The band then sang a cover of ‘Teardop’ by Massive Attack. This would’ve been the strongest song of the set, if only half of the singers hadn’t looked self-conscious while singing it! I guess it was a new addition to the set and not everyone was equally comfortable with it. Yet, it came out almost perfect, minus the sound guy playing havoc with the lead vocalist’s mike levels. From here the group took a two-minute break while the beat boxer kept the crowd entertained with a solo performance. Very easily one of the strongest links in the Street Cred chain, Darwin is an extremely talented beat boxer. Incorporating a host of different drum sounds and grooves, he even added vinyl scratch sounds to his solo performance, enthralling everyone in the crowd.

The group came back with a cover of ‘That Thing’ by Lauren Hill – well sung, but the song itself was overshadowed by Darwin’s solo performance. Their last two songs were the most entertaining of the evening. First was a mash up of ‘What Goes Around’ by Justin Timberlake and a Bollywood number, ‘Tujhe Bhula Diya’. The sound guy again came in the way of a perfect execution by messing up the male lead’s vocal levels. The final song of their set was ‘Memories’ by David Guetta. Intrigued by an a capella group covering an electronic dance number, I paid extra attention to this and wasn’t disappointed. It’s a tricky business, arranging an electronic song to suit a capella, and Street Cred really proved their worth with this one. After their set, the crowd screamed for an encore. After a minute of contemplation and taking the crowd’s opinion, they performed ‘Walking on Sunshine’ again and took a bow afterwards.

The strongest and weakest points of the gig were quite obvious – Street Cred’s strength lies in its sheer talent and knack for excellent arrangement. With a beat boxer (who is also an accomplished singer), the group is rather cohesive with a keen ability in giving the crowd what it wants. The group’s entire performance was marred by sound issues. Mild feedback here and there, mike levels changing mid-song and rechecks being required after every two songs or so tend to kill the buzz that their music creates. However, in this case, these issues are somewhat justified considering the group had to sound check with their audience already present rather than well before the show. All in all, for someone like me who always enjoys a strong melody at a gig, it was a treat to watch Street Cred perform. Hopefully, next time I’ll get to watch them sans technical difficulties.


Girish and The Chronicles at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore





It was a lazy Saturday evening with uncharacteristically empty roads in Bangalore, thanks to an extended holiday week. I had decided to attend the performance of a band that would be playing classic and ’80s rock. A quick check on Facebook about the band’s profile and some of their originals got me quite excited for the performance.

The gig was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. and I was there by 8, not wanting to miss any part of the show. I got the chance to interact with the band’s manager, Ujjwal just before the show started and managed to get some interesting bits of information about the music scene in the North East.

The band came on stage a bit later than the scheduled start. After a brief jam and introduction session, they started off with The Eagles’ ‘New Kid in Town’. There was a small cheer from a section of the crowd as the familiar intro to the song started. Girish’s mellow vocals, although not a faithful reproduction of Glenn Frey’s, perfectly captured the melancholy of the fleeting nature of fame that The Eagles showcased in this song.

Next up was ‘Proud Mary’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, another gem from the stable of classic rock. The band’s version of this song had a slight hard rock edge, understandably so, considering their influences and genre. Suraz set the stage ablaze with the brief but amazing solo; Girish carried off the raspy vocals in the style of John Fogerty quite well, just enough to retain the charm of the original in the signature “Rollin’…” chorus.

The band quickly shifted gears to the all-time Rock n’ Roll classic, ‘Johnny B. Goode’ by Chuck Berry. The high-energy song had the people on their feet soon enough and Suraz did complete justice to the legend’s solo.

Our expectations were already sky-high after three back to back perfectly executed classic rock songs but nothing had prepared us for the next one. Nagen and Yogesh started a sonic assault on the audience and soon Suraz and Girish joined in with a rocking riff and a high-pitched scream. The real rock-lovers in the audience were blown away. It was ‘Rock n’ Roll’ by Led Zeppelin! The performance was electrifying and raw, true to the style of Led Zeppelin. Bonzo would have been proud of the drumming. It would have been difficult to say if it was Plant or Girish on the stage if your eyes were closed. Suraz was impeccable. Not many bands dare play Led Zeppelin live but the quartet present in front of us matched the other legendary quartet in every aspect. The drum roll at the end of this song was icing on the cake.

By now, the band had everyone captivated and no one was going anywhere. Perhaps realizing that there is something as too much awesomeness, the band brought down the tempo a bit with another song by The Eagles, ‘Get Over It’. Suraz started off with an ear-melting solo. As the song progressed, it was clear that this was not a replica band. A distinct Judas Priest influence in the riffs and drums could be detected which made this classic even more enjoyable.

I was told earlier that Sebastian Bach of Skid Row was a fan of Girish’s vocal prowess. After this performance, I could understand why – the band performed the super-hit ballad by Skid Row from the 80s, ‘18 and Life’ which had Bach himself on the vocals. Girish had us mesmerized with his vocal range that’s a hallmark of this ballad. You have to listen to it to realize how difficult it can be to sing. Suraz was again at the top with a solo that captured the nostalgia of power ballads from the 80s era.

As the ballad faded out, we were greeted with what is perhaps the most famous riff in the history of rock music. ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple was next in line. Girish had demonstrated an uncanny ability to sound similar to quite a few legendary vocalists by now and this one was no exception. The bassist had a nice slap tone for the sound and it seemed like Suraz would set the fret board on fire with a well-replicated solo.

I had barely recovered from the crescendo that Girish’s voice reached at the end of ‘Smoke on the Water’ and I could already recognize the badass intro sequence from ‘Highway Star’ (Deep Purple again) drifting into my ears. The quartet was blasting out this classic with the same raw intensity as they had displayed with ‘Rock n’ Roll’ by Zeppelin. The fact that no one felt the absence of the organ solo in this song says a lot about the tight and technically-accurate performance. The night just kept getting better.

Taking pity on the audience who were delirious with the mind-numbing performances put forth, the band switched to one of their originals called ‘Angel’. It is a power ballad with a very 80s feel to it, complete with a powerful build-up and a wailing guitar solo in the middle. Some were holding up candles and waving them as they sang along. It might have been as well a scene from a Def Leppard show with a signature power ballad track.

It was time for some old-school progressive rock as the band started with the high energy intro to ‘Rock Bottom’ by UFO. This was just an indicator of the versatility of the band with respect to the genres that they play. Suraz did an excellent job playing the intricate solos that form the major part of the song. This was perhaps the first time I have ever seen an Indian band perform a song from the lesser known yet legendary bands like UFO.

The band quickly progressed from ‘Rock Bottom’ to ‘Black Night’ by Deep Purple. They were turning out to be quite the Deep Purple followers! The drumming was exceptional, to say the least and was reminiscent of Neil Peart’s style in a few places.

After lulling the audience with a bluesy piece, the band decided to take the energy levels in Kyra to another level by playing two back to back AC/DC super-hits, ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Highway to Hell’. Girish’s vocals seemed a bit tired out by the time he reached the latter but then, playing such a long set with demanding vocals like that of Bon Scott can take a toll on anyone.

The band was now taking requests from the audience – along came the perfectly executed ‘Cryin’ by Aerosmith which got everyone in the audience singing along. It was time for some Led Zeppelin again with ‘Stairway to Heaven’. The band outdid themselves in this piece. It reminded me of Led Zeppelin’s performance of the same song in 1975 at Madison Square Garden. The intro to the song was simple captivating. Girish pulled off a Plant-esque stage persona with the latter’s famously generous use of “baby” in most live renditions of their songs. The highlight of the performance though was the solo by Suraz. It wasn’t a faithful reproduction of the original but that made it even the more enjoyable as we got to see his creativity in full flow.

Another request came in. This time it was ‘The Trooper’ by Iron Maiden. Girish did mention something about the band not having practiced this well enough, but it certainly didn’t seem like it when they started playing. A few people were seen headbanging to this heavy metal classic.

Sweet Child of Mine’ was their last song of the night. The song started out a bit slow compared to the original with the band taking a while to build up the tempo, but once they got into the groove it was paradise city for those who stayed back till the end.

Once the band got off stage, I could finally take my eyes off them and take in the reactions of the people around me. Folks who were in there for some good old Rock n’ Roll had got their money’s worth and the incredulous looks on their faces said it all. With bands like Girish and The Chronicles around, we don’t have to worry about good music dying out.


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.