Tag Archives: The Feni Farm Riot

Jack Daniels Rock Awards ’12 at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai

Jack Daniels Rock Awards

Time check – it was 18 o’ clock. Was I going to make it on time for the JD rock awards?  At around 7-ish as I was zooming on the highway, I was mentally preparing myself for what the entire evening was going to be like. I got to the venue at sharp 7:30 and was mighty pleased to see that the entrance was nicely decked up with sweet signage complete with a desk of folks from Rolling Stones magazine/JD to check invites and sort out the invitees. They had setup a neat-looking JD/Rolling Stones magazine backdrop for photo-ops with a dozen photographers trying to squeeze out glamour shots for their respective publications. It all looked a lot like an elite fashion event.

Jack Daniels Rock Awards '12 at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai

This was the first time that I had entered this stage at Mehboob Studios and as I later found out this was the first time they were doing a live music event at this particular studio. It was huge with an incredibly high ceiling and the minute I got in, I was immediately enveloped by the smell of expensive alcohol and the sound of general last-minute sound check noises. I got in just in time to hear Luke Kenny start to rev up the crowd to get the Rock Awards going after introducing himself as the host. The turnout for the rock awards was modest at first but the place got crowded later, not uncomfortably so at any point. Furthermore, the place had long bars on both sides serving unlimited JD on the house!


Sky Rabbit or the erstwhile Medusa played a tight set of their tracks in spite of the odd sounding PA mix which I would largely attribute to the high ceiling and room in general. The Sky Rabbit sound, if I were to describe it from the few songs I heard them do in that particular setting, was a mix of post-punk and electronica, which for some might be pretty reminiscent of early Coldplay. However, it was packed with enough new ideas to still be quite distinct sounding.

Jack Daniels Rock Awards '12 at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai

Indus Creed was up next and they played a long set. I liked quite a few of their songs, but I certainly would want to hear the album that’s coming out soon so I can listen to them without having to put up with spectacular room reverb. They were quite energetic on stage, were groovy and had interesting bass lines and harmonic modulation throughout, which I quite love in a band.

Jack Daniels Rock Awards '12 at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai

Next up was Ankur and the Ghalat family. Since the first time I heard these guys at Blue Frog when we were all doing a mixed singer-songwriter set, I’ve always liked their downright earthy sound and honest songwriting. Moreover, their sound has always retained its simplicity and has a nice clarity in the way the songs are arranged and the harmonies are brought out.

Jack Daniels Rock Awards '12 at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai

For the most part, I expected this to be a lot like the splendid party thrown by the nice people over at The Blue Frog, a few months ago. Except at the end of it, maybe there would be a good old fashioned fist fight over who deserved to win best award for a three legged drummer. This certainly was at par and done on a much a larger scale apart from being an awards event. However in retrospect, I figure that one of the nicer things about the Bombay music scene is that nearly everybody has played with everybody and shares a healthy mix of camaraderie and the Bohemian spirit of I-don’t-really-f**king-care which leaves little or no place for any kind of angst or I-know-where-you-live type of behaviour. Bombay is certainly a great place to be a musician.

Jack Daniels Rock Awards '12 at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai

Amongst mixed reactions, knowing nods and downright ‘What the Frankenstein’ reactions the winners for this year’s JD Rock Awards were announced. Bombay Bassment won ‘Best Emerging Act’ which I suppose was well deserved. They have acquired quite a following in the past year and their live act is very entertaining. Bassist Ruell Baretto was nominated for ‘Best Bass Player’ at the last JD Awards and the band was ecstatic when they found out they had won this year. It would be great to see where and how this band evolves and where they go with their sound. Dischordian won the award for ‘Album Art of the Year’ designed by Hemant Kumar for the album The Feni Farm RiotPentagram won several awards some of which were for ‘Best Vocalist’, ‘Best Guitarist’, ‘Best Video’ and ‘Best Album’. Shiraz and Vishal were pretty much on a marathon to collect the plethora of awards that they picked up.  ‘Best Vocalist (Female)’ went to Subhadra Kamath from Fire Exit. ‘Best Drummer’ went to Vibhas Venkatram from Eccentric Pendulum.Stefan Kaye from The Ska Vengers picked up ‘Best Keyboardist’.  ‘Best Bassist’ went to Abhinav Chaudhary from The Circus. ‘Best Producer’ went to Miti Adhikari for his work on Menwhopause album Easy. ‘Best Venue’ went to Blue Frog which couldn’t really have gone any other way! A special award for ‘Years of Excellence’ went to Lou Majaw.

Jack Daniels Rock Awards '12 at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai

The party continued for quite a while even after the awards were done and host Luke Kenny had signed off. The alcohol kept flowing and people seemed to be having a good time too. The place had a steady influx of a lot of familiar faces from television and movies who didn’t really have much to do with the rock awards or rock in particular but certainly contributed to the overall eye candy. I think that purely for the great setup, the copiously flowing alcohol and the abundance of legs, the JD rock awards was certainly a smashing night.


Dischordian at Blue Frog, Mumbai


‘Let there be booze!’ was the welcome that the boisterous four-piece band gave us months ago, with their debut album The Feni Farm Riot. Mumbai’s prominent acoustic outfit Dischordian was all set to charm us again into euphoric melancholy with their songs at Blue Frog. The band has had a rather positive response for its debut album and is known to be quite the entertaining live act.  Also to add to the evening, as a lead up to the gig, Dischordian had recently announced a competition, inviting friends and fans to go ahead and video-record a version of any of their songs and they’d pick a winner to open for them at this gig! This unique exercise introduced us to Dinkar Dwivedi.

Dinkar is a solo musician from Hyderabad who played two original compositions and a cover, topping off his short set with his own rendition of Dischordian’s song ‘Lover’. He didn’t get much attention as people were busy chatting away and swigging their beers.

Dischordian at Blue Frog, Mumbai

After a short break, the lights went out and we could hear soft strumming on an acoustic guitar accompanied by Garreth’s whiskey vocals.  Soon enough, the melodica joined in and their set was on its way.  People who were lingering outside the venue until now, started trickling in and there was sudden flurry of activity with the waiters running about taking orders and the bartenders mixing drinks as the band continued to do a fine job, mesmerizing the audience and taking them to what seemed like musical paradise.

Agnelo was in his element as he played the trumpet with gusto and simultaneously played percussion! Dischordian soon broke into ‘The Old Whore’ which saw the whole crowd gathered at Blue Frog singing along. Howard and Nigel seemed to be lost in their music and although there were a few bum notes on the guitar and vocals, they covered it up brilliantly thanks to their years of experience in playing live music.

Dischordian at Blue Frog, Mumbai

Garreth’s way of using the slide guitar was extraordinary. The band threw in two surprise covers: ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond and ‘Light Years’ by Pearl Jam. The Pearl Jam song was dedicated to a veritable legend of Indian Rock journalism, Amit Saigal, and recent deaths that were close to the band. The song itself was in keeping with Dischordian’s knack of picking relatively unknown or not so popular songs and delivering beautiful versions of them.

The band pulled a coup of sorts by suddenly inviting Dinkar back on stage for his winning version of ‘Lover’. This was interesting as the song was improvised according to Dinkar’s style and we could see a lighter and more joyful rendition of the song. This time, however, it sounded a lot better as the backing instruments and vocals made their impact. On the downside, Nigel’s sax sounded a tad off in between every two songs and he constantly had complaints about the volume from the P.A.

Dischordian at Blue Frog, Mumbai

Overall, Dischordian’s set was wholesome, enjoyable, refreshing and gave all of us at The Blue Frog, a dose of that sweet musical medicine. However, based on their track record, the band’s interaction with the crowd seemed slightly lacking. The sound could have been tighter or, should I say, the band could maybe next time not take their drinking so seriously!

Nonetheless, if you love Dischordian, this was definitely a gig worth catching because they played the best of their originals and a few magnificent covers.

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Anand Kamath

Journalist, Musician, Photographer, TV Show Enthusiast.


The Feni Farm Riot Album Launch by Dischordian at Blue Frog, Mumbai





Tuesday nights at the Blue Frog often promise something special. And this one was no exception, as Dischordian launched their much-awaited and long overdue debut album, The Feni Farm Riot. I made my way to the venue after a hard day’s work, and reached there well in time. At the pass counter, I spotted a fair amount of merchandise up for sale, including posters and coasters featuring the impressive artwork on the album cover, and of course copies of the album itself.

In keeping with the creative title, the band had arranged for free Feni shots for everyone who entered, and I promptly claimed mine. Feeling distinctly happier, I settled down at the bar counter with a beer and a few friends, and waited patiently for the gig to begin. Having never watched the band play before, my curiosity was piqued by the range of instruments that currently adorned the stage, including a grand piano, a drum kit, two acoustic guitars and a djembe.

Dischordian’s lineup for the evening consisted of Garreth D’Mello on lead vocals and guitar,Howard Pereira on lead guitar, their newest member Nigel Rajaratnam switching between the saxophone, piano and melodica, and Agnelo Picardo playing the djembe and the trumpet.

The gig began with the slow and introspective ‘Stone’, followed by a track called ‘Baby, Maybe’ and the lyrically interesting ‘Same Old Conversation’ featuring some cool trumpeting by Agnelo, definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. The band had a smooth, relaxing tone and the crowd was warming up to them nicely.

The next song, called ‘The Curtain’ was a new one as indicated by Garreth, and had an interesting arrangement with Howard relinquishing the guitar to play shakers instead. For the wonderful ‘Scourge of Love’, the band played a slightly different and slower version than the one on the album, and had Nigel switch from the melodica to the piano.

Garreth now left the stage momentarily, and returned with a large tray full of Feni shots, which he proceeded to pass out to a very eager and appreciative crowd. I certainly hope their next album has the words Tequila or Baileys somewhere in the title.

Next on the list was ‘She Lied To Me’, followed by the very intense and haunting ‘Save Me’, and the upbeat ‘Lover’. Garreth then went solo on ‘One of These Days’, and the rest of the band returned to play ‘How I Wait’, ‘Don’t Wake Me’ and ‘November’, all off the album.

The next song had Varoon Nair of The Mavyns accompanying the band on the harmonica. The song was called ‘Must Drink’, and reinforced what was clearly the theme for the night. With a slightly adapted chorus and a little help from an enthusiastic crowd, the band successfully coaxed their only teetotaling member Nigel into downing a few sips of beer, eliciting plenty of cheers all around!

It was now pretty much the perfect time to play one of Dischordian’s best and most well-known songs, ‘The Old Whore’, for which they were joined by Sidd Coutto (of Zero and Tough on Tobacco fame) on the drums. Like a perfect crescendo, the list continued to gain momentum with the brilliant up-tempo ‘our Right Heel’, followed by ‘Bucket of Blood’.

The supposed last song for the night was a cover of Rock Plaza Central’s ‘Anthem For The Already Defeated’ but the audience wasn’t about to let them go anywhere quite so soon! The band played an encore of ‘November’, with Sidd Coutto getting back behind the drums, and followed it up with an encore of ‘The Old Whore’ featuring Howard on the mandolin, and the crowd joining in on the catchy and humorous chorus.

The final song for the night quite clearly put the icing on the cake, as the band signed off with their trademark ‘Mera Sabse Lamba’, a popular (and admittedly PG-13) take on the immensely well known tune, ‘La Bamba’.

If I had to be really picky, I’d say that I might have liked to hear a short introduction to at least a few of the songs, especially since this was an album launch. But whether it was the Feni shots, the strategically placed merchandise, the brilliant set, or a combination of everything, Dischordian certainly launched their debut album in style.

At the end of the day, it was heartening to see a large number of people swarming the counter to buy copies of the album, and for anyone hoping to sell their music, I’d say that this is way to do it!


The Feni Farm Riot by Dischordian


Recorded and mixed by Aviv Pereira at Guitar Inc., Thane, and mastered by Zorran Mendonsa, the peculiarly titled The Feni Farm Riot is Dischordian’s debut studio release. The Mumbai-based band is an acoustic project led by songwriter Garreth D’Mello (also the front man for the alt-rock act Split). The album also features Aviv Pereira on guitar, Howard Pereira on guitar and Agnello Picardo on trumpet and percussion.

“Dischordian seems to be my attempt to move away from the wall of sound and aggression and testosterone that makes up most rock music,” explains D’Mello in the band’s biography. “I just wanted to do something different. Strip the music down to its basics, one guitar and one voice, just rhythms and melodies and words.”

The band is cautiously optimistic about their future after this album. “When this started, it was just me with a couple of songs that I’d maybe do before a Split set, once every few months. I didn’t imagine it would turn into a 4-piece band with some 15-odd songs, an album out, and a pretty decent fan following, if the launch gig and the overall response are anything to go by. So yeah, we’re just gonna push this the best we can, keep playing, and hopefully we’ll find ourselves pleasantly surprised once more.”

Recording the album took the band just under a month to complete, usually recording from midnight to 3 am. “If there was a clear plan, it was only with regard to the sound of the album – I was trying to capture the sound of the music as naturally and cleanly as possible, unadorned and unpolished” reflects D’Mello. “These were just songs I wrote over a period of time. A couple of them were written well before I started the band, even before I thought of doing a solo project. And the songs that were written specifically for Dischordian were also written simply as songs, not as a body of work that would eventually go out as an album. The thought of putting out an album came quite a bit later. Even after the album was recorded, the music kept evolving. The album was in fact recorded in a state of flux – Aviv had recently left the band and Howard had recently joined”.

The very creative and eye-catching cover art depicts a grim morning-after-wild-feni-induced-party picture on a beach somewhere, with an outside observer reading about ‘The Feni Farm Riot’ in the ‘Dischordian’ newspaper. “(The Feni Farm Riot) It’s just an evocative phrase, doesn’t really mean anything. It just popped into my head, and sounded like the perfect mix of hazy indolence and chaos. The fact that all three drinkers in the band love feni made it seem even more apt.” The inlay continues this theme, with lyrics and Garreth D’Mello’s commentary on some of the songs, which gives the whole album a very Storytellers vibe.

The album starts of with D’Mello going solo for the first couple of tracks. Both ‘One of These Days’ and ‘How I Wait’ serve as excellent mood-setters for the rest of the album, establishing the whole acoustic singer-songwriter vibe and providing glimpses into D’Mello’s songwriting prowess, while still holding back and not going all out, adding the element of suspense.

‘The Old Whore’ has become something of a cult underground anthem, and it’s not difficult to see why. A very strong melody coupled with cleverly written lyrics make the song instantly likeable. The simple but very catchy trumpet line interspersed throughout the song adds a fantastic dimension to an already strong song.

Same Old Conversation’ and ‘Lover’ continue the melody driven laid back vibe and highlight the bands ability to come up with really good hooks that get stuck in your head. The ‘You and me’ chorus in ‘Same Old Conversation’ was stuck in my head for a good couple of days. The song also showcases D’Mello’s unique lyrical style: “Communists and anarchists and nihilists, who gives a shit. A man constructs a school of thought, another man dismantles it.”

The next three songs after ‘Stone’ are the strongest ones from the album. With ‘Your Right Heel’ the album takes a definite turn away from ‘laid back’ and on to ‘intense’. According to D’Mello’s commentary in the inlay, the song was written after the 2009 Mangalore pub attacks and depicts a vision of one strong woman, who fought back against her attackers. The aggressive lyrics coupled with very strong vocals bring out D’Mello’s anger. “I hate lots of people, but most of all I hate totalitarian, fascist motherf***ers, and of that varied group of motherf***ers, I hate religious fundamentalists the most,” writes D’Mello.

Bucket of Blood’ continues the violence-driven lyrical theme, which culminates with the very strong chorus line “I come to you with a bucket of blood, a bucket of blood my friend.” D’Mello’s voice is strained and stretches, to extreme levels at some points, which accentuates the aggression. Howard Pereira’s acoustic guitar solo in between the verses is worth a special mention.

The haunting ‘Save Me’ is by far the best song on the album and reaffirms the point that you don’t have to have blaring loud electric guitars and drums to express anger or aggression. The slow, haunting guitar work by D’Mello and Aviv Pereira, coupled with the apt background percussion by Agnnelo Picaardo build a virtual platform, on which the vocals ride throughout the song. The strained but powerful chorus, “I don’t need you, I don’t need you, I don’t need you to save me,” drives home the song’s message.

The album eases back into the original acoustic vibe with ‘She Lied to Me’ and ‘November’ , bringing you back after the intensity of the previous songs.

The album ends with ‘Don’t Wake Me’, a song co-written by Garreth D’Mello and Nikhil D’Souza written in D’Mello’s earlier band Mr. Jones Band, and is one of the oldest songs here. The version on the album is a stripped down rendition of the original song, which D’Mello continued to play over the years. The sweet chorus harmony of the song acts as an apt ending and outro to the album.

Overall, The Feni Farm Riot is one of the most original and accomplished albums to emerge from the Indian Indie music scene. It is an album that reflects distinctly mature songwriting, captured in an extremely raw and organic form. If you haven’t managed to hear the band live yet, this album is a definite must have!