Tag Archives: The Kyra Theatre
Benefit JAM at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore
Public Issue at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore
Aks, Illuminati and Live Banned at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore
Stuck in November and Frank’s Got the Funk at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore
Opening acts are usually put in place to work-up the crowd and get things started before the headliners take to the stage. They are typically what people don’t buy tickets for, unless their schedules permit it. At smaller gigs, I’ve seen people skipping the “openers” and arriving only in time to watch the main act. However, ignoring them may sometimes be a regrettable blunder. Thankfully, on the 11th of February, before Frank’s Got the Funk (FGTF) started with their set at Kyra, I was at the venue right on time to watch Stuck In November (SIN).
Most of Stuck In November’s compositions are typical of a post-Rock set-up: no vocals, extensive instrumental portions with contrasting and harmonized guitars, and prudent use of distortion and affected sounds. Their music ranges from dark, moody, elevating, and melodic to treacherously rocky, but it never misses the essence of the genre.
Nihal and Arjun on guitars and Kuldip on bass demonstrated typical post-Rock synchronizations, tunes and chord progressions. It almost seemed like their music had some mystical undercurrents, because just two songs into the gig, the listeners could be seen swaying their heads, eyes closed as if in a state of trance. Mayur proved to be the star of the evening – his meticulous drumming made most of the songs meander and gradually evolve, build and finally explode. I am a sucker for 16th and 32nd notes on the high-hat, and sometimes at a BPM of 100-150 he displayed brilliance and dexterity, and I haven’t even begun to talk about the roaring drum-rolls and soul-stirring crashes! Mayur kept jolting the listeners constantly with some brilliant and unpredictable punches on his drums, although the volume on the drums made the sound just a notch heavier than the majority of post-Rock bands (or maybe it was just the acoustics in Kyra).
SIN did not talk interact with the crowd at all, but the listeners did not complain – their music seemed to speak for them. Their performance lasted for just about 35 minutes which seemed to fly by quite fast, but it defined the off-the-wall genre that they represent, very closely. With this opening act they deserve to have won over new fans for themselves and for the genre.
SIN’s set for the evening included ‘The Ocean Burns‘, ‘The Sun, ‘Drown’, ‘Phoenix’, ‘Dusk‘, ‘Part One‘, and ‘A Million Lighbulbs‘.
Frank’s Got the Funk did not waste any time once they were handed over the stage. After a little humorous interaction with the crowd, they started their set with ‘The Funk is Back’. Thereafter, the band played all the songs from their debut album +he Nex+ Level, and also covered Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstitious‘. The tracks ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Frank’s Got The Funk’ seemed to be the most popular and even had people from the audience demanding for them! When the band obliged, there was a lot of singing-along, jumping-around, and head-banging that ensued, so I reckoned that FGTF has a considerable number of listeners who don’t just listen to their songs, but listen to them regularly enough to remember the lyrics and sing them word to word!
The keyboard solo on ‘Dynamite’ was thrilling and the rhythm guitar created a nice harmony. On ‘Cop Chase’, the riffs pepped up the mood, and the guitar solo towards the end was indeed reminiscent of a fast-paced car-chase scene! This song is mischievous in lyrical content, and indulgent in orchestration. ‘Fast Song’ began with a superb keyboard solo, which was not just dark in selection of tones and tune, but was also the backbone of this enjoyable track. It complemented the guitars fabulously. ‘FGTF’ has remarkable keyboards and guitars solos. This is FGTF’s signature track. ‘Old man’ has a catchy chord progression and the harmony with keys reminded me distantly of Wolfmother‘s ‘Joker and a Thief’. The tone for the lead may be a crafty tweak, the power chords seem exactly the same, and just the pattern sounds different. There’s this imaginary character ‘Frank’ whose incoherent story is being narrated in five songs on their album. But the band did not talk about it at all, so a beginner would still have to read some of their interviews and listen to them closely enough to figure that out.
FGTF’s funk is a convergence of funk, and hard/alternative/punk rock. Bjorn’s vocals are powerful and consistent, though he tends to get a tad nasal at times. Sajith’s bass is as good as a funk band has to get, though with the unfairly amplified drums at Kyra that day, it was hard to spot the bass-line sometimes. Vikram Ashok’s keyboard is pretty much the backbone of not just a few tracks, but of the band itself. It ranges from delivering a soulful punch to a psychedelic tickle. Merwyn is quite accomplished with his lead guitar and is equipped with an analog processing pod, but he doesn’t over-indulge himself in the harmony, and lets the keys lead him most of the times. Shashank’s drumming is funky to begin with – great pocketing and outstanding double kick. It may sound like deceiving the genre at some points, but is carefully grounded. He occasionally decorates the sound with jazz type fills, combined with rock style licks, but never misses the framework of a funk-rock groove. In totality, this five-member band from Chennai looks promising. They have already released an album, and are playing the circuit extensively. I hope they come up with more original work soon (a second album, perhaps), so that their gigs last longer, and fans have a lot more to relish!
Overall, both the bands offered a delightful contrast – Stuck In November created an atmosphere of trance, and FGTF gave a performance that made for a nice adrenaline rush. While one had calming textures and timbres, the other had jolting rhyme and rhythm. One vamped like masters, while the other riffed like pros. With a convergence of Jazz, Rock, Ambient, and Electronica on one side, and a potpourri of Funk, progressive Rock, and Alternative on the other, watching these two bands play live one after the other, would be a treat for any connoisseur of genres.
Chilly Potato at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore
TrendSlaughter Fest II at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore
It was a pleasant surprise that the second edition of the TrendSlaughter fest was going to be held barely ten months after the first. Unlike a majority of the smaller metal gigs held at Bangalore so far, TSF comes across as an excellently organized one. The billing was great – 4 local and 2 international acts, all chosen to make sure that a lot of different genres, spanning across the spectrum of metal were on the table – they had everything from sludgy doom to thrash to old school death to grind. The stellar line-up consisted of Djinn & Miskatonic, Dhwesha and Gorified providing support to the headliners – Cauchemar, Dying Embrace and Abigail. The organizers, Cyclopean Eye Productions, were not one bit cheeseparing when it came to the nitty-gritties like having nicely printed tickets and posters. Other things like having pick-up points for the tickets, the excellent merchandize stall, starting the gig more or less on time and finishing it on time, were much appreciated as well.
All the bands, with the exception of Djinn & Miskatonic and Gorified, had something for the merchandise section. Dhwesha had a new tape (their very first release) along with a new poster featuring the album art, Dying Embrace also had a new poster and a DVD featuring a few songs from their previous performance at Riff ’em All, Cauchemar managed to bring CDs and patches of their debut album and Abigail had stocked a fair number of albums on both CD and Vinyl.
The first band on the bill was the unorthodox Djinn & Miskatonic, playing their eerie brand of doom which, while many may not be accustomed to, caught the attention of the slow trickle of people turning up (that and, possibly, the lack of a guitarist).
The slow, lumbering elephantine riffs, the droning vocals and massive drumming worked really well. All the four songs they played that night (including the new ‘7-year Itch’) sank in well with the crowd. If only they had added some cool background art, better coordinated lighting to their creepy, muddy doom they would have been a real treat to watch!
Dhwesha took stage right after and ploughed right into their set. Even though the band has had only two prior performances to their credit, they certainly know how to put on a show. There was a marked improvement from their previous gig, notably with respect to audience interaction.
To their usual setlist of ‘Hoy!Sala’, ‘Yuddabhumi’, ‘Ugra Narasimha’ and ‘Dhwesha’ new song additions in ‘Neeney Alu’ and ‘Sattva Bali’ were made. Add to that an excellent cover of Obituary’s ‘Slowly We Rot’ and you’ve got one helluva show on your hands – old school death metal done well!
Goregrind veteran band Gorified was next to take stage. Having seen them quite a few times last year they really didn’t have anything new to bring to the table but put on a brutal show for all the gore fiends in attendance nonetheless.
As is usual with Gorified, violent moshing started right from the opening note of the first song, ‘Engorged the Disfigured’. The fact that Shreyas was missing behind the drum kit didn’t deter Gorified from playing a longer set than usual. They ended their set with an announcement concerning the upcoming Undergrind Fest and stated that Wormrot from Singapore had been confirmed as the main headliners and were to be supported by local talent in Anorectal Ulceration, Bad Taste, the recently reformed Perforated Limb and Gorified themselves.
Cauchemar, the Canadian doom metal band, was the first of the headliners to play. They are probably the first international traditional doom metal act to play here in India. Due to the fact that their drummer wasn’t able to join them and that Annick didn’t play live bass for the band, Ganesh Krishnaswamy (Bevar Sea) and Deepak Raghu (Bevar Sea/Dying Embrace) provided drum and bass support for their sole Asian gig. It was really heartening to see how well the Bevar Sea guys gelled with Annick and Francois, learnt the Cauchemar songs in such a short notice and made the band feel like a cohesive unit.
Cauchemar’s sound is predominantly rooted in old school doom ethos à la Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pagan Altar and a ton of other doom legends with Judas Priest-esque interludes and passages in a couple of the songs. Their set consisted of the five songs from their debut EP La Vierge Noire as well as ‘Under the Oak’, a Candlemass cover.
They started off with ‘Magie Rouge’, a slightly melancholic number which with Annick’s vocals (which were in French) sounded magical. The next song, ‘Valse Funebre’, continued in the same vein – it was some quality doom that these folks were playing! ‘Les Ailes de la Mort’ brought an up-tempo swing to set, following which they reverted back to playing slow doom in ‘Les Gardiens de la Terre’. The Candlemass cover came next and the band ended their splendid show with ‘La Voile D’isis’. A performance par excellence, without doubt.
The legendary Dying Embrace finally took stage to a crowd cheering and applauding thunderously, this being their first show after Riff ’em All in October. They started off their set with the crushing ‘As Eternity Fades’ followed by a chilling performance of ‘The Passing Away.’ In keeping with the dark atmosphere they’d conjured, the next track in their arsenal was ‘Blood Rites’.
Then came the iconic, blood-curdling, hair-raising shriek from Vikram that meant ‘Grotesque Entity’ was on next. This was followed by the much-awaited ‘Dagda – His Time Has Come’, mainly for Jimmy’s disorienting, blistering solos. Just like their previous performance at TrendSlaughter, Vik had a surprise for the fans. This time around the giveaway was a DVD (Carrying the Burden of Doom) of their previous outing (before this, it was a special re-issue of their EP Grotesque).
They seemed to have wrapped up the set with ‘Spawn of the Depths’, ‘Oremus Diabolum’ and a tribute to their idols Autopsy – a brilliant cover of ‘Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay’. Back for the encore, they had yet another surprise – a new song titled ‘Ascendence of Namtar’, that had the added pressure of living up to DE’s legacy and it didn’t disappoint. It was almost as though the decade, that had passed since they had last written any material, never happened, or didn’t matter. The song was heavy as f**k – some good old school doom metal with Persian/middle-eastern vibes. And, on that high note, they ended their performance of the night. Kudos to Deepak Raghu for playing so well with no break immediately after Cauchemar’s set.
The final band to play that night was Japan’s Abigail. Raw, abrasive, highly energetic thrash is what this three-piece band dished out – Motorhead of the east as some of the people at the gig quite rightly put it. The first half of their set consisted of numbers that leaned towards punk/thrash, while quite a few from the latter half were more black/thrash in nature.
They put on a charged high-octane performance, interacting well with the crowd, who after a couple of minutes started massive, back-breaking, neck-snapping, frenzied mosh pit- a fitting response for a song titled ‘Satanik Metal F**king Hell’. Their entire set was a raucous, loud thrash attack, what with the aggressive riffing and angry solos that accompanied them, the shrill battle-cries that formed the vocals and drumming that simply sought to bludgeon everything in its path!
While there was a communication barrier of sorts, the more or less incomprehensible howls of the frontman Yasuyuki were taken by the crowd as a sign to raise hell. They played a massive set of around twelve songs without showing any signs of fatigue or wearing down. The encore, consisting of three songs, was just as lively as the main set. And, for their very last song – ‘Rocking Metal Motherf**kers’, they had Vikram from Dying Embrace and Annick from Cauchemar join them on stage to take on vocal and bass duties respectively and play their hearts out, which was as good an end to the show as one could expect.
Allowing the crowd to hang out and freely interact with the international bands was a good thing to do on the organizer’s part – the fans who purchased merchandize managed to get it autographed and the bands were more than happy to oblige. A fairly large number of posters were distributed to the crowd after all the bands had performed and quite a few people stayed back to either get more autographs or photographs along with the band members.
The show ran smoothly with no hiccups, with each of the bands putting forth a great performance. All in all, it was a great showcasing of Bangalore’s Metal underground while introducing bands from around the world to the Indian scene. Attendees indeed got their money’s worth and here’s hoping to more such gigs in the future – kvltest show of the year indeed!
XXX’Mas at The Kyra Theatre, Bangalore
The XXX’Mas gig held on Christmas Eve, more importantly on Lemmy’s birthday, was supposed to be a tribute to those artists born in December who had inspired the bands playing that night. The artists being paid tribute were Dave Murray, Lemmy Kilmister, Ozzy Osbourne, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Marty Friedman, Randy Rhoads, Daniel Antonsson, Jari Maenpaa, Mille Petrozza, Chris Barnes, Chuck Schuldiner, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.
There were a few hiccups before the gig began – Corrode (covering Dark Tranquility/Wintersun), Pushing Tin (covering Jimi Hendrix/The Doors) and Theorized (covering Metallica/Megadeth) pulled out at the very last minute. Shepherd, Djinn & Miskatonic and Dhwesha pitched in and agreed to play even though it was at such short notice.
Shepherd was a few minutes into their set when we walked into Kyra. Since we were not familiar with the band due to last minute changes in the line-up, the first couple of minutes were spent trying to figure out what they were called. Though they have a characteristic doom-laden sound, the down-tuned, but heavily distorted lead guitars and the processed, yet abrasive vocals were very much reminiscent of YOB, or even Acid Bath. The throbbing bass was prominent in the mix, and even though most of the tracks lasted a bit over six minutes, the sudden tempo changes surely made for an interesting set. We later found out that this was their very first gig, something that was perhaps evident from the zero interaction the frontman had with the crowd. Shepherd is certainly a band to look forward to in the future, especially for the sludge-like vibe from their sound.
Djinn & Miskatonic was the second band of the three last-minute additions that evening. They have a very interesting and unconventional line-up that consists of a drummer, a bassist and a vocalist (yessir, no lead/rhythm guitars!) D&M’s sound is primarily bass-driven (duh), with the rhythm section playing a tight, but plodding version of traditional doom rock grooves. The vocals range from laboured, almost drone-like sections sung clean, to low-pitched growls. The feel, if we could use the term, is one of horror films of days gone by, to be honest. Their brand of ultra-slow, trudging doom is not everyone’s cup of gin & tonic, and will certainly confuse a metalhead who sticks to the conventional riff-based gloom perpetrated by the likes of Sabbath, Pentagram and Candlemass.
Dhwesha was the third band in queue and put on a great show even though it was only their second live performance and they had little time to practise. They kicked off their set with typical, old school death metal ferocity and ‘Hoy! Sala’ was the first of the original compositions that they played. After enthralling the crowd with ‘Dhwesha’, ‘Ugra Narasimha’ and ‘Yudhabhumi’, they even managed to squeeze in a rousing cover – Bolt Thrower’s ‘Those Once Loyal’. Together with Djinn & Miskatonic and Shepherd they provided an excellent opening for the rest of the bands lined up.
Up next were Gorified, one of the bands from the original line-up. They were paying tribute to Cannibal Corpse and Death, more specifically Chris Barnes of the former and the Chuck Schuldiner of the latter (Schuldiner wasn’t born in December but passed away that month). As is their standard, they got the moshing started in no time giving the crowd a nice, strong dose of their brand of extreme metal. Their brutal onslaught included intense covers – Cannibal Corpse’s ‘A Skull Full of Maggots’ and ‘Stripped, Raped and Strangled’; Death’s ‘Denial of Life’ and Napalm Death’s ‘Scum.’ They ended their savagery with a song from Gani and Charlie’s older project Cremated Souls.
Mumbai’s Albatross were the next band on stage and their set that night was a tribute to Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads. They took a while to get started and set up but once their set began they were a sheer thrill to watch. The vocalist – Biprorshee Das has a solid set of pipes and terrific stage presence; he was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the night. They started off with classics ‘Bark at the Moon’ and ‘Crazy Train’ and had quite a few people singing along. Switching gears, they played Sabbath much to the crowd’s delight. Following their commendable covers of ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ and ‘N.I.B.’, they had a surprise for the crowd – Ganesh Krishnaswamy from Bevar Sea joined them for a brilliant rendition of ‘Paranoid’. Reverting back to Ozzy one last time, they played ‘Gets me Thru’ and ‘Mr. Crowley’. They had one last cover for the night – Wolf’s ‘Voodoo’ – and did quite a good job of it, especially Biprorshee, who nailed those falsettos with ease. The set ended with ‘In the Court of Kuru’, a song from their debut E.P.
Headliners Kryptos were doing an Iron Maiden tribute set (celebrating Dave Murray’s birthday). Much like a Maiden gig, they had U.F.O’s ‘Doctor, Doctor’ playing on the P.A. before taking stage, something that rather unfortunately went more or less unnoticed by a large chunk of the crowd. They started with ‘Ides of March’ and proceeded to play ‘Wrathchild’ and ‘Killers’ with Ganesh taking over vocal duties the second time that night. Nolan Lewis attempted the formidable task of singing songs from Dickinson-era Maiden and did quite a good job with ‘Children of the Damned’ and ‘Flight of Icarus’. Biprorshee joined Kryptos for a phenomenal cover of ‘The Trooper’, and everyone in the crowd was chanting along fervently with the band. Ganesh was back on stage once more to round up the set with ‘Running Free’ and ‘Iron Maiden’. Kryptos were hands down the best set/performance of the night. They were also the only band to play only covers that night (Pillbox 666 doesn’t count given that they’re a cover band).
The last act of the night, Pillbox 666, took to the stage to a reduced and slightly sluggish crowd. Their set was a tribute to the mighty Lemmy from Motorhead and Teutonic thrash legends Kreator (Mille Petrozza), though the original billing had them doing a Rolling Stone tribute too. Vikram Bhat, the vocalist, couldn’t make it and the vocal duties were taken over by Ganesh and Bharad Ravi (ex-Culminant). The first half of their set comprised of Motorhead covers, Ganesh pulling of an uncannily good impression of Lemmy, playing ‘The Chase is Better than the Catch’, ‘Killed by Death’, ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘Going to Brazil’ before handing over the reins to Bharad who closed the Motorhead set with ‘Overkill’. The next half – the Kreator tribute set – was equally fun to watch (more so since the songs were from Kreator’s first two albums) with them performing badass covers of ‘Under the Guillotine’, ‘Son of Evil’, ‘Total Death’ and ‘Tormentor’.
Despite the last minute changes in the line-up and the fact that almost half of the bands ended up performing original material instead of covers, the good turnout and the nostalgia associated with some of the artists that were being paid tribute to, made sure the audience had a good time. Given how city-centric the metal acts in our scene are, it was a refreshing change to see a band like Albatross to come over all the way from Mumbai to play here. Certainly something everyone would like to see more of in the days to come. No milk and cookies here for Mr. Claus though, beer and cigarettes are more rock n’ roll! Bet Lemmy would agree.
Harley Rock Riders – TAAQ and Half Step Down at Kyra, Bangalore
It’s not often that you get to see a bass guitarist steal the band’s thunder (had to slip in a vague Harley reference there), but the Bangalore leg of the Harley Rock Riders gig at the revamped Kyra bore witness to this. The line-up at the concert included the Delhi-based Half Step Down, local favorites Thermal and a Quarter and a host of Harleys making up the supporting cast. Swarathma’s Jishnu was on stage in an unfamiliar emcee role and had traded his usual garb for a Harley Davidson jacket!
Half Step Down, led by vocalist Dhaval Mudgal (who happens to be Shubha Mudgal’s son) was the first band on stage and boy, did they kill it! Working in a few tidy covers into their set, HSD were full o’ flair and their reggae-influenced-rock instantly struck a chord with the audience. Guitarist Alvaro Lopez expertly handled the breaking of not one but two strings during HSD’s cover of ‘Hush’ and managed to play out a reasonable solo without missing a beat. Bassist Carl Abraham shone through the HSD originals like ‘Working Hour’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’. His finger-picking technique and sense of groove were impeccable and HSD maintained a fun and energetic vibe throughout their set. As a testament to their reggae roots they performed a tight cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’. HSD’s debut self-titled album has a few stand-out tracks but one song that doesn’t feature on the album titled ‘Mojo’ is only played live, for a reason! The song, possibly the best one of the gig, HAS to be heard live. HSD rounded their set off with a cover of Jet’s ‘Are you Gonna Be My Girl’ and one of their own compositions as the crowd appreciatively clapped for these capital fellows. (Although I could swear I heard a stray “play Coldplay” shout-out from the crowd!)
Thermal and a Quarter took to the stage and opened their set with their unreleased track ‘Simply Be’. I’ve never been disappointed at a TAAQ show and this was no exception as Bruce Lee Mani and Co, and I’m quoting HSD’s facebook page here, were a masterclass on stage. ‘Galacktiqua’, an angry song about loud billboards and neon signs and possibly the band’s loudest song was next on their setlist. A person in the audience even contrived to break his glass just as Bruce sang the lyric “Don’t lose your grip on that wine glass.”
TAAQ proceeded to do a rather surprising, Paul Anka-ish cover of Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’ which they followed up with their dedication to Christ College (faux Mallu accent and all) ‘Holy Jose’. One can argue that even the previous song was a sly dedication to their Christ college roots. TAAQ then played the instrumental track ‘Hoedown’, a traditional American folk track made most famous by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It is this sort of eclectism that makes Thermal such an admired and respected band within the local music scene. The crowd, which consisted largely of Harley owners (and some large Harley owners) wasn’t familiar with TAAQ’s oeuvre and unfortunately never really warmed up to the terrific music on display. (this time I DID hear a “play Coldplay” shout-out from the crowd.)
The show ended with a soulful cover of Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and their most popular composition ‘Paper Puli’. Prakash was virtuoso on the bass as he effortlessly kept up with Bruce’s fancy guitar chops, even managing to overshadow him on one of his solos. Rajeev on the drums was tight as ever as TAAQ pulled off yet another impeccable show. During a trivia Q & A session during the interval, I even managed to win a pair of Sennheiser earphones! Honestly, I have only good things to say about this concert as it was the right mix of fun, high energy and really good music. Here’s hoping that Harley fans who love the trademark low-rumbling double potato sound of their bikes took a liking to the awesome sound of Indian Rock Music.