Tag Archives: Where The Streets Have No Name

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune


It’s not often that you get to enjoy 80s music these days. The once ubiquitous rock pub where you could sip a leisurely beer while tripping on Mr. Mister and Culture Club on loop is fast being replaced by live gig joints: not that I’m complaining! However, when news broke that a U2 tribute night was being organized at a nice alfresco bar not too far from home, we thought: why not? It’s probably too early to be paying tribute to a band still going strong, but given the bleak possibility of the aging rebels from Dublin ever making it to Indian shores, this would be the next best thing.

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

I’d never heard The Beatroute before. According to their Facebook and Reverbnation pages, they’re a Mumbai-based Alternative Groove Rock band that started off by playing covers of songs by bands ranging from U2 and Incubus to Maroon5, Coldplay, Wolfmother, etc. They’ve recently started composing and playing original music, which they will be releasing soon. However, we’re always all ears when it comes to new acts on the scene so, after a lazy Sunday afternoon siesta, we took off towards the High Spirits pub at Koregaon Park – a nice enough venue for live music, but just a trifle small and unsuited for large turnouts.

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

We needn’t have worried. For quite a while, it seemed as if The Beatroute’s active audience would not cross the dozen mark, though a bunch of late entrants did fill the place to some extent. The band started off bang on schedule which I liked, and without the prolonged and annoying sound checks that are the bane of any paying audience they launched effortlessly into ‘Elevation’ and surprised many, including myself, with their tight sound. A fairly decent attempt at covering a band that often sounds deceptively easy. The good feeling persisted a few songs later, with an unexpected original called ‘Roll the Dice’ in which the rhythm section came into its own, with a sprightly drum solo tossed in to boot!

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

The Beatroute, formed in late 2010, is still young as bands go, but you wouldn’t know it from the ease with which vocalist Greg Sarma hit the high notes that Bono is much loved for; or from Vignesh Iyer’s neat ‘The Edge’ imitation (woolen cap and all), his red PRS and Boss GT10 weaving a loop of nice chorus-y delays that characterize the Irish band’s sound. The show-stealer however, was Eeshan Tripathi, the talented, classically trained pianist who played his Roland Fantom G6 with a nonchalant ease that was a joy to behold. The “long-haired freak on the bass” (Biswajit Chakroborty) and a replacement drummer (Toobloo, really?) standing in for founding member Gopal Dutta who, with Tripathi, branched out from regional-rockers Arth to form The Beatroute, complete the lineup.

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

There were glitches, sure – the guitars were barely audible on the left speakers for a lot of the songs. The Beatroute would be well served with a full-time sound guy on board, a role currently being moonlighted, one understands, by their manager. But on a lot of songs, the band’s love for the material shone through. I was particularly looking forward to my favourite U2 number ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ and there was an awkward “Oh no!” moment when Greg started the verse two bars too early but the rest of the gang caught up quickly and it was smooth sailing right till the beautifully executed arpeggio outro. I, for one, was happy though it was becoming increasingly clear that the audience members weren’t exactly die-hard U2 admirers.

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

The next track, a groovy, funky love song called ‘Glow’, was carried effortlessly by the talented Eeshan and extremely well-received by the audience. The band seemed rather thrilled by the fact that the crowd was enjoying their originals more than the U2 covers they were ostensibly there to watch!

Next up, a rather ordinary cover of an extraordinary song: ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ from U2’s Grammy-winning Joshua Tree album. Everything was wrong: the guitars were turned too low, the vocals seemed off, the band didn’t seem to feel the song at all. Sensing a low, they quickly launched into a piano piece that morphed seamlessly into the jivey ‘Sweetest Thing’. Now I’ll be the first to confess that this is NOT my favourite U2 track by any stretch of imagination, not in the least because Boyzone is singing the chorus! However, surprisingly for me, this was the rendition of the evening – beautifully done, with the audience swaying and singing along.

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

The band seemed to grow massively in confidence after that, playing ‘One’ with panache. If only that acoustic guitar patch had been set up correctly for the vocalist! He did his best, sure, but there was something wrong with the way it was sounding, and Vignesh caught it right away when he traded in the PRS for the Walden acoustic for the next number, a jazz-funk original that was most enjoyable. I found myself marveling at these youngsters who delivered original material with such élan. In the 80s and 90s, any “good” band that dared inject so many “OC’s” into a tribute set would surely be booed off. Times have changed, it seems, and for the better!

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

Another original, ‘9 to 5′ featured in the set between excellent covers of two songs straddling opposite ends of the band’s oeuvre; the haunting ‘With Or Without You’ and ‘Hold Me,Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’ (from the Batman Forever soundtrack). With the former, the guitarist finally found his perfect sound, and it couldn’t have come at a better time! The latter kicked off with a host of keyboard runs and scratchy record effects, which set up the track rather nicely.

Da High Tribute to U2 by The Beatroute at High Spirits, Pune

I must confess I had a great time overall. The show ended rather abruptly at ten thirty, with an aborted version of ‘Vertigo’ and one of the rare moments on the show when the band’s lack of maturity in handling live situations coming to the fore (the other was at the beginning when an over-excited Greg yelled out “How we doin’, Pune?” to a deafened and rather amused audience). The best takeaway for me that night was the fact that all the material was enjoyable, including the original stuff that we hadn’t even expected to be brought to the table.

With a better sound guy and some more flying hours, this band could wind up quite the live act to watch out for. They certainly had us in high spirits as we left the venue. More power The Beatroute!


Mihir Joshi’s The Bombay Rock Project at Inorbit Mall, Mumbai





The Bombay Rock Project, although being a new entrant into Mumbai’s music scene, comprises a line-up of musicians who are well established in their own right, each of whom plays for a number of city bands. The gig they were playing today was at a mall, and I didn’t really know what to expect from them in terms of music, or the venue’s sound setup.

It was a typically windy and rainy June evening in Vashi, as the band set themselves up in the Inorbit Mall compound, close to the entrance. The place was sheltered by an unusually psychedelic looking ceiling way above, and kept out most of the rain. There was a sparse crowd present, as you’d expect in a mall, most of who were either known to the band, or curious passers-by.

A quick chat with one of the band members told me that I was to expect covers of classic Bollywood songs, with a twist, and maybe a couple of English songs thrown in as well. This surprised me, given the kind of music that I’ve heard each of these musicians play before with other bands.

So finally after a long drawn out sound check, the band was good to go. On lead guitar was Sanju Aguiar of Devoid, on bass was Ishaan Krishna of The Hoodwink Circle, on drums was Agnnelo Picaardo of Dischordian, on keyboards and saxophone was Nigel Rajaratnam of Dischordian, and spearheading the project was The Works’ vocalist, Mihir Joshi.

The first song was an upbeat cover of the title track of the Amitabh Bacchan starrer, Don, and set the stage for an energetic set list. The next was a cover of ‘Janu Meri Jaan’, from the 1980 classic, Shaan. At this point, I must admit I didn’t quite know what to make of the band. It felt a little bit indulgent, and more like they were playing to the masses, and not to a more discerning audience.

The band seemed tight and the overall sound was fairly good, given the windy conditions and that the location was for all practical purposes, a driveway. Ishaan had broken the top string of his bass guitar at the end of the second song, but to everyone’s bewilderment, nonchalantly proceeded to continue without it.

The next one was a rather crowd-pleasing mash-up medley of ‘Summer of ’69’, ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’, and ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. The songs were blended together quite well, but essentially stayed true to the originals. This was followed by another two hindi covers of the songs ‘Dekha Na’ and ‘Jawani Janeman’. So far, I had no complaints about the performance itself, but given the set list, it felt a little like we were watching an Amitabh Bacchan tribute gig.

Things started picking up with the next song, an interesting jazz-like cover of  ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ with a nice drum solo from Agnnelo and a piano solo by Nigel. Things got even more interesting with a reggae mash-up of John Mayer’s ‘Your Body Is A WonderLand’ and Lucky Ali’s ‘O Sanam’, scoring highly on the creativity scale.

The next two songs were covers of ‘Saara Zamaana’ and ‘Aap Jaisa Koi’, both of which had a distinct classic rock feel to them, and were followed by ‘Inteha Ho Gayi’ (yet again featuring the Big B) and was for me the best song so far, with Nigel switching to the saxophone towards the end.

Tossing in another English track, the band did an unusual take on the David Guetta house sensation, ‘Love Is Gone’, before moving back into hindi mode with a cover of the title track of the movie ‘Rock On’ as Mihir went into the crowd and got people to sing along with the chorus.

In response to the crowd’s request for another fast song, Mihir belted out ‘Dance Dance’, probably not my favourite of the evening, but there was a lot of energy in the performance, and some nice guitaring by Sanju. The list concluded with ‘Om Shanti Om’ and a cover of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’.

The performance overall was very entertaining. Agnnelo was solid as ever on drums, Nigel was creative with his keyboard, Ishaan was quite flawless despite playing with only three strings, and Sanju’s guitar riffs were excellent. Mihir was clearly the life of the band and though his vocals were at times a little bit pitchy, more than made up for it with some incredible showmanship and stage presence.

I’ve always found it interesting to see the name of a band qualified with the word ‘Project’. It indicates a certain lack of pretence, a degree of experimentation, and to some extent, an organised approach, all of which, The Bombay Rock Project at first glance seemed to fulfill in fair measure.

The band appears to be well prepared to take on the music scene. Their costumes and logo look to be steps towards creating a solid identity. Their performance looked tight and well rehearsed, and the members appeared relaxed and were enjoying themselves. The musicianship was of excellent quality and had a balanced sound. All in all, they appear to be unabashedly, a hindi cover band, and clearly look to be taking the commercial route by introducing rock music to the masses.


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.