Headbanging in Bangalore
RadioCity, India's first private FM channel, got Bangalore's rock bands all excited with a contest, and the finale saw winners Antaragni performing alongside Document: Done, Pentagram and Euphoria
After months of hype, the RadioCity live show finally happened on February 2. The show, at the Palace Grounds, was a publicity vehicle for RadioCity, Bangalore's popular youth-oriented FM channel, as well as a chance for the winners to perform to an audience of five to six thousand. This wasn't all the winners got -- they also won Rs 100,000, which they split among themselves. The winners were decided by a jury of musicians, and listeners who sent in their votes.
Though the show started an hour late and Document: Done -- the 'runners-up' - could do their sound-check only by 6.30 or so (Delhi-based Pentagram had had the equipment changed which got Document: Done redo the settings), the show was a complete blast thanks to excellent sound and the fantastic music. And oh yes, let's not forget to say our prayers to the Rain Gods - not a drop fell!
Bangalore-based Document: Done did some of their originals like Down MG Road, Free Tibet and their signature song Kill The Band. With its headbanger-oriented lyrics and power chords, the band had the crowd roaring for more. The quartet, which had started out part-time because all the band members were working in a software company (which is where the inspiration for their name comes from. Check the bottom-left of your browser and you'll know why!), has been around on Bangalore's music circuit for quite some time. They go down pretty easy with both kinds of crowd -- the head-banging type as well as the soft-rocker. Chris Avinash, the lead guitarist, also leads another band, Angel Dust.
Every show has to have someone for the crowd to vent their anger at and this time it was RadioCity RJ and sometime DJ, Rohit Barker, who came on stage trying to look like a member of Vengaboyz! Of course, he was booed and hooted at, but that didn't stop him from clowning around!
Antaragni, the fusion music band, came on next. Though the band's core sound is Raghupathy Dixit's gusty vocals and Vidwan Mysore H N Bhaskar's mellifluent tones and lightning-fast solos on his Karnatak violin, this time around -- as it was mostly rock fans who had come to the show -- Raghu ("...the man with vocal chords from God!") had rustled up some more artistes to give their sound some muscle.
Of the rest of the band (it was a quintet this time around), Manoj George, also on violin, deserves special mention. Manoj, who's been playing for the past 20 years, enthralled the crowd with his virtuoso playing, bringing in jazz and Western classical influences into essentially Karnatak tunes. Antaragni wowed the crowd by fusing traditional rock riffs, Indian folk and Carnatic influences in songs like Like Cocaine, No Man Will Ever Love You Like I Do and Material Minds, without the seams showing. Antaragni went on to play at Nrityagram's Vasantha Habba, the annual spring festival hosted by the late Protima Bedi'd dance village, later in the night. (For those who missed the show, Antaragni is playing again in Bangalore at Trans Indus on Feb 9. For details mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
But it was Pentagram who really rocked the show. Apart from playing covers ("Bangalore is the only f--- city where even girls know Marilyn Manson!"), Pentagram did a few originals which the audience lapped up. The foursome went down well with the hard rockers who were waiting for something to headbang to. Massive riffs and double bass lines define the band's music.
The only let-down in the show was the day's star attraction, Euphoria. Expectations ran high when they took centrestage, but with Palash Sen, the lead singer, singing off-key most of the time and the rest of the band losing out on their timing on some occasions, most of the crowd left before they could even finish their set (forget about staying for encores)! There were some who had come only to watch Euphoria, but, boy, were they disappointed. One overheard conversations of extreme dissatisfaction at Euphoria's playing, though they did a fine extempore version of the signature tune Dhoom pichuck.
Apart from great music, there were a lot of other things that are normally part of a rock concert. The frisking was minimal and one could find cigarettes everywhere. Hash, too, was pretty conspicuous and more than half the crowd was drunk.
Though the show had its share of hassles (starting an hour late, sound-checks when the show started...) the organisers took them in their stride and the audience didn't have very much to complain about as all they were interested in was the sound, which was excellent. All in all, it was a great show, if for nothing else, for promoting local bands and artistes with loads of talent but no way of communicating to a larger audience.
Niki N Kalpa
Published on 6 February
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