HELLO EVERYONE!!! I know it has been a really long time, since my last post. I feel bad about it, but you know how life is. Priorities. Everything needs focus and time.
Anyway, let’s get out of the guilt trip and head straight to the latest gig I went for, about 3 weeks back. It was on the September 8th and there were gigs happening in 2-3 places. Somehow my friend was going for this since one of her friends was a performer for the night. Seeing how I wouldn’t get many chances to hit gigs with another indie music fan, I decided to go for this one. Another reason to choose this was the venue. This was happening at Fandom at Gilly’s Redefined, a place I have been wanting to go and enjoy a gig, ever since it opened.
Rainbow Bridge is headed by ace guitarist, Sanjeev Thomas, who has performed with names like A.R Rahman, John Beasley, Taku Hirano, and many more. I have heard him and his band perform in another gig about 3 years back(it was a different lineup then). This time, he is back with a completely new lineup, and also with his self-titled album, ST.
Following is the stellar lineup of the band:
Lead Vocals / Guitar: Sanjeev T
Bass Guitar: Shalini Mohan
Flute: Tejasvi Raghunath
Saxophone: Sweethin Hartman
Nadaswaram: Vid. Dakshina Murthy
Drums: Joshua Gopal
Thavil: Raju Kodanda
Keyboards: Noel Prashanth
Sound Engineer: Abijith Rao
I enter the venue, after a huge crowd outside, one group who’ve come to enjoy F&Bs and the other lot who have come for the gig, plus we had to buy a mandatory cover as well(Hmm!). I enter and go around, admiring the huge space around. I would say it was like going around a maze, looking for the performance area, but I was in no hurry, as I wanted to see the beautiful lighting of the place everywhere. It was quite trippy.
After all the venue admiration, I ended up meeting my friend and helped myself to some food and drinks. In the meantime, the opening act was by a solo artist named Dilip John Thomas, who was surrounded with his Macbook, samplers, keyboards. He kickstarted things for the night, with his jam tracks( which he does mention later on). Most of his jam tracks, had a bluesy, hip-hop feel to them, and he would play melodies along them with his keyboards, melodica, and even a saxophone as well.
After the solo set by Dilip, it was the time for the band to take to the stage. And this was definitely a rock band, but with a desi twist to it, with Vid. Dakshina Murthy on the Nadaswaram and Raju Kodanda on the Thavil. Nadaswaram and the Thavil are two prominent folk instruments used in the folk music in the South, predominantly in Kerala. The band kickstarted with Sanjeev’s favorite soundcheck song, Chekele, giving his own slow rendition to it. This song featured in his old album, “Epic Shit”.
He then kicked off with some of his old songs, such as Electric Pranaam, Indian Jadoo, which was composed out of a famous Madhuri Dixit song and was performed by him on Coke Studio.
The stellar musicians from his band backed him up beautifully, especially the folk instruments, giving a whole other dimension to the otherwise, blues/rock influencing sounds. The saxophone wasn’t audible initially, and I don’t know how could the sound team not catch that, but when someone in the audience pointed it out, everyone took notice of it.
Being a fellow Mangalorean myself, I was aware of Sweethin and his saxophone, performing across shows, colleges, and also being a part of a prominent band, ROL then. After that was fixed, it sounded much better, with him not only adding to the solos but also tweaking his tone for the accompaniment sections as well. Noel on the keys was subtle, yet effective, and you could also see Sanjeev telling him to go easy on the keys.
The band then moved onto performing the 4 songs from the album, starting with the pick of the lot, Mount Palani.
The audiences were loving the whole experience. He did have something for the audiences too. He asked the audiences to sing the chorus of his song, “Feel Me Now” and made the audience sing with him, as the band played the song. The audiences were receptive and learned the parts taught by him.
I want to make a special mention for Mr. Raju Kodanda who was so lively and energetic. The folk musicians would rest when the songs are purely in the western arrangement, but given an opportunity, he would also kick in his Thavil, and join the rhythm. The Thavil, when played at a peak would give a different kind of a drive to the whole arrangement that the band was in, which speaks volumes about the impact of Indian instruments, which we as an audience aren’t able to fully appreciate.
After performing their set, the Western musicians took a small break, allowing our traditional instruments to take over, and mesmerize us with a Carnatic rendition. Mr. Noel wasn’t in the mood for a break, so he joined them in providing some soothing accompaniment to the sounds.
The band was back, performing another 2 songs. The fun part about this night was it was Sanjeev’s birthday, and he shared the same date and year with Mr. Raju.
He also announced the winners or the “Jam with ST” contest, which he ran before the launch gig on his page, uploading a song from the album as a jam track for musicians to jam and work around. He called a winning guitarist, Someshwar Bhattacharya, who joined him on the guitar, jamming with the band. He then called the other winners, Ms. Namitha, a classical vocalist, who mesmerized her with her voice and alaaps. The other vocalist winner, Sandeep also joined him on stage. (If someone is willing to give me the right names of the winners, I will happily make the changes)
After such beautiful individual performances, it was time for the band to call it a night, as they thank the audience for coming to the show, which Sanjeev called his wedding reception.
After finally enjoying the gig at this venue, I can finally check this off my list for must-see venues in Bangalore. To get your hands on the album, go to Sanjeev T.
I promise to be quicker with my posts, maybe I extended my break a bit too much, but I will be back real soon, as the season of gigs is kicking in.
All photos clicked by me. Event banner was taken from the Facebook Event of the gig.
To check out some more kickass photos of the gig, check out the link below: