Hello everyone! I know it has been a long time, but yes, sometimes life doesn’t allow you to go so frequently for gigs. (This also happens because of my mood swings :|).
Fortunately, all of that didn’t happen for the next gig that I was going for. I was kinda stoked as I was going to watch one of the earliest indie bands that I started following, i.e Blackstratblues.
When Blackstratblues came to play at Fandom at Gilly’s Redefined on a Friday, I missed out on that, (Happened somewhere in March 1st week) but I got to know that they were playing again, on the 31st of March.
As the days went by, the notification came that the Scullers Music Festival was having its second edition(I m not sure if it’s the second edition), and this time, the featuring acts are The Django Twins and Blackstartblues.
To know about the first edition of the Scullers Music Festival, which featured The Peepal Tree and Parvaaz, do check out my post here:
Same as the last time, the complimentary passes were to be applied for, by signing up on the given link, and they had to be collected from the Scullers Store in Indiranagar. So that happened about 2 weeks before the show. :). There were tickets for the show as well, which were being sold after 26th March on BookmyShow.
The venue remained the same as well, i.e The Blue Frog, Bengaluru. The venue had some makeover with the section outside, and improvements inside as well, which has led to an excellent makeover in terms of ambiance.
The Django Twins consists of guitarists, Joey Sharma and Siddharth Gautam, who formed the act based on a common love for gypsy jazz. Based in Bangalore, they work as guitar instructors taaqademy(How cool is that?!)
I had witnessed The Django Twins in a Sofar gig, on Aug 19th, 2017, and they performed as a duo, making me aware of this style for the first time (in a more formal way, as compared to the stuff I would have heard in the movies). Discovering such bands on a Sofar is what makes the experience exciting and memorable.
Here’s a glimpse of their performance on Sofar Sounds (spot me in the video ;))
I was a little late for the show, and they were taking it away with their performance. Contrary to the last time, they were accompanied by two other members this time, one on the drums, and the other on the bass. With this setup, the performance got groovier. The crowd was enjoying the gypsy twist to the surroundings and were shaking a leg to the groove.
The bass player was enjoying the attention, and since his sound came quite well in the mix, and his groovy bass lines would keep the audience at their feet, and the artists would jam along with it, or pause around. The audience loved the stuff that they were playing, and when the time came to wrap it up, they wanted more.
The encore came in the form of a popular ask, i.e the Caravan, which is a famous gypsy jazz tune. Off they began playing it again, as the band accompanied them.
After a break of about 10 minutes, Blackstratblues took the stage. I am watching them live for the second time, but I couldn’t write about it earlier since I barely had enough memory of it to write a post on.
Blackstratblues is a solo instrumental project by guitarist, Warren Mendonsa, who uses this as an outlet for his own musical pursuits, apart from working and touring with top music composers, such as A.R Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Amit Trivedi, Salim-Sulaiman, Karsh Kale, and producing albums for other upcoming artists as well.
The name of the band is centered around Warren Mendonsa’s Black Fender Stratocaster. The USP of the music is his riffs and the tones that he uses for different sections on the songs. The musical style is influenced by blues and rock music of the 70s, coupled with occasional electronica influences, more predominant in their recent releases.
He released his first album, “Nights in Shining Karma” in 2007, and that album earned him a fan in me from the first listen. :D.
They began their set with “Sometimes This World(Is Not Such a Bad Place)“, from their latest album, The Last Analog Generation. Warren kicks it off with his leads, as his amazing band accompanies him with a spunk like no other. After that fast-paced song, he moved to his first album, to play Anuva’s Sky.
One of their specialties is even though they are enjoying playing the music, each of the members leaves their mark in the performance. You have the incredible Jai Row Kavi, who can amaze you with his hits and rolls.
You have Adi Mistry, whose bass lines passages, lead the way for the music to flow. You have Beven’s keys, who adds the layers, and the sonic elements to the arrangement. The combined effect of each of their performances compliments the music better, rather than just merely accompanying Warren’s riffs.
They also ended up playing other songs from their new album, such as Lead Chain Swing, Mediatrician, The Last Analog Generation, Reconnaissance Mission, and the most loved, North Star.
I believe their set is incomplete without him playing, Blues for Gary, and he did. 😀 (It is like a tribute to the famous blues guitarist, Gary Moore)
This is something that drew me to their music, and this wasn’t just emotional appeal, but also the performance of the tracks based on arrangements, mix, tones used, etc.
He went on to play “Ode to a Sunny Day”, which is the longest song in their set, moving into a small extended jam as well. Warren did lose himself in the music, getting into extended jams here and there.
What I could have enjoyed better in the show is the sound mix for the band. The Django Twins had a better sound output and mix. I believe the balance could have been better, as certain sections of Warren’s playing which needed to be highlighted, got lost in the loud bass and drums.
They ended their set playing their most loved songs like North Star and Bombay Rain. The crowd was an enthusiastic lot, and people knew when the best parts of the song would come by.
Overall this was one band I always wanted to write about, as they are one of the few indie bands I had started listening to on Soundcloud in my initial days. Warren Mendonsa is India’s own hero of the Stratocaster, and that is something I like to brag about I guess. (I’ll pick Warren over Ehsaan Noorani! :P)
Overall, I can say that this was an amazing show. You will rarely get to go to gigs, that feature more than one instrumental act in the lineup, and here we have both the acts playing instrumental music for the crowd, with great appreciation and reception from them. This is a positive change in trends, and hence exciting.
Do check out the better photos on the link below (to the BlueFrog page).
Do check out the music of Blackstratblues and The Django Twins here! And I will be back in another post with upcoming gigs this month!. Until then, cheers!! 😀
Do leave me a feedback or comment here or on my Facebook page!.
P.S: All photos on this post are clicked by me.