SCULLERS MUSIC FESTIVAL: THE DJANGO TWINS AND BLACKSTRATBLUES

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.

bluefrog, scullers music festival, bengaluru, live music, indie bands in india, indian bands, indian music, live venues, bookmyshow, church street

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:

Scullers Music Festival- ft. PEEPAL TREE & PARVAAZ

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.

bluefrog, bengaluru, blackstratblues, thegiglifeblog, the giglife

And the new look of Church Street! 😀

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 django twins, bengaluru, blue frog, church street, indian bands, acoustic guitars, gypsy jazz, dance, bluefrog, music, indie bands in india and bangalore

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.

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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.

blackstratblues, indianmusic, stratocaster, fender, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, rockmusic, india, bluefrog, bengaluru, mumbai, warren mendonsa, adi mistry, jai row kavi, beven fonseca

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.

blackstratblues, indianmusic, stratocaster, fender, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, rockmusic, india, bluefrog, bengaluru, mumbai, warren mendonsa, adi mistry, jai row kavi, beven fonseca

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.

blackstratblues, indianmusic, stratocaster, fender, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, rockmusic, india, bluefrog, bengaluru, mumbai, warren mendonsa, adi mistry, jai row kavi, beven fonseca

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.

 

 

 

 

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FARAN ENSEMBLE

2017 was an amazing year in terms of music for me. From attending different kinds of gigs, meeting new people, and even getting appreciated for my work on a platform like IndiBlogger, I found different spaces which a music buff like me could explore.

With new possibilities, stories and gigs, I am looking forward to 2018. I have made myself a resolution to go to my first NH7 Weekender, and Bangalore Open Air this year(let’s hope I finally make it)

Apart from all this, 2017 was a year, when I couldn’t cover any international artists, and I was itching to write about another one since Steven Wilson.

That opportunity came by quite early in the form of a familiar event.

Backdoors 2018 is coming in the month of February, this time in Mumbai and Bengaluru. I have written about Backdoors 2017, which featured the British rocker, Steven Wilson in it.

This edition is returning to newer international artists and more music. And similar to the last time, there were 2 pre-events this time for the same.

One of them had a Middle Eastern act from Israel, named The Faran Ensemble.

The Faran Ensemble was formed in 2009 by three musicians sharing similar musical vibes and values, who decided to embark together on a spiritual quest. 

Their instruments belong to the ancient traditions of the east, allowing the musicians to combine mystical sounds with modern influences. In their music, Mediterranean landscapes weave an enchanted soundscape, a magic carpet to take the listener on a voyage to faraway lands.

It was on the day of Special Sofar, that I got to know of this band through one of my new friends I made there. So when I saw that one of the pre-event acts this time is this one, I didn’t want to miss out.

Even though I was aware of it, I booked tickets on the day of the show, i.e 21st January 2018, and hit the venue for the show, i.e The Humming Tree.

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There’s a certain beauty about this place, and this time again, I see the changes in the venue. They have shifted to the first floor now, with the bar on one side and the performance area on the other. I spent time looking around and enjoying the new ambience of the place, which had posters of all the big events and artists that they have hosted over the years.

With my entry into the venue, after confirmation, I even got a band sticker, which I realized is the artwork for their album, Fata Morgana. The sticker looked like this, without the album name on it.

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There were chairs set up for the show tonight, and as far as I remember, I have never been to a sitting gig in the venue till then. We waited for the show to start, as the crowd was coming in.There wasn’t much crowd, as some of the chairs were empty, but I wasn’t surprised, considering how a lot of Indian music lovers wouldn’t have heard of them before.

After waiting for about half an hour, the three artists of the act took to the stage with their respective instruments.

I will make a mention of each of the band members, and the instruments that they play.

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Gad Tidhar plays the Oud, which is a common instrument in oriental music.

Roy Smila plays the instrument called, Kamancheh which finds its origins from Azerbaijan.
Refael Ben-Zichri handles percussions in the band and had different kinds of hand drums around him, primarily playing the duf, (close to what Indians refer to a big handdrum called duffli) a large Persian frame drum, made of hardwood with a goatskin membrane, with metal ringlets adding to its tone, which added the essence to the music. He also wore anklets around his feet and would tap them to add a rhythmic element to the music.

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Check out their website link for more information

http://faran-ensemble.com/about-us/

After a short introduction by Refael, they began their set. The element of their music is such, that you could just close your eyes, and imagine yourself to be in the deserts of the Middle East. Such is the beauty of their music, that you instantly realize how their surroundings influence their sound.

After every song, Rafeal would express the emotion behind every song they would play and then would go about taking us through it. There were also elements of jugalbandi(or as one would call it, musical communication) among them, where they would take turns in taking the lead, getting all the opportunity to express the beauty of their instruments.

The crowd was equally receptive, listening to their music with a lot of intent and focus, as I am sure that they would have been mesmerized by the beauty of their sound.

Along with a write-up and photos, that my blog posts usually have, I am also including a short live video that I took after I went live on my Facebook page. It is something I will consider doing for all the gigs I cover now, so do go check it out and Like my Facebook page for more such snippets.

I was born and brought up in the Middle East, and listening to their songs took me back to the days when I was exposed to oriental music on their TV and radio stations.

After their set, the crowd(including me) gave them a standing ovation, but that wasn’t all. We did make them do an encore, as we couldn’t get enough. It was like an organic trip, which had grasped everyone’s senses and transported them into a different world, something only true musicians can do through the nature of their sound.

Like the listeners could guess, Rafeal himself explained as to how all their songs are inspired from the desert, and how they capture different elements of its beauty in their songs, and how they connect it to their own perspective of life. The moment of familiarity came to me when I heard them play their song, “Rain”. This was the first song I ever heard of the act.

Some of the other songs that they played were, Dune, Moon, Wind. Notice how all of them are titled based on natural elements, and their attachment to them with the principles of life.

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I came alone for the gig, but I got company when a girl came in the middle of the show, not knowing what to expect at all, but after hearing the remainder of the show, she was beyond words in describing the beauty of the melody.

My Sunday couldn’t have ended on a better note, with another beautiful gig, and an artist, that deserves more attention, adulation, and respect all over the world. I feel proud to write about them today, and I hope that I continue to do so for many other artists all around the world someday.

Cheers!!!!!

Photos: All photos clicked by me (I got bad pics this time 😦 )

Cover Photo: Faran Ensemble Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/Faran-Ensemble-196939027029288/

 

INDIBLOGGER AWARDS 2017-MUSIC

Winner of The Indian Blogger Awards 2017 - Entertainment

This post will be short, and a deviation from the usual posts. I am writing this to announce that the blog has won an award at the IndiBlogger Awards 2017, in the Music category. The results were announced today, i.e 30th December 2017

IndiBlogger is the one-stop destination for exploring all kinds of Indian blogs, and bloggers, and is a great space to read, and even share your own blogs too. It brings together bloggers from all over India.

Click on the IndiBlogger banner on this page, to see my blog on the list

 

And here’s the link to all the other winners as well:

https://www.indiblogger.in/iba/

The panel consisted of jury members, who are eminent personalities from all walks of life, such as Rashmi Bansal, Gul Panag, Amit Agarwal, Rajiv Makhni, Preeti Shenoy, and many more.

https://www.indiblogger.in/iba/2017/jury

I nominated myself for 3 categories, just for the fun of it, but I never expected to win in any. I’d like to say Thank you, to everyone who’s read the blog, and given their feedbacks. I’d also like to thank the jury for this, as it is quite a confidence booster for me. I also want to thank the #IBA2017 community, which notified me of the win on Twitter.

A win means, more work on the blog, better content, and also more gigs. Looking forward to 2018 with the same drive. Cheers to you all, and a very Happy New Year!!! 😀

P.S: Do follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress. The buttons are at the top left corner. 😀

SCULLERS MUSIC FESTIVAL- ft. PEEPAL TREE AND PARVAAZ

It’s almost the end of the year, and the season for gigs is on. Also, 29th November 2016 is the day, I started this blog, with an intention to chronicle all the gigs that I go for (almost), and to write about what I like and enjoy the most. It’s been a year, and I have had readers from different parts of the world.

Artists, such as Shadow and Lightaswekeepsearching, and Suraj Mani and The Tattva Tripper, have shared my work on social media, and have loved what they have read as well. I thank them for sharing my content and for the appreciation. 🙂

I thank everyone for the support and appreciation I have received (However little it may be). I definitely had more visitors to the blog than last year, and that will keep me going 😀

Coming to the latest gig, I came across a Facebook Post on the BlueFrog page, announcing the Scullers Music Festival, on the 25th November 2017. The bands announced to play were Peepal Tree and Parvaaz. I haven’t heard Peepal Tree live before, and I was yet to experience a full set of Parvaaz live. What sealed the deal for me was the entry mode for the concert.

Scullers were giving away free complimentary passes(limited) if you sign up for their mailing list. Once you receive the code, you’d have to go to one of their stores, to collect the physical passes. As a digital marketing strategy, I’d say it’s a great way to bring in more people into the stores. Some could get converted to customers as well.

Anyway, so I went ahead and collected the passes, for me and my friends. Even though I had watched Parvaaz for the first time in The Special Sofar gig, it was a short acoustic set, and to enjoy them live, one would have to go to their extended sets.

I reached the venue a little before time. This was my first time to BlueFrog(I know, very late), and loved the setting of the stage and the place in general. BlueFrog was on my bucket list for a long time, considering their contribution to bringing independent artists to a wider audience in India. As imagined, the place was perfectly set for the night, with the crowd ready for the music, and the sounds ready to blow us away.

After meeting up with the band members of Parvaaz, we went out to the stage, to watch the first band live, i.e Peepal Tree

Peepal Tree, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music

PEEPAL TREE:

Peepal Tree is a Bengaluru based rock act, who gained a fan following, after their offerings of Kannada poems in the form of rock songs. I was curious to hear them before, but I never got the chance. That’s the best part about going to festivals like this, you get to check out newer bands.

They started off their set, with a Kannada song, and went with the word go. I have never heard Kannada songs in a rock format, and it’s never easy to blend two different styles, but the band seemed to establish their expertise in it, right from their first song. After playing some of their originals, they performed a cover of the Dewarists song, “Where the Mind is Without Fear”, where the vocalist was supported by the bassist, Praveen Biligiri and the guitarist, Tony Das, on the backing vocals.

Peepal Tree, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music

The vocalist, Sujay Harthi, displayed his versatility on stage, with his range of vocals, and doing justice to both Indian and Western vocals with finesse. They went into the song, that got them representing India on an international level, thanks to the All India Radio, which is “Nayi Khushi”. For someone like me, who has never heard it before, I could feel the elements of innocence, simplicity, tight musicianship, all wrapped in one song, beautifully. They moved onto the next number, which started off things for the band. This one was called “Chetana”, based on a poem by the famous poet from Karnataka, Kuvempu, or also known as Rashtrakavi Kuvempu.

Adding to the flavor of the South, they also performed their Tamil original, “Magizhchi”, which serves as their humble tribute to Superstar Rajnikanth. The track, filled with groovy riffs, and samples of his dialogues, enthralled the audience.

Peepal Tree, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music

The best thing about watching them was, to see how they have presented the Kannada lyrics, with the right arrangements, which serve as a balance between retaining the essence, as well as keeping it groovy. It’s also good to see Kannada rock being played in a venue like BlueFrog, catering to the diverse crowd, enjoying the music.

To end things for them, they decided to surprise the crowd, by doing a small tribute, in the memory of the legendary rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young of AC/DC, who passed away on 18th November. They kicked off into, “Highway to Hell”, ending things on a perfect energetic note, with the audience singing along as well.

Peepal Tree, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music

PARVAAZ:

It was now time for the main act to take the stage. Parvaaz has been touring extensively all over, and they keep performing in all the major cities and going to new ones too. (Pondicherry for example, for the Weekender Express). The die-hard fans were already in the front, clicking photos, while the guys were setting up their equipment on the stage.

Parvaaz, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music, Scullers

(Since I went right to the front side, so all my pictures of Parvaaz in this post will come from that angle, unlike the previous ones)

They were losing patience, with all the soundcheck, but somehow they got on, and Khalid, the vocalist, kicks off things vocally, with the band supporting him in the intro.  They started off their set, with “Gul Gulshan”, and since I was standing right at the front, the crowd around me was already singing with Khalid. I couldn’t help but join them as well. He always had the audience singing with him, for all the songs, except the new ones.

Parvaaz, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music, Scullers

The band played two new songs for the crowd, which might feature in their upcoming album. These are old Kashmiri songs, which is layered with the Parvaaz touch.

As for the performances, it is an experience to just listen to Khalid. From soft vocals to changing ranges, to improvisations and screeches, it’s a complete package. The guitar work of Mir Kashif Iqbal is simplistic, yet impactful, and he replicates the same in his live playing too. Their sounds are complimented well by the bassist, Fidel, and the drummer Sachin Banundur, as well.

Parvaaz, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music, Scullers

Another thing to watch out for in their live sets, is their onstage improvisations and jams, which are equally good, and give the fresh element for their fans to listen to, with every gig. We got to see Fidel improvise with a laughter, run through an effect, in the middle of the jam track, reminiscent of the sounds of Pink Floyd, and other psychedelic bands.

Parvaaz, BlueFrog, Bengaluru, Rock music in India, Indian music, Indian bands, thegiglife, thegiglifeblog, The Gig Life, Bangalore Live music, Scullers

Fidel doing a fake laugh on the mic for the effect.

My favorite moment was listening to the entire Roz Roz+Baran live, and the Baran jam section is truly a gem. They still had about a couple of songs left, but owing to time constraints, they ended the set on a somber note, with “Ab Ki Yeh Subah”. We couldn’t get enough of their set, but we were blown away by their performance as well.

I haven’t written a lot about the songs they played, because:

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I am putting up the setlist of Parvaaz for the evening. I was happy when I saw Khufiya Dastaan on it, but too bad, they didn’t play it :(. They didn’t play Dil Khush as well. Anyway, next time hopefully. Instead, they played Itne Arsey Ke Baad, on request.

Cheers to more upcoming gigs. Do follow this blog on Facebook as well. And you can write to me your suggestions and feedback. I would love to hear from you all.

Setlist  courtesy: Mir Kashif Iqbal (Parvaaz)

All pictures were taken by me.

Cover Photo: Scullers Music Festival event page

 

THE SPECIAL SOFAR

The gig that I will be talking about in this post is indeed a special one. Sofar Sounds, in association with Amnesty International, held a special Sofar gig, each in all the Sofar cities around the world, on the 20th September 2017. This was done to spread awareness about the refugee crisis all around the world, as well as close to home. Unlike the other gigs, that happens on a monthly basis, this one was marketed extensively over social media, not just about the cause, but also the lineup of performers in the respective cities. In the Sofar way, we don’t get to know the artists playing, until you get the chance to attend. And yes, an entry into this gig was also based on your luck or your connections. 😛

Sofar Sounds is an initiative, which promotes the concept of intimate gigs, where the focus is on having a small audience, and the focus is solely on the music, and not on the worldly distractions(our phones) that we always have. It is also a great platform for smaller artists to showcase their work and get noticed. I have written a post on one of my favorite Sofar gigs, and about the Sofar Sounds concept too. Do check out my post below:

https://thegiglife.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/the-sofar-experience/

And surely, the lineup for the Bangalore one was something to look forward to. The people who applied would have loved to watch these acts in an intimate setup. Check it out:

 

Sofarsounds, giveahome, amnesty, international, bangalore, bengaluru, India, Parvaaz, TAAQ, Siddhartho, kafayat Quadri

 

The only thing that was unkown was the location of the show. Well, I would say I was lucky to make it to the gig(perks of knowing performing artists I’d say) :P. I came early for the gig, realizing that they would start by 7-7.30, instead of the usual 6 p.m. (It was a weekday, a Wednesday).  The venue of the gig was at JustBe Cafe in Sadashivanagar.

JustBe Cafe, Sadashivanagar, Bangalore, Bengaluru, Sofarsounds, gig, thegiglife, cozy, night,

It is a beautiful, well-lit cafe, with the cafe below, and a room upstairs, where the show was to be held. After a while of chilling and interacting with some of the artists and the other attendees, it was time for the show to start.

 

1. Siddhartho Poddar

The set began with an acoustic-fingerstyle-percussive player named Siddhartho Poddar, who flew here from Mumbai for the show. I have watched him in one of the older Sofar gigs I attended before, and it was great to witness him live again. He started off with his first song, Crush, where he began to use all kinds of techniques, plucking, finger tapping, slides, taps, and what not, so effortlessly that it puts the listener in awe.

Siddhartho Poodar, Acoustic, Fingerstyle musician, Indian, guitar, acoustic guitar

Siddhartho Poddar live in Sofar Sounds, Bangalore. Give a Home

Siddhartho Poddar live!!

 

As he spoke about every piece he played and also took some time to talk about what the concept of “Home” meant to him, which was in accordance with the theme of the show that night. He played 2 other songs, Amber and Summit, and finished his set with an untitled song, which brought out a lot of Indian classical style of playing into the track, with the bends and the dynamics in focus. I guess this was a track that had an Indian element to it, sounded closer to home. 🙂

You can check out his track, Amber, which he also played in a Sofar show in Mumbai.

 

The audience was awestruck, with his playing style, and everyone including the other performers was showering praises on him.

After the lovely beginning to the show, we had a representative from Amnesty International, talking about the refugee crisis, and about how we need to make it our problem and work towards spreading awareness about the crisis, and also about the initiatives being taken by them. You can check out their website for more details

https://www.amnesty.org/en/

 

2. Kafayat Quadri

After our customary 10 minute break, the next artist to take the stage was Kafayat Quadri. She is a singer-songwriter, who came all the way from Nigeria to play for us. Before starting, the City Head, Prarthana, showed us her CDs and her poems, that were on sale in the venue. After that, Kafayat took the stage and was accompanied by musicians from Bangalore. She spoke about herself and her approach to her songs and then began her set with a solo performance first. The band started accompanying her from the next song.

Kafayat Quadri, Acoustic guitar, acoustic rock, songwriter, nigeria, Bangalore, Sofar Sounds, singer songwriter,

The one song, whose chorus stuck to me was Seven Moons. If it was given a more R&B feel, I think she can use that as her big pitch to a bigger audience. To know what I am talking about, check out her performance of the song in an earlier Sofar gig in Bangalore:

 

thegiglife, kafayat quadri, acoustic rock, songwriter, Nigeria, singer, Sofar Sounds, Bangalore

Kafayat Quadri, with her band

The lyrics had an element of impact to it, and that was buoyed by her powerful, yet soothing vocals. She tried to make the audience sing too, with humorous results, but the crowd enjoyed her songs and her simplicity on stage.

 

3. Parvaaz:

After the amazing set by Kafayat, it was time for one of most solid acts in today’s indie scene to take the stage, which is none other than Parvaaz. The boys were in Canada just a day before, completing their first tour abroad, and we couldn’t be any prouder. I got a chance to interact with Khalid, the vocalist, and he told me about the experience and the response he got there.

Parvaaz, sofarsounds, Bangalore, Bengaluru, Kashmiri, Urdu, Rock musiic, Indian

Sure, on the same day, Ed Sheeran was performing in a room in New York, but we had the city’s very own Parvaaz, who had a mixed setup of acoustic and electric. They kicked off their set with their latest release, Color White, and setting things up in motion. Given the cheers they got, there were very few people who wouldn’t have heard of their amazing songs.

Parvaaz, psychedelic rock, Kashmiri, Urdu, Indian, Rock music, indie, Sofar Sounds, Bangalore

thegiglife, Parvaaz, indie rock, Kashmiri, Urdu, psychedelic, blues, Bangalore, Sofar Sounds

Parvaaz

They went on to play their next song. “Gul Gulshan”, and played a different arrangement, which they made especially for intimate settings. You can have a glimpse of that in an old video below.

 

 

Talking about their views on Home, they then began to sing “Itne Arse ke Baad”, and Khalid also talked about how the NRIs in Canada said they didn’t miss home when he interacted with them during the performance. The crowd was enjoying the songs, as well the beauty of Khalid’s voice, and they would have loved to enjoy a full set the same night. Alas, they ended their set with the hauntingly beautiful, “Roz Roz”, and I don’t know about the others, but listening to that took me straight to the snow-clad regions of Kashmir, where the snow is falling, and I am traveling.

Parvaaz, live, Kashmiri, Urdu, Psychedelic, blues, rock, Indian, Sofar sounds, Bangalore

 

We went on another customary break, awaiting the last act for the night.

 

4. Thermal and a Quarter:

We were onto our final act for the night, which was another big name, from Namma Bengaluru, Thermal and a Quarter. They took the stage with an acoustic setup, with the drummer having a Cajon for percussion. I had to drop a friend, so I missed the first song, but I caught up after that. Bruce Lee Mani, the vocalist then began to talk about the Gauri Lankesh murder, and how she was murdered for having an opinion.

TAAQ, Thermal and a Quarter, blues, acoustic, guitar, rock, sofarsounds, bangalore, thegiglife, giveahome, indian

 

It was something they kept talking about, even though their music, and so he performed the song “Won’t Stop“, speaking about how we shouldn’t stop doing what it takes to make a better world. He then sang another song “It’s a Small World” and both the songs gave the feeling of protest, and how they were communicating that emotion with their songs, which also complimented the cause that had brought us the fans, and the musicians together. The band did keep the mood light, as Bruce talked about the band, and kept cracking jokes too.

thegiglife, TAAQ, Thermal and A Quarter, acoustic, blues, Bruce Lee Mani, Sofarsounds, Indian, Bangalore

Thermal and a Quarter

 

After all the activism and the protest in their performances, it was time to end the set with a fun number, and as Bruce rightly said, Stevie Wonder is someone who can bring that element into his songs. With that, they kicked into their cover version of the famous hit, “Sir Duke”,(thank you Mrinalini, for putting it back into my memory. Making new friends in Sofar is fun :D) which got everyone in a joyful mood. I am sharing one of my favorite tracks from them:

 

 

It was the end of a lovely night, and a special Sofar Sounds gig, and people began to socialize, talk to the artists, make their way home, look at the Amnesty International cause, etc. I was famished by the end of it, but I also felt happy, and glad, that I got to be a part of this gig in my city, where other cities in India and around the world were having their gigs simultaneously.

In my page,  I don’t write about the same artists, or the gig setups again, unless there is something entirely different to their offerings, as it was the case in this Sofar gig. I also thought that this could be a way, where I could share to the world, as to how the Sofar in Bangalore went, and how musically enriching it was.

Here’s the link to the photographs of the event, straight from the Sofar Sounds Facebook page, do check it out.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/sofarsoundsbangalore/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1711177458915464

 

Cheers!! 😀

P.S: All photos clicked by me.

Special thanks to Siddhartho Poddar 😀

And my Facebook page is now up and running. Do check it out @thegiglifeblog, or check the Facebook button on the page and press the Like button to stay updated with my posts.

BLUES IS MY SOULMATE

It was years ago, probably around 5 years back maybe. I had to finish a boring assignment in my engineering days, and I wanted to listen to some independent Indian artist.  A band named Soulmate was doing the rounds on my search engine recommendations for “Top Indian Bands”. So I looked them up on this platform called Reverbnation, and I playing their songs.

And I was blown. By that voice, the zing in it, and how it sounded so international. I loved it from that moment, and got hooked. I was just getting into Blues music then, and seeing this , an Indian band from the North East, deliver such great music, was fabulous.

Soulmate would always make it to Bangalore every 3-4 months,  but I never got to see them, for reasons galore. Probably I took it for granted, I suppose!!

I used to work then (I quit after few weeks) ,and my Sundays were working as well. So for this one, I had to zoom all the way to Indiranagar via Namma Metro to not miss their set. Given my experiences with gigs in Bangalore, I knew that by reaching around 10-10.30, I would be right on time to listen to their set.

And I was right. By the time I made it to Bflat, I asked the friendly old man at the counter about the show. I even had to buy my tickets too. He told me that I did miss the opening act by Sylvester Pradeep, but then Soulmate were to start their 45 min set in a few minutes. Going with the happiness of making it on time, I then bought the tickets, and entered the place to brace myself for my weekend.

I had missed the opening act by Sylvester Pradeep, which I know I shouldn’t have. After knowing about him, I realized, he’s the same guy who formed The Sylvester Trio, and I happened to catch him in the Sofar Gig on 22nd Aug, which happened at the Nicobar Design Studio. I got to listen to him there, for the fun loving, talented musician he is. :D. Don’t believe me? Here he is:

Sylvester Pradeep, The Sylvester Trio, Sofar Sounds, Bangalore, Bengaluru, Acoustic, Indian, music, guitar, Nicobar studio,

thegiglife, nicobar design studio, sofarsounds, bengaluru, Bangalore, the sylvester trio, sylvester Pradeep, live music, acoustic, indian

After a few minutes of settling into the crowd, the band took the stage, and the show began, with Rudy singing the first song, and setting the groove for the blues that night.

Soulmate, live, music, Bengaluru, Bangalore, BFlat, Bar, blues, rock, indian, shillong, tipriti K, RudyWallang,

The band was into their second song, when they called in Tejas Shankar, of Lagori fame onto the stage, who happened to be in the audience. He joined them with the music, as he began to sing “Jaa re apne Mandirva” backing it with his aalaps, showcasing his range as a classical singer. It gelled well with the groove set by the band, giving a unique twist to the song, and also enthralling the crowd.

Soulmate, thegiglife, rudywallang, tipriti, Tejasshankar, live music, bangalore, bengaluru, Bflat Bar, blues rock, indian

 

They ended their set with their song, “Blues is my Soulmate” (such a catchy title :P) and teased us to play another track to end the show. Sadly for me, I don’t remember all the songs that they played, but I hope I keep better track next time. It was still a last minute plan, and I was glad that I made it. It had been a long time, and I am glad I could make it to watch an act like Soulmate. Watching Tripiti live was an amazing experience, and to hear her sing with that powerful voice, and groove with the blues, is something all upcoming vocalists can take a cue from.

shillong, indian, thegiglife, Soulmate, blues rock, indian, tipriti, Rudywallang, live, Bangalore, Bflat, thegiglife

shillong, indian, thegiglife, Soulmate, blues rock, indian, tipriti, Rudywallang, live, Bangalore, Bflat, thegiglife

The night didn’t end just here. They are a friendly lot as well, and so they welcomed fans to talk to them, and click selfies with them as well. They also had a few people who hailed from Shillong, come and enjoy the night with them. I didn’t miss out on my chance as well :D. I had a short chat with both Tripiti and Rudy, and got my pics.

shillong, indian, thegiglife, Soulmate, blues rock, indian, Rudywallang, live, Bangalore, Bflat

tipriti, thegiglife, shillong, Soulmate, tipriti kharbangar, blues, rock , indian, bangalore, live music, Bflat Bar

Well, I know this post is a short one, but there are some pretty insane gigs lined up ahead, and I hope I can make it to some of them, so that I will keep having more interesting stories to pen down in this blog. Cheers!!! 😀

And yes do check out my blog as well. I have added a few things around to help you follow the blog, so go ahead. Explore it, and bring in any kind of feedback you have towards it. It’s always welcome!!! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

aswekeepsearching- Zia Album Launch

There are many instances, that a band suddenly starts to make waves everywhere, and you end up wondering what is up with their stuff, that is making people talk about them, and so you check them out. This was one such experience with the post-rock Indian act, aswekeepsearching. I heard their name doing the rounds in the Bangalore music scene, and also their gigs in other cities, even making it to the Weekender NH7 as well. I was a passive listener to post-rock music and hence I really couldn’t get their sound easily. I did like the texture of it, but I knew that I could like them even better, and I was right about it.

My phase with this band started, when I got to know, that the band was going around doing listening sessions of their upcoming new album, Zia. I signed up for the listening session in Bangalore, which was held at OOHeaven. I was there, with another 15 odd people , most of them real fans. The session was coordinated by the vocalist, Uddipan Sarmah, who then played the entire album of Zia on the lovely speakers of OOHeaven. Even though I needed more than just a listen for the entire album, I was definitely going to do it again. When the album released, I did. I kept streaming it on their Bandcamp page,  and also listened to their older stuff on Youtube. I got hooked, I couldn’t stop listening to them. I would always play a song on repeat to listen to some particular part over and over again.

So when the announcement came for their album launch gig in The Humming Tree, I was stoked, and was all set to go. The event announcement came up too, and the band to open them was going to be the rock act, IntheNow.

inthenow, thehummingtree,live music, indian rock act, Bengaluru, Bangalore

I reached the good old venue, only to see more changes in the entry. I had to go up to the top floor, and then get my pass and go down to the stage. On an average, I go there once in 2 months, and every time I go,  it looks like a new place.

I also was under the impression, that I had missed the opening act, since I came around 9.30pm, but I realized later, when IntheNow took the stage, and kicked off their set with some loud drums and bass, getting the crowd to the groove right from the word Go. I have never heard of them before, but I was enjoying the songs they were playing. They also did a few covers, and had the vocalist of Mad Orange Fireworks, Micheal Anthony Dias join them for one of them.

The sounds in Humming Tree have gotten a boost, as the output was loud, and would just make you lose yourself into the music of any band on that stage of theirs. I just hoped I didn’t go deaf before the main act came on stage. 😛

IntheNow, rock ,indian, thehummingtree, thegiglife, livemusic, albumlaunch,

The band also performed at a Sofar Sounds gig in Bangalore, and have a song video shot for one of them, here’s the link to it:

They ended their hour-and-a-half long set with a random jam, which ended it on a high. Given their sound leaning more towards hard rock and pop rock, the crowd was having a ball, headbanging and enjoying the music, but the night had just begun.

Within a few minutes, aswekeepsearching took to the stage, ensuring their instruments are ready to kick some ass that night. If you’ve observed, in the photos, you would see that the venue was decorated with their album art through hangings(Album art right up there in the cover). Not to forget, they also put lights around their own instruments.

Within no time, the introduction music to the track, “Sleep/Awake” started, and it got the crowd swaying to the music. Mind you, there were a lot of hardcore fans in this crowd. Not only was their music relaxing and enjoyable, but through the songs, the shifts in the tempo and intensity of the music was a unique experience live. It’s one thing to hear that streaming from your computer, but another, when you hear it live.

aswekeepsearchinglive, thehummingtree, livemusic, postrockindia, indianmusic, thegiglife, Bangalore, ziaalbumlaunch, zia, hindirock

After opening up with 2 instrumental tracks, the vocalist, Uddipan, finally speaks to the crowd, and talks about the new album a bit. He pointed our attention to the merchandise store, which sold CD’s, T-Shirts,, Smoke kits, and other stuff. Previously being Ahmedabad based, he also announced that they are now a Pune based band.

aswekeepsearchinglive, thehummingtree, livemusic, postrockindia, indianmusic, thegiglife, Bangalore, ziaalbumlaunch, zia, hindirock

Apart from songs of the new album, such as “Lights and Colours” ,”There you Are”, and the pick of the lot, “Kalga” and “Reminiscence”, they also revisited songs from their previous album, Khwaab as well, such as “What if?” & “In Circles”, The playing was also backed by visuals on a screen behind, which added a whole new dimension to the overall experience. One particular thing I loved was when the projections were showing mountains, the hanging birds in the venue superimposed on it in such a way, that it felt like the birds were flying around it. Crazy!!

aswekeepsearchinglive, thehummingtree, livemusic, postrockindia, indianmusic, thegiglife, Bangalore, ziaalbumlaunch, zia, hindirock

Another beautiful part of their show was that since there were a lot of fans in the crowd, we all knew exactly when the softer parts are played, where the drums do the major part, where the change happens, and so on. If you give a listen to their songs, you will see that they do a fantastic job with the way they shift from the slower surreal mode, to the hard rock mode, while keeping you in the zone.

We knew when the shift would happen, and would all start headbanging in unison to the tempo of the drums, as they would kick into that measure. I could see so many of us just go into that zone, and head bang like there’s no tomorrow.

aswekeepsearchinglive, thehummingtree, livemusic, postrockindia, indianmusic, thegiglife, Bangalore, ziaalbumlaunch, zia, hindirock

If one was to see me in the crowd, I was doing a mix of both headbanging to the heavier parts, and slow dancing and swaying to their softer parts, which was more entertaining to the friend who accompanied me. :P. Adding to their dramatic sounds in the venue, with the loudness, I was completely sober, but musically high for sure.

The time was almost here, for the end of their set. Fans were asking for their favorites, among Banshee, B-303 for the finale song. They took a short break, went away and returned to take a photo with the crowd, and announced for another song. Here’s the photo:

They returned to the sound of an ambient soundscape, and we were wondering which song they would end it. Giving us a surprise, they started off with We Sound Like Strangers, which was more of a surreal song, turning heavier later. And when we thought it was over, they finally ended up playing B-303. The thrill of ending a show with a high, is always something one wants. I am guessing that it did take the crowd some time to shake off the amazing experience we all had watching them live.

For the sounds they have created, and for the live experience, I would say aswekeepsearching is one of those indie rock acts, that have the potential to sustain their sound and leverage it to play for a much longer time. They are definitely the new stars to look upto for upcoming rock musicians in India.

I’ll put the link to better photos, once the official ones are out. 😀

To check out the music of aswekeepsearching, check them out on their bandcamp page, i.e

Bandcamp :https://aswekeepsearching.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aswekeepsearching/

To Check out IntheNow,

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inthenowbangalore/

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Cheers!!!! \m/