Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rock Ethos ' 09

The most horrible part of this economic slowdown, for me at least, is that Rock Concerts have virtually dried up – especially the free ones. I suppose sponsors have decided they have better uses for their ad budgets.

So it was a HUGE relief to see hoardings for Rock Ethos 09 all over the city - a 2 day free Rock Concert featuring Bangalore’s loudest and nastiest!

There was some amazing riff-making in the air as I lumbered my T-Bird into the Palace Grounds. Clean, hard bass, a nasty drum and soaring lead riffs. This must be a recording, I thought. No Bangalore band plays that well – especially the bass, there isn’t a single bass player in the local crowd with such clean, hard lines.

But I had forgotten about Today’s Special - my favorite Bangalore band. Yup, it wasn’t a recording, the band previously known as Legato Lilac was burning the PA system. Dhruv on lead, Adi on vocals, Sathwick on drums….And the coolest, rockingest babe on the planet on bass – the woman who has stolen my heart and turned it into a beef burger – Shalini.

Now that she’s married, all I feel when I see her on stage is a kind of hollow, painful feeling. Damn! Anyway…

They played an amazing own comp – something called ‘Alloo Tikki’, with a mishmash of interesting riffs. Then they played something called ‘Scarlet’ which was kind of OK without being exceptional, and they wound up. I had missed most of their set. Damn!

Shikados came on next, with a guy on lead who was one of the guitar instructors at the Unwind Centre – I used to see him around when I went there (the bearded fellow with the snazzy beret in the above pic). When they started playing, couldn’t believe what I heard…Was it? Yes it was! They were playing variations on a standard Jazz riff. And right after that they played a fairly decent take on Muddy Water’s ‘Hoochie-Coochie Man’. Amazing! Jazz and traditional Blues at a Bangalore rock concert. And even more amazingly, all the metal-heads there didn’t protest. In fact they nodded appreciatively.

Is this a sign of changing times? Are we about to witness a return to real music instead of the ghastly racket that passes for music at most local concerts? Fat chance. The next couple of bands were the usual metallic stuff, and it was hot, and dry and the sun was blazing, and the drinks were warm and overpriced, and they announced a two hours break, so I left. Whose idea was it to have that break? Too long to hang around, esp. with the heat and nothing else to do, and to short to go home and come back.

Anyway, I was back the next day – in the second half. Musically, it wasn’t anything much. The usual metal stuff. But it started raining – a welcome break from the heat wave we’ve been having, and people yelled and played about in the rain, and there were fireworks, and the flame throwers on stage made interesting fireballs and the lighting was exceptionally good for local concerts…so a fun time was had by all.

It was especially nice to see the beautiful Bangalore babes out in full force- tight jeans, spaghetti straps and all, grooving away to the music in the rain. The right and proper riposte to the moral brigade who are currently trying to destroy our way of life. I don’t know about you, but I am going to vote for the first time, this year – just to teach those far right fellows a lesson – ‘don’t fuck around with our lives. Hey – we’re the chaps who pay the taxes which allows you to exist in a free country’

Of course, most of those babes had a guy grooving along with them – which just brought home to me my own loneliness. When will I get a babe of my own? Is there an unattached Shalini-clone out there willing to fill a fist-sized hole in the left ventricle of a good, honest, rock-loving man who plays a decent guitar and draws passable cartoons? Please respond via e-mail or SMS.

Anyway, it was nice to see other people having fun.

Finally - a big, sloppy pappi to DNA from my hoochie-coochie heart for organizing a great concert in these miserable times.


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