This will be a three part series
The first part was about the general event which you can find here
The second part (this one) will be about the Artist line up.
The third part will be about the various people I met and my experiences with them. (Most important)
Because this one was special.
Photos courtesy of Ron Bezbaruah/Crumpled Paper
Disclaimer:- I might not be as verbose about Progressive Rock and Instrumental bands. Because I don’t think I can give justice to them because i don’t enjoy those genres as much as others.
So the entire line-up was completely Indie. The artists came from every region of India from Kerala to Mizoram. And all the artists were amazing. Some might have felt average because of the sheer amount of talent which came before them and after.
Also the sheer expanse of the venue was amazing,especially after 6 in the evening when it starts to get cold..
- Apostrophe- These guys are a local Ahmedabad based band. These people had the unenviable task of playing first and getting the crowd out of the tents, but still managed to do well.
- Dhruv Vishwanath- Always dependable to get the party started, also the weather had gotten a little better as well. Also by this time most of the people in the tents had come out as well. So his unique mix of percussion and guitar work with vocals was a mix with the audience.(funny trivia:-The M.C kept insisting he was there with his band, while it was a solo performance)
- Random Gyan- I missed this performance.
- Blushing Satellite- This is an older band which is now fronted by another favourite of mine Mahesh Raghunandan. I still prefer his solo work to the band. Maybe it’s because of my unfamiliarity with the playlist of the band.
- Run it’s the kid- Slow and moody waltz tracks. Might be a little depressing
- Family Cheese- Politically Incorrect, Blues, Rock, Rap, funny and amazing stage presence.
- The F16S- So I am a big fan of these guys, their studio album Triggerpunkte has been in my playlist ever since it came out. But was disappointed in their live performance at NH7, Pune. But here these guys were amazing. Their electronic-rock act is one of the most unique sounding in India.
- Junkyard Groove- Their mix of rock with funk was (pardon the pun) funky as ever. Also their stage presence and sense of humour is perfect for the stage. This was a perfect choice to close day one.
- Rhythamix Revival-They are an older local band which formed in 1985 and has been active again after a long lull. They mostly played cover songs which I am not a big fan of. But they were still pretty good.
- Celestial Teapot-They are an instrumental progressive rock band. I can’t comment on them much because I am neither an instrumental nor a Progressive rock fan.
- Rudra-Didn’t get a chance to hear them properly, so can’t comment on it.
- Daira- Second time catching Daira live, and as usual Piyush Kapoor, the lead singer was a bundle of energy and they were able to pass the energy to the crowd as well.
- Aswekeepsearching- These guys are mostly an instrumental band with some backing vocals in a few tracks. Personally I am not an instrumental guy. So can’t comment on it much.
- Skrat- Nobody, I mean nobody can beat these guys in a live performance gig. Their stage presence is amazing… Also Jhanu, the bass guitarist has the coolest shoes ever.More on them later
- Mother Jane- These guys represented my home town here, and they did not disappoint. They mostly performed their older tracks. I wish that there was some new track that was introduced.
- Thermal And A Quarter-They are a legendary band been active from the 90’s.But although I loved their performance felt that their songs were a little slower for a closing band.
- Time wise- These guys were amazing, they did jazz versions of some mainstream tracks and some originals. Kind of reminded me of what “Postmodern Jukebox” does.
- Mahesh Raghunandan- Again this guy can do no wrong, He haven’t had a bad performance yet. He is one of the few people who can do a cover version and give that version its own identity. He adds a little bit of the blues to everything. His version of Jason Mraz’s “10,000 Motherfuckers” is a personal favourite. Although he did end the performance on a depressing note with the song “Kill Me” which although an excellent track is depressing as fuck.
- Kitchen Sink- Kitchen Sink was excellent, maybe a little more serious than I expected. That is I personally prefer my Jazz with a little bit of Funk in it. But this should work for the traditionalists.
- Frisky Pints- These guys were fun, although their music isn’t something I would want to listen privately. But they were amazing on stage as they know how to get the audience grooving. These guys are pure pop. They even did a version of uptown funk which went pretty well with the audience
- Ganesh Talkies- These guys were a fun band, but they had an uphill battle as their performance was plagued by technical issues. But that resulted in one of the most unique performance ever, as the lead singer Suyasha came down from the stage and danced with the audience.
- Namit Das+Anurag Shanker- This was mostly Ghazal/Poetry with some modern rock elements thrown in. I enjoyed this but isn’t a fan of listening to the slower stuff after lively performances by Frisky Pints and Ganesh Talkies. Also I think this would have worked better in a smaller venue where people can connect to the artists a little bit more.
- Ankur and The Ghalat Family- These guys were OK. Maybe I am being unfair due to the sheer amount of talent in the line-up.
- Susmit Sen Chronicles- This was an amazing set, but again the combination of being mostly an instrumental set, not being music you can dance to and of course it being the last performance didn’t improve my mood. I think I would have enjoyed this in a stand alone concert than as the closing band of a festival.
Ultimately other than the technical hiccups this was an amazing line up of artists and venue. Couldn’t have asked for anything better. Also it helped that I have seen many of them live before and was familiar with their playlist.
Time for some personal trivia.
So I have seen some of these artist before, some of them many times. For example as of now I have seen Dhruv Vishvanath and Mahesh Raghunandan total of four times. Also this would be my fourth time watching Skrat live as well. Funny story, couple of months ago me and a couple of my friends watched Skrat along with Junkyard Groove in Cochin and after the show we immediately drove from Cochin to Pondicherry to watch Skrat again on the next day at NH7 Weekender Express. Before we left from Cochin we met the band members and told them that we would be driving down to see them tomorrow. Sriram the lead singer of Skrat asked me “But, seriously wouldn’t you guys get bored watching us that many times?”
Which is a hilarious and a very relevant question. The answer is so far never. Also to put that into perspective, after the rock show in Cochin we drove down 564 Kilometres to get to the other show the next day. So, yes I like Skrat if that isn’t obvious by now. Also again it needs to be said that Jhanu has the coolest shoes ever.
- Piyush Kapoor- The lead singer of Daira used to be the part of the Kerala based band “Thaikkudam Bridge”
- Tapass Naresh,the drummer for Skrat plays the drums for two other bands as well, namely Sapta and Oorka
- Jhanu Chanther, the bass player for Skrat plays in another band called Jhanu as well
- The lead singer for Kitchen Sink, Smiti Malik is part of the popular acoustic duo Chayan&Smiti as well.
- Namit Das is a known actor too. He has been in movies, TV Series, ads and theatre.
So this line-up is not something anyone can complain about. Along with the beautiful venue and the beautiful weather this felt more like a dream than reality. But I was a little disappointed in the way they were scheduled as I would have preferred the more active and lively bands to perform at the end in order to build up the audience enthusiasm. But of course that is a personal choice. Also a confession that I might not have enjoyed the last three performances as much as the rest because I was coming to the realization that the event was ending and I have to go back to the real world.
So time to end the dream.
So the third and final part will be out soon, which will be about what made this event special above others. The human connection.