Well, I thought I’d write a post called “The Incident Chronicles”, but it turned out to be too long, and too full of irrelevant prejudices and inside jokes. Well, then, I’d write about the best part of this fest: The semi-pro and pro-nites.
Semi-Pro Nite was on 16th February, a contest for the best semi-pro band. A couple of years ago, such a contest would have been chock-full of GnR, Aerosmith and popular hardRock/heavyMetal numbers, but this one was replete with originals.
I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but the contestants were all musicians, not too many performers. The first two bands didn’t really catch my attention. The third one was NITK’s very own Phlegmingo, with Karthik Murali on the vocals ["What's up, NITK?!!" "Wateh! Man, you LIVE here!"], too excellent for words, Swarit on the keyboard, Tanay, the lead guitarist, and Pakjum on the bass guitar. I’d listened to a couple of their songs, and so was singing along for Deja Vu, which IMHO is a rollicking number.
I left soon after that, and returned for The Galeej Gurus, who were the semi-pro band showing the rest how to perform. Man, they are good musicians and even better performers. All of them have this guys-next-door sort of appeal [save Mathew Harris's accent..] around them,and it works in their favor. It was a short performance, less than an hour or so, but headbanging for that period of time resulted in what I call Post-concert stress, a condition where you feel just fine after an energetic concert, but wake up the next morning aching all over.
I would have taken loads of pics of Matthew and Nathan Harris [the lead singer and the bassist, they're twins, did anyone notice?], but I’d taken so many shots of Phlegmingo and the hostel that the battery had no charge left in it. Like Prince Philip says in Blackadder’s A Christmas Carol, “D-Daaamn”.
Pro Nite. Someone was talking about “The Raghav project” opening. I figured it was The Raghupathy Dixit Project, formerly known as Antaragini. And it was.
What an opening they gave… Raghu Dixit started off with “Hi, we’re the Raghu Dixit project, and we play only original music, so…”. The crowd behind me started booing the dudes on stage, but after a couple of tracks, were yelling “Raghu-bhai aayache!”
And the girls next to me went berserk over the guitarist. Yelled and cheered him so much that Raghu Dixit said, “For all those dying to know, that’s Anirban on the guitar there, and he’s slightly single!” Here’s a pic:
The drummer was completely obscured by the drums, and the best I could get was
The berserkness went even more berserk that Raghu Dixit called a few girls on stage, [needless to say, I was one of them... would I miss an opportunity to shake hands with the winners of Radiocity Live? Oh, and btw, I was one of the very few singing along] for the last song, for which an M.Tech from NITK played the tabla [Bhavani Shankar, plays really well, I've heard him when he played for SPICMACAY's Aradhana]. I finally got a shot of the flautist, here it is:
Couldn’t shoot the other guitarist, the one with the cool pony. He was right under the lights, and too far away, couldn’t get a good enough angle, and the lighting and the smokescreen colluded in making sure I never did get a good enough pic that wasn’t too dark.
After a short break was Indian Ocean. We were expecting some youngish IITians, but all we got was oldish IIT-KGP/Cornell dudes of whom one was increasingly temperamental. Asheem Chakravarty, the tabla player, said at the beginning that their music is very less of halla-shor, so people doing halla-shor could keep away.
As I’d predicted, they started off with Brahma Randha Parama Sukhadam. Within minutes, the crowd was humming “Naraa naraa…”. Next was Jhini, from the eponymous album. Apparently, it was written by Kabir. It’s a mellow number, and I guess it’s quite popular, most of the crowd was singing along, and not just the refrain.
The leadsinger Rahul Ram’s a PhD in Environmental Toxicology from Cornell University [I should have clicked pics of people after they heard that from me]. He’s also got an awesome voice, and his guitaring is dreamy and sounds lovely.
Next, they played Bhor. Asheem Chakravarty told us before they started that when people hear this song, their first reaction is to clap along, and that he would prefer it if the crowd did that toward the end of the song, not as soon as it began. And we kept our word.
Folks started clamouring at this time for the more popular numbers like Bandheh from Black Friday and their trademark Kandisa. [I, on the other hand was yelling for Desert Rain.] They began playing Bandheh, and I began shooting a video of it. It seemed to be coming along well, with the voices of Rahul Ram and Asheem Chakravarty AND the crowd, when Mashaal to my right asked me to stop shooting. I wondered why, and spoiled the shot badly, when I saw the Inci con also making gestures to me to stop shooting the video. After the shot was spoiled beyond redemption, Mashaal told me that Asheem Chakravarty’s shortsighted, and camera flashes disturb him, and so… Hell! I knew that! I wasn’t using a flash, and now the shot was spoiled, and what’s better, my camera was running out of charge. Darn, wish I hadn’t taken so many shots of Anirban.
We never could get a look at the drummer, he was hidden behind the drums. The (other) ladies went berserk when he came up to the front for some adjustments. Amit Kilam, he’s also the flawless flautist.
A couple of songs later was when I noticed Susmit Sen, the acoustic guitarist. He was right above where I stood [front row as usual], and had been pretty low-key throughout. He looked like he was there to deliver a lecture, with that neatly combed hair.
Somewhere towards the end, I noticed his guitar. I haven’t seen many like this, someone tell me, are they popular? It doesn’t have a body, only a frame.
They played a really long number, with lots of innovative drumming, and Asheem Chakravarty played Rahul Ram’s guitar in a very novel way. The length and relative monotony of the number ensured that people walked away. All the girls around me moved off, and, uh, well, I had to, too. People were yelling for Kandisa, and after the lengthy number, the band announced that they’d be playing their last song. Tuna and me sung along for that one, Kandisa [We've listened to it so many times that we can sing it in our sleep, even though it's in Aramaic, same language as The Passion of Christ].
Kandisa Alaha, Kandisa Ehsana
Kandisa La Ma Yosa
……… And we were done.
They hadn’t played my Desert Rain, but, um, that’s okay! The long wait was over – I’d been waiting for this concert all year. And they didn’t disappoint one bit. The icing on the cake was The Raghu Dixit project, an unexpected treat.
And I suppose the only place where I can enjoy a rock concert alone in the front row is the wonderful place that is NITK. When Parikrama had performed here two years ago, they said that it was “wonderful that there are girls enjoying this show in the front row, not many places where we’ve seen that happen”, and that “the men are cool people too, for letting the girls do that”.
Well, I might not consider the men cool people “for letting us do that”, but my respect for them has definitely increased on seeing that they ensure we don’t have a problem enjoying the concert. Hats off, I might want to say, but that’ll only sound ironic.
Can’t wait for Inci-08!
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Carrying on from Tuna’s theme, I’ll say I’m sick-to-dying of Orkut. Add to this the fact that my browser crashes each time I open the site, and there you go! I’ve been off Orkut for a few weeks now. But then, I don’t need Orkut to remind me of my friends’ birthdays: I’ve always had a good memory of those. And a few days back, it was my longlost schoolfriend’s – let me call her Squirrel- Squirrel’s birthday. No Orkut meant I had to mail her my wishes. It’s been a long while since our last reunion, almost a year [The Great One, we need to organize another one, da, and this time get a digicam with batteries], and as the mail turned to talk of meeting up, it turned out to be an ad for Incident-07.
Well, yeah, most of my conversations with friends who aren’t at NITK end up that way these days. And why not? Inci-07 promises to be sand, sun, fun and more. And, uh, it’s a chance to show off my college to old pals who do the same when I visit them. Yeah, NITK might not have an aviary like Christ College, no HotelManagementStudent-run cafeteria like Christ, no lake like IITB, no laundromats like JNCASR, but heck, we have our very own beach [one of the only two universities in the world with that distinction], and we’re having the best of beach events this time ’round.
And, [me and Tuna are all-agog for this one, and no, it isn't a video-conference with JK Rowling], INDIAN OCEAN’S COMING! No, I don’t mean the sea’s going to advance or anything, but the best-ever Indian band will be performing live for our Pro-Nite. Yes, it’s Indian Ocean of Kandisa, Desert Rain and Jhini fame.
Ahh, harks back to the previous editions of Incident. Funnily, I don’t recall much of Inci-05 other than the Parikrama pro-nite. Hmm… me and my crossie teammate made some breakthrough in the daily crossies and quizzes, and Tuna and me tried out all the lit events, watched our friends paperdance, but the pronite was what made the lasting impression. I’d always been crazy about Parikrama, so I was publicising their music in the hostel even before the posters were out. When the concert finally happened, me and everyone weren’t disappointed. Far from it, actually.
The concert was opened by Vinapra, who were, so to speak, okay-sounding, and Yell-O who did just that all night, driving people away from SAC. Roomie ran away coz her eardrums were sensitive, and hadn’t been sufficiently numbed by the music I played in the room. And THEN, Parikrama took stage, and kept us grooving till 2 am. I’d never headbanged for five hours at a stretch, and the following morning was a hazy blur of aching muscles and sore feet. But then, I’d gotten to meet Subir Malik, Nitin Malik of the wowie voice, and Chintan Kalra of the maroon bathrobe fame, and Sonam Sherpa of the wild guitaring and mouth organ, so I guess it was quite worth it. All of it, including listening to GnR’s Sweet Child O’ Mine for the third time in a day, and the eighth time in two days [War of the Bands the previous day, and Sweet Child turned out to be a favorite among the contestants].
And Inci-06.. won’t forget that one in a hurry. It started off tame enough, with daily crossie and the like, but somewhere in India Quiz, my direct junior [a junior who's in the same branch as you, from the same place as you are - and this guy also happens to be from my school] told me of a longlost ex-classmate of mine [I'll call him Doc] who I’dn’t met for a couple of years then who’d turned up there. Doc had lost his cellphone, making it quite convenient for me to contact him. After a search of the Main Lobby, I located Doc. The rest of the day went in catching up on ol’ times and strangely, bumping into more acquaintances and common friends. Doc turned out to be a GuitarGod in his college, but wasn’t performing in War of the Bands for some weird reason, which meant front-row headbanging in the contest this year. I would never have gotten to do that otherwise, as there are not many girls in the front row of hardrock/heavymetal performances, and it’s unwise and boring to hang in there without company. I got back that night with my ears ringing, but ah! it was worth it.
Then I watched Doc win JAM, helped him out with Mock Press [he was Tom Cruise], and took a trip back to schooldays when Doc and DirectJunior were pitted against each other in the Debate… and then was the Euphoria concert, which meant another headbanging session in the frontrow, or so I thought. Nope, Euphoria isn’t your college band type; they’re more for your younger cousin who’s just starting on Backstreet Boys and is elated that Indians play [what he thinks is] rock. They are a hit coz everyone knows their songs, and everyone knows Polly Sen the Rocktor, and Nicky the guitarist is cute. It’s surprising that everything right from Bryan Adams to Shaan can sound the same, but that’s how it is when Euphoria’s performing.
We were in the front row as usual, but were politely applauding instead of headbanging. And as the concert progressed, more and more couples came up to the front row, and slowdanced and all that. And there were also kids who don’t know the r,o,c,k of rock, and assumed Euphoria were the Gods of Rock or something, and kept jumping around the front row. They were six feet tall, and sweaty and hyperactive, certainly not convenient for tiny me who was getting asphyxiated, couldn’t look at the stage, couldn’t look elsewhere [the slowdancers, remember], and Doc and I walked off, took a walk around the campus, and funnily saw more couples than the ones that were slowdancing, but that’s another story.
Well, the last day of Inci-06 got cancelled as one of us left forever, and there’ve been mixed opinions on that one, but what says it all was the admiration NITK was shown by the other colleges on standing together and cancelling the last day.
Which brings us to Inci-07. I, for one, hope to enjoy this to the max, throwing aside all worries of the midsems a week after, and of the three miniprojects we’re to complete this semester.
That won’t be hard, with my current favorite Indian band performing live, [no, I'm not one of those who recently converted to Indian Ocean, I've been humming their tunes for close to two years now], and Bangalore’s top band, The Galeej Gurus [they won RadioCity Live, I heard] opening the semi-pro nite. And there are umpteen beach events, the QuizFest seems alluring. Best of all, it’ll be right after GATE, a much-needed break for those of us taking that exam, even if it’s just for kicks.
See ya there!
* fade to Torrent/Desert Rain playing in the background *