Incident-07: The Semi-Pro and Pro-Nite Chronicles of an Indi-Rock Aficionado


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!”

raghupathy-dixit-antaragini-raghupathy-dixit-project.jpg

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:

raghupathy-dixit-project-anirban.jpg

 

The drummer was completely obscured by the drums, and the best I could get was

The Drummer of The Raghu Dixit Project

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:

The Flautist of The Raghu Dixit Project

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.

indian-ocean-asheem-chakravarty.jpg

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.

Indian Ocean’s Rahul Ram

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.

Indian Ocean’s Susmit Sen

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.

Indian Ocean Susmit Sen’s Guitar

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
Israha malem

……… 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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About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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20 Responses to Incident-07: The Semi-Pro and Pro-Nite Chronicles of an Indi-Rock Aficionado

  1. Sindhura says:

    Sexy Review!! shuda got a li’l more of Galeej Gurus.. they were the BEST amongst the 3 pro semi-pro’s if u ask me.. and wat was the name of the GG guitarist ??

  2. wanderlust says:

    The bassist is called Nathan Harris, the long-haired one, The one with the colorful cap is Ananth Menon, the other guitarist was naveen thomas, apparently.. the drummer is called arfaaz, and the vocalist is matthew harris.

  3. theG says:

    the most interesting part i guess was the band asking people to be silent. never ever seen that happen. the music was god level, but the interaction with the audience, it sucked big time! that too is an important part of any concert. that was the reason why the crowd walked out.

  4. theG says:

    and the phlemingoes lead guitarist is Tanay.. ginani was in the western team :).

  5. Tuna Fish says:

    they cant expect the CROWD to be silent… Its silly to actually ask them to go away from the stage… well they had a point about the speakers though…

  6. wanderlust says:

    @theG:
    Made the edit, Thanks!
    it was very bad PR… how can it slip their mind that it’s the CROWD they are performing for? Asheem Chakravarty needs to learn a thing or two from The Galeej Gurus. But as for people walking out, i don’t think it was due to Mr. Groucho.. the music got really boring and monotonous, and people were waiting for Kandisa right from the beginning, and the long song showed no signs of ending, not many knew that song either… that’s why people left.
    @Tuna Fish.
    Maybe they did. but they could have put it in a better way. It sounded as if no one at nitk knew a thing about acoustics, and the band seemed so disgruntled at everything…. maybe they wanted to sample the local cuisine and had dinner at City Lunch Home or something.

  7. Gaurav says:

    Hey!

    Thanks for the nice review! I am Gaurav from the Raghu Dixit Project, the ‘other’ guitarist that you couldn’t click pictures of 🙂 We had an absolute blast on stage and it was a really good and fun show for us! thanks for having us over..

    PS: the guitar that Rahul Ram plays is called the silent guitar and his guitar was a Yamaha make. You can find details here .. http://www.yamaha.co.jp/english/product/guitar/silent_guitar/index.html

  8. wanderlust says:

    Wow-o-wow!
    you were absolutely electric, if i may say so.
    pleasure having you here, we’re elated beyond words. 😀 😀 😀

  9. @Priya
    I’m surprised, that You didn’t write about the way they played Kandisa. I was singing it aloud( Ya I’ve heard it many times too !) ,making accompanying instrument sounds along the course of it.But I could notice a distinct change in the raga that they used to play it , somewhere in the middle. Even the “….Maaaaaaaale” part that Asheem sings was in a different pace.
    Even the long Guitar part sorta at the end was kinda different. and awesome.
    The variations that these guys gave , has increased my respect for this band and their music.
    BTW, how did u miss the percussion on base guitar by Asheem part?

    @Raghu Dixit Project:- You guys are aaaaaawesome.Keep playing Original Music. It’s really good and beautiful.
    The Flautist is really good man!.Keep it up.

  10. wanderlust says:

    @Abhishek Upadhya:
    But that’s what happens in ALL concerts! nothing new about that! For that matter, even Raghu Dixit Project played their songs slightly differently. So did Parikrama a couple of years back, as did Euphoria last year.
    and I didn’t miss the percussion on the bass guitar. i’ve mentioned it, though not in detail. read again.

  11. Dushy says:

    Whoa!
    Good Review [:)]

  12. rand0mwalker says:

    Hey, that’s a really nice review.

    Personal opinion: Indian Ocean belongs to the folk-fusion genre which needs a lounge kinda environment, if it has to be savored.
    Hence, SAC with all the electric crowd wasn’t probably the best setting for such a band. That said, I enjoy their mujik very much 🙂

  13. @priya
    ya missed that line. And ur were right about the concerts too.
    Overall the band and the music was not for the NITK junta as such.I mean ,people here want to do a bhangra for every song on earth. Well that’s not gonna happen.Only people who liked Indian Ocean’s kinda music loved the concert .It was really good.
    I din’t know the aramaic part.Thought it was ol’ Hindi or something. He he

  14. wanderlust says:

    @dushy:
    thanks.
    @rand0mwalker:
    well, i dont know. people did seem to be enjoying the concert inspite of everything else. that was mainly coz people _did_ know the songs, and most did admit that the music was godlevel.
    but looking at your comment once again, i tend to agree. funnily, i’d always thought of Ind Oc as a complete college band on the lines of parikrama before this. now i realize they’re a lot more serious about music than the likes of parikrama [thirteen years of existence and only five original songs, you’d think they’re a lot more serious than that!]. what say?

  15. Vijay Sequeira says:

    The guitar that caught your attention is a Yamaha SLG series “Silent Guitar”. Its more of a practice guitar(when you want to do so “silently”). But you saw somebody play it on stage during performance. Thats absurd.

  16. Sachin Shetty says:

    Hi,

    thanks for the wonderful review, oh well, i agree with the author here – we can even sing Knadisa in our dreams..well for all wondering who is this “UNCLE” i am Sachin Shetty, class of 98 Mining, was the Incident ’98 Conveneor, i give it to you folks, the time change has changed,somewhere globalisation has made inroads into NITK the way they celebrate the mega festival Incident. Hats off guys and keep it up.

    Cheers

    Sachin

    what a change

  17. Nelson says:

    well I think Lee Ritenour plays a Yamaha SLG in concerts that I’ve seen

  18. hari prasad.k(machanzzz) says:

    kk was rocking;slam dunk ;beach;
    exellent;good; electricfic;

  19. Yamaha SLG guitar series “silent guitar” it caught my attention. because besides having a good display also has a beautiful voice
    http://electricguitar-lessons.com/yamaha-bass-guitar

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