Saturday, January 29, 2005

Unmaad IIMB - Indian Ocean and Strings Unity concert

Last night I was at IIM Bangalore's Unmaad festival. There was a concert of Indian Ocean and Pakistani band Strings (couldnt find any website on google).

The venue was a large flat muddy ground in the IIM campus. Reaching there was a nightmare. Bannerughatta Road has got to be the worst road in Bangalore. After breathing in dust and smoke on the way, the campus itself feels like heaven. Tickets were still available plenty. I was quite impressed and relieved when I saw that they were confiscating cigarettes during the security check.

Indian Ocean was a really good act. This band takes folk tunes from all over the country and has their own unique rendition. There is a drummer who also plays the flute. He also played a strange instrument called the Gabgubi. There was a tabalji who also had a couple of dholaks in his instrument set. The lead vocalist also manned a five-string bass. The fourth person was an acoustic guitarist who was pretty good with hindustani-classical style lead riffs. All the four members of the band sing, but the bass guitarist and the tabalji seem to be the main vocalists. Some of their songs almost sounded like bhajans. The combination of drums, bass, acoustic guitar, tabla and trance-like vocals and melodies was surprisingly powerful. It was good to see a band able to pack a lot of punch without the use of the distorted guitar sound. (although I did miss the wailing lead sound .....I almost thought the Junoon lead guitarist would have done great in this setting :) ) The band played a song they recently composed and recorded a song for the controversial movie "Black Friday". The crowd was constantly asking for "Kandisa", which I guess is their most popular song. Overall, their performance was great and I will definitely buy their CDs. (should be available on

"Strings" was a biiiiiiig flop-show. The show started with three guys coming on stage. One vocalist and the other two were guitarists. I was just wondering where the bass guitarist and drummer were when I realized they were going to have bass and drums on a pre-recorded track. That was soooo lame!! We didnt go over all the way to IIMB to hear recorded sound !!
The vocalist was quite low energy. I did like what the lead guitarist was doing though. The band apparently has a song in the soundtrack of "SpiderMan 2". They played that song, but even that song did not really catch my fancy. Their songs were extremely zeneraaaal and were just standing on the basis of catchy pop-style phrases. The last straw was when the band started doing a medley on Bollywood songs like "Om Shanti Om" and "Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe". Thats it!! We couldnt take it anymore. As Buntoo said "Whats next!! Are they now going to read out the news?" We didnt have the heart to wait till both the bands got together. Dinner seemed like a much better idea.

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