Music Classic Bollywood songs were presented with a dramatic millennial twist at a recent concert
The buzz from the amp seems unintentional now, but it recalls the band’s first album, Sinema, which opens the same way. This evening at Counterculture might run wayward, with a dramatic burlesque on the one hand and ambient psychedelia on the other, haunting samples dividing attention. It, however, will always, somehow creep right back into a sewer-romance fraught with doom and a band of gypsies fighting it out with song. “Thank you for coming. This is Peter Cat Recording Company. Thank you for coming. Thank you.”
They heighten a sense of drama with cued sounds, synths and cavernous guitars overlapping each other, until a waltzing ballad about a two-timing lover takes over. Her duplicity spills into the song such that you can’t be sure whether to sympathize or rejoice. PCRC has been described ‘bittersweet,’ because what they share is not the inaccessible knowledge of ‘cool,’ as custom with many bands, but the stale, common reality that, at second glimpse, is always drenched in irony.
I could've warned you but I lied. She’s not yours but mine. My girl, she won't confess, but she'll be your lover and maybe your guest.
“There are so many people here. There are more interesting people in India just by virtue of the numbers and everyone’s holding something back,” says Suryakanth who fronts the band and writes their songs. Here she comes on ten white horses made of string and clay, the flowers in his fingers wilt away.
Though the crowd is mostly contemplative between tracks, it’s an approachable atmosphere that beckoned six girls and two guys to dance in front of stage, ahead of the dinner tables. The turn out is a little more than usual to see this band from Delhi.
“Cause everyone is someone waiting for you.” The notes, looming like a dream in a life stricken by worse fate, can make you feel like that clown who’s crying in the rain, tumbling and dancing. “It’s basically old Hindi film music but for the fact that they never used a drum kit like we do now,” says Rohan, who has never stopped swaying in a trance when he’s playing the bass. When a bunch of these songs have twisted the soul too much, along comes the memory of some fantastical past that rings ripe for escape: “Happiness allows us to behave in ways you'd only hear about in whispers on your radio. …to live our lives meaningless.”
They’re always demanding a second look at life, but for the moment, the moaning slide guitar fulfils every cloud in the delusion. The idea to take back home tonight may be that celebration can mend wounds as music dissolves reality, just like at the cinemas. Some black-and-white Bollywood diva sings a classical strain for the cabaret with every push of the button. It’s ultimately tempting to let yourself fall for pain, even if just to acknowledge it.
Keywords: Peter Cat Recording Company