NICKY picks four promising and upcoming bands that have made an impact in this otherwise classically inclined city.

When it comes to Rock and other subgenres, Chennai is still a few steps behind when compared to other cities in the country. Nevertheless, the entire scene has improved a lot in the last couple of years. It has been more than two decades since the Rock band culture started in the city but there are distinct changes seen in last one decade as a number of musicians rather quality musicians have widened and more college festivals and other facilities have increased the platform for upcoming musicians to showcase their talent.

Today Chennai's Rock music scene is one of the best in the country. Not only the city has evidenced lot of Big International bands and musicians in last few years but also lot of bands and musicians from the city has shared stage with lot of international bands / musicians and International stages as well.

Last year was very promising for the upcoming bands in the city. Here are a few which made a mark…

83 Miles Per Hour

83 Miles Per Hour was formed in January, 2011, by Aldrin and Raemus. Soon after Rishi joined them and after several trials for a vocalist they found Kenny. After playing a couple of shows as a four-piece band, Peter and Harshit joined them in mid September 2011, widening the sound of 83MPH. It's a band with six different musicians with different musical influences, from six different places namely Kenny from Manipur , Raemus from Kerala , Rishi from Kolkata, Aldrin from Chennai, Peter from Bengaluru and Harshit from New Delhi. And Chennai rock scene is proud to get started bands like these from here.

They are inspired by legendary artists such as Aerosmith, Dream Theater, Pink Floyd, Muse, ZZ Top, Porcupine Tree and Grits.

After intense jamming sessions and experimentation with the songs, they finally found their sound which of course is still evolving to date but each member has brought in their own element which fits in perfectly to make the sound of 83 Miles Per Hour even brighter, heavier and faster. It is hard to believe that this young band won the best band in Channel [V] Launch pad beating all other bands from India. The band also won Hard Rock Rising 2012 and many college completions and festivals in the city and in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Goa and Kerala. Within a year the band has achieved much acclaim and so has its musicians individually.

Line up:

Kenny Shaiza (Vocals)

Harshit Misra (Bass)

Peter Francis Joshua (Drums)

Aldrin Dominic Alexander (Keys)

Raemus Castelino (Guitar)

Rishikant Ekka (Guitar)

Check them out in facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/83-MPH-83-Miles-Per-Hour/144842845576380

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Tails On Fire

Bassist Jitesh and guitarist T.T. Sriram had been planning to start a new project together for a long time but never got around to doing it. Finally Ritesh and Karan joined them in July 2011 and the result was Tails On Fire.

Jitesh and Ritesh who played for Powder in the Ashtray, Nerverek and Afterburn, won various competitions (IIT, I-Rock, Campus Rock Idols), opened for Iron Maiden at Mumbai and Scorpions at Bengaluru. Sriram who plays for Skrat and Blacklisted also won a whole bunch of competitions at ( IIT, VIT, Campus Rock Idols) and played at Rock In India Fest in Bangalore palace grounds subsequently headlined by Iron Maiden.

They are individually influenced by various artists. As a whole, the band draws influences from Biffy Clyro, The Foo Fighters, Rage against the Machine and the Likes. The band is based on a simple ideal — simple fun music with a mental stage act. The Bounce rock/ Alternative hard Rock style of music of the band was well accepted by the audience.

Within three months of its formation the band won Chennai Live Band Hunt-II (which is the only competition that the band has taken part in). After that the band never had to look back. They have played showcase gigs at various places including IIT-M for Nokia, Madras Christian College (Deepwoods) opening act for Cypher 16 (UK-based band), Kyra Theater in Bengaluru, Manipal and Express Avenue.

Line up:

Karan Nair (Vocals)

Sriram TT (Guitar)

Jitesh Dharmaraj (Bass)

Ritesh Dharmaraj (Drums)

Check them out in facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tails-On-Fire/226065844097958

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Wolf's Lair

Wolf's Lair started sometime in August 2010 when ex-Blood and Iron members Vivin, Mark, Arun and Manu roped in Pharez and Anshuman of Escher's Knot to embark on a new project. It was the music that brought them together and the fact that they liked jamming together and making music that was unique.

Audience have classified them in many genres, from power metal to progressive metal, melodic death metal, symphonic metal but The band believes in playing metal that comes from the heart and under each member's influence and contribution of their own style, which sounds like Symphonic Prog Metal or Orchestral Prog Metal — power and aggression blended with melody and speed.

The turning point for the band was when they won Chennai Live Band Hunt-I. That has opened their opportunities to headlining shows and college cultural festivals. They have put up mind-blowing performances in Hard Rock Cafe Hyderabad and Kyra Theater in Bengaluru. The band was one of the top five finalists at the Hornbill Festival, Nagaland. It was their biggest achievement, as they were the only band from Chennai in last one decade who got a chance to play at the Hornbill Festival.

Wolf's Lair is a power pack of six individually talented musicians who have won best drummer, best guitarist, outstanding keyboardist, best bassist, best vocalist award in many different competitions in the city and outside. Now the band is busy in studio working on their first EP expected to be released soon.

Line up:

Mark Thomas (Vocals)

Pharez Mervyn (Guitars)

Anshuman Mishra (Guitars)

Vivin Kuruvilla (Keyboards)

Arun Daniel (Bass)

Manu Krishnan (Drums)

Check them out in facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolfs.lair.chennai

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The Family Cheese

Three musicians from different cities and musical influences — Apurv (Hyderabad), Homi (Bengaluru) and Yohan (Ahmedabad) — met in Chennai during their musical study in Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music and their experimental jamming and compositions gave birth to The Family Cheese in September 2011. It is difficult to put them under one particular genre of music because they make live music an unforgettable experience with a homogeneous blend of blues, carnatic, jazz, hard rock, metal, alternative and electronica.

Ever since the band was formed, this trio has been winning in different competitions and performing in Chennai, Puducherry, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kharagpur. Just after one month's jamming the trio won the best band in Chennai Live Band hunt-II. They won India Today's Mind Rocks –Youth Summit, IIT-Kharagpur and many individual best prizes in BITS Pilani-Hyderabad, IIT-Madras and many other college competitions.

Wherever this trio takes the stage, they always leave the crowd laughing, shocked and screaming for more with their jokes along side wonderful coordination of all the three musicians.

Line up:

Apurv Isaac (Guitars / Vocals)

Homi Rustumji (Bass)

Yohan Marshall (Drums / Vocals)

Check them out in facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thefamilycheese

Nicky is a music analyser/ critic and founder of Unseen Underground.

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Thank you, guys!March 28, 2012