Jazz, blues, golden oldies, country to pop and retro, Second Coming, a band of enthusiastic musicians plays them all

Their second coming

Nothing sounds as good as live music, especially if it is belted out by a bunch of enthusiastic but not-so-young musicians who have teamed up to play music, just for their love of it. Meet the stars of Second Coming, an unlikely bunch of musicians who are storming the live-music circuit down south.

In an earlier avatar, Tenny Allwood was a chef at Park Sheraton. Now this 51-year-old is the bass guitarist of Second Coming. 47-year-old Reji Varghese, singer, guitarist and song writer for the band, has been running a business for a couple of decades now, and ‘hadn't touched a musical instrument' until a few years back, following his mother's demise. 38-year-old singer and keyboardist Marc Wilcox is a mechanical engineer. 52-year-old Phillip Kohloff who sings, writes songs and plays guitar for the band is a practicing barge engineer, while his daughter Tonia, the only youngster in the band is a professional photographer. 44-year-old Maynard Grant, who has been a faculty at Pro Music for 17 years and performed with Louis Banks, is perhaps the only member of the band who had never tuned out of serious music all these years.

In the last three months, Second Coming has done 15 gigs — in Chennai, Kottayam, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other places. Radio channels such as Chennai Live and Radio Mango now play their songs regularly. Catching the buzz, sponsors such as Mercedes-Benz, Black Dog, Kingfisher, UB, Pepsi, and Bacardi have stepped in to prop up the band. “We started off playing gigs at a few hotels; frankly, we are surprised at the response,” says Reji Verghese.

Everything on the platter

Second Coming is one band that dares to play it all, from jazz, blues, golden oldies, country and pop to retro. Very few bands can claim this kind of versatility. The amateur listener gets bored after a few rounds of classical jazz, or rock or whatever. With Second Coming, there is no fear of overdose. “They have engulfed music lovers with their range, while catching the pulse of the crowd,” says Disha Oberoi, a RJ at Chennai Live.

No surprise then, that the band's followers are a mixed crowd, from teens to people like, well, themselves. “They definitely have a lot of fans; there were a lot of people who specifically came to listen to this band,” vouches Suresh Anthony, EAM - F&B, Raintree Hotels, where the band has staged a few gigs. Meanwhile, at Second Coming's charity gig at the Zuri resorts at Kumarakkom in early October, the Round Table of Kerala raised nearly rupees five lakh from the ticket sales, for building a school for underprivileged children.

Live music

On the dance floor or over dinner, the concept of live, non-film music is a rare, if not a non-existent entity currently. DJs have usurped that role now. Not many outfits can afford to splurge on a live band, when you can hire a DJ who can mix up music for a fraction of the cost. As Second Coming doesn't charge for their music, everyone is happy. “We are basically entertaining ourselves, so not being paid for it is okay”, Tenny puts it. Tenny and his friends were all serious musicians in their youth, but they didn't pursue music because, ‘non-film music, didn't make for a viable career'. Tenny, in fact, continues to hold a Guinness record for having been part of the longest non-stop concert ever played.

On stage, the entire bunch often joins in the song impromptu, regardless of the solo lead in that particular song, out of sheer enthusiasm. Maybe, it is this enthusiasm that makes their music enjoyable. Reji Varghese says, “People enjoy seeing us enjoy ourselves.” Or perhaps, it is the feel good factor that captivates crowds. With Second Coming, there is neither the pursuit of big bucks, nor solemn quests to carve out careers. They just like to make music.

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012