Junkyard Groove and Them Clones gave a memorable performance, despite a slow start
The Chennai edition of the Rolling Stone Summer Rock Tour was slow to start, rather disorganised and plagued by technical delays. But it ended up being a memorable evening, after all, thanks largely to the excellent music of Chennai’s own Junkyard Groove and up-and-coming Delhi band Them Clones. They were also aided, it has to be said, by some totally random moments of goofiness, courtesy Uncle, the ‘star’ of the evening (more on him later), and the generally laidback atmosphere at the show.
The setting was the Buck’s open air theatre on the YMCA grounds, where flowers and leaves fluttered down from the trees and bats flitted overhead as the dwindling audience waited for the unending sound checks to be completed.
However, when the concert finally did begin with the opening act by No Safe Word, the audience were energised by a free-for-all abuse session with its foul-mouthed frontman Kishore. The band’s music had promise; unfortunately, it was lost amidst Kishore’s various rants, which led one from the audience to yell: “This is a rock show, stop talking!”
Not surprisingly, the smoothly professional Them Clones who followed were given an affectionate welcome by the audience. Unfortunately, it took another half an hour of fiddling with the sound system before we could actually hear them. Still, they got the (rather sparsely populated) mosh pit going with their first riff. The band, which is currently on a nine-city tour to promote the launch of their first single, ‘My Life’, produced a world-class sound in these less-than-perfect setting, with solid guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals. Their sound was a tad generic at times, but if their new single and their rock ballads are anything to go by, they’re rapidly finding a distinctive sound that’s going to take them places.
And then, it was time for one of Chennai’s favourite rock acts, the funkalicious Junkyard Groove, to bring their particular brand of free-flowing fun and energy to the stage. Not before we had some more technical delays, of course. Luckily, there was Uncle to keep us entertained — the middle-aged gentleman who stood in front of the stage throughout the evening, doing a hilarious drunken dappankuthu dance to the rock music. When Junkyard’s Ameeth yelled: “We love Uncle! Everyone scream ‘We love Uncle!’”, the crowd willingly obliged.
The band played old favourites such as ‘Folk You’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, featuring Ameeth’s trademark eccentric vocals, and introduced ‘Call My Name’, a new song with an infectious reggae influence to the audience.
It was past 10.30 p.m. when the band was finally let off the stage by the small but super-enthusiastic audience, which was almost entirely on its feet and clustered close to the stage. Even the YMCA dog, which had been wandering around all evening, joined them. The consensus was clear — it might not have begun well, but the Chennai edition of the rock tour sponsored by Z3 shirts was a success.DIVYA KUMAR