Bands Indian Ocean and Lounge Piranha jazzed up weekend evenings for rock music lovers, reports SUDHISH KAMATH
Though the veteran band Indian Ocean and the fresh-blooded Lounge Piranha are distinctly different in genre, this past weekend I realised that they may have a lot in common when it comes to believing and sticking to their signature variation of rock and finding their unique voice.
A different level
It may be unfair to slot the Bangalore-based Lounge Piranha (Rohan Ramesh: bass; Kamal Singh: vocals and guitar; Abhijeet Tambe: vocal and guitar; George Mathen: drums), and say that it’s similar to how Pink Floyd packages its sound with psychedelic lights and ambient pre-recorded loops that set the tone for a trance-like transportation into a different level of consciousness. Because, the sound itself is fairly original, leaning more towards the alternative riffs of Zombie than the musique concrete of The Dark Side of the Moon.
The concert held at Unwind Centre on Saturday evening was an occasion for the band to promote its new album ‘Going Nowhere’. And, from the looks and the sound of it, this young band will go places.
The title track stands out as the pick of the lot with Pervez Ranjan’s “Didgeredoo” setting the mood for the soothing, ambient sound before the philosophical lyrics set in late into the song. “The Gun Song” is a little peppier, with some hardcore guitaring and haunting vocals.
With support crew controlling light and video art (by NIDian Archana Prasad) and Rahul Giri providing additional samples, Lounge Piranha is well-packaged act in concert too, as it played to a full house.
Earlier in the evening, Skrat kept the audience hooked and UK-based Jaspreet, at the Centre to conduct voice-training classes, captivated them with a few songs (“Kiss from a Rose” was an instant hit with the crowd) before Lounge Piranha took over.
On Sunday evening, Indian Ocean played in aid of the Elixir of Life project of the Rotary Club of Madras Downtown. Susmit Sen, Asheem Chakravarthy, Amit Kilam and Rahul Ram were in their elements as they drenched a nearly full house at the Lady Andal School Auditorium that had braved the rainy evening with their soulful folkish fusion rock.
Back in Chennai after a two-month tour of the United States, Indian Ocean began the show with some of their earlier pieces, “From the Ruins,” “Kya Maloom” and “Melancholic Ecstasy” fondly recollecting how the band had stuck together for eighteen years (“Even marriages these days don’t last that long,” as Rahul Ram observed).
The band also threw in a trivia in between songs. Like how “Genie” written by Kabirdas five hundred years ago, was recorded by the band only 100 kilometres from Chennai.
“We have been doing a little introspection lately and we realised that in 18 years, we have done only a grand total of 30 songs. That’s an average of 1.67 songs per year. Maybe because we like to cook it slow like good payasam. Or maybe because we were lazy or that all our songs are long and hence take time.
"So in the last one-and-a-half years, we decided to actively do more songs,” Rahul Ram told the crowd before going on to perform a song from their forthcoming film called “Bhoomi” (the band played the Bengali version of the song instead of the original Assamese version), followed by the Lion King-meets-Bihari folk with some eclectic guitaring during Hille Le.
The Black Friday hit “Bandeh” was received with applause even as they got started, and the band asked the crowd not to do that for “Bhor”, the song about “a bird that has a sufi experience” lest it disturbed their sync. The band saved up “Ma Rewa” and “Kandisa” for the very end, as Amit Kilam and Rahul did a little gaapgubi versus guitar face-off during “Ma Rewa” and later told us the legend of how they came up with “Kandisa” from an ancient Syrian Christian hymn.
Lovers of original Indian rock couldn’t have asked for more.