In a happy space

Peter Cat Recording Co perform at Tango, The Legends hotel PHOTO: M.MOORTHY  

When more than one person tells me they love Peter Cat Recording Co and they’re performing in Chennai on a Saturday night, my curiosity is instantly piqued. All four of us got lost trying to find the new Legends hotel in T. Nagar, but since the performance started a good half hour later, we made it on time. There’s usually a very select crowd that turns up for these “alternative” performances, but to our surprise, all the tables were booked that night, and if we were expecting a chilled out indie scene, we were in for quite a revelation.

It’s hard to pin Peter Cat Recording Co. into one fixed genre. Rolling Stone calls them a “psychedelic rock band” while my friend listening to them for the first time commented that some of their riffs sounded like car chase scenes from 80s Bollywood movies, and another friend said they sounded “Beatles-ey”. The funny thing is they’re all sort of right. PCRC manage to create an entirely new sound that’s reminiscent of electro-swing in parts and very trippy overall.

PCRC’s band members are a multi-tasking bunch, each member doubles up and sometimes even switch roles. Vocalist Suryakant Sawhney plays lead guitar and takes over the keyboards occasionally while the drummer Karan Singh doubles up playing the harmonium. Kartik Pillai works the keyboards and electronics — and the tambourine sometimes — and Rohan Kulshreshtha is on bass and electronics. All of them have separate solo projects or are part of other musical endeavours, and the ultimate mix of all their different sounds is what gives PCRC their distinctive sound.

From the lilting, easy listening ‘Happiness’ to the very electro-synth ‘Love Demons’ and back again to the strangely catchy ‘The Clown on the 22nd Floor’, the band has no one defining sound but their music seemed to resonate with the tightly packed crowd.

In solidarity with the cheering crowd, the stage too seem packed to the gills, the drummer almost knocked over the lead vocalist’s mic while trying to get to the harmonium, and almost tripped on his way back, and the lanky lead singer looked like his head would hit the ceiling any moment.

The band looked exhausted right from the start — at one point, the lead singer tells his audience he’s happy to be in Bangalore, which is followed by loud jeering from the crowd, and appropriately so. Apparently, the band has been driving around the country and playing at different venues to launch their new album, and just finished a set at Bangalore the night before, and Calicut before that. The boys definitely look like they could use a night’s rest, but their music seems to be on point nonetheless. Just ask me, I’m humming along to ‘Happiness’ right now.

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Printable version | Oct 14, 2021 5:11:46 PM |

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