Music has always been at the core of Bengaluru’s Namma Ooru culture with the music capital’s soundscape creating its niche reputation for being the best in the country.
Even as the world heralds in the Summer Solstice on June 21 with one of the most anticipated and widely celebrated music event – the Fête de la Musique – MetroPlus rounds up the half-yearly hits and misses of Bengaluru’s music circuit on the eve of World Music Day.
Easily one of the most preferred destinations for international acts, Bengaluru is the hub for a wide berth of musicians and bands in 2015 with some of the biggest names in the global circuit touring the city, most of them for the first time.
As Bruce Lee Mani from the rock band Thermal And A Quarter rightly said in his wishlist at the start of the year: “More international acts in Bangalore are the need of the hour! It used to be the rock and metal hub. We need to bring that back,” the city saw a deluge of rock and metal take control of the scene this first semester. Metal heads in Bengaluru revelled in a heavy onslaught of metal with two epic fests – the Cult Fest, featuring American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, and the Bangalore Open Air Festival that presented blackened death metal band Belphegor from Austria, Columbian metal band Inquisition and German post metal band Unwhole, apart from headliners British-American extreme metal band Napalm Death. A horde of metal bands from across the country also rained metal chaos on metallers at the gigs.
Guitar legend, inventor of the double guitar and shredder prodigy Michael Angelo Bastio also brought the house down with a ravaging performance in Indigo Live. BFlat and Alliance Francaise also played host to a huge range of artistes across genres and countries in this first half.
However, some acts chose to pass up on Bengaluru. While American alt-rockers Switchfoot rampaged in Mumbai, Pune and Gurgaon, the Smirnoff Experience saw Italian electro house and dance-funk DJ Bloody Beetroots bring the house down in Mumbai but giving Bengaluru a clean miss, along with few other international acts.
Meanwhile, not to be deterred, several Bengaluru bands were busy etching their soundmark abroad. What used to be something that musicians would only dream off has become a regular affair now. Bands across genres - One Night Stand, The Raghu Dixit Project, Space Behind The Yellow Room and Inner Sanctum among others – have returned from tours to a number of countries taking music from Bengaluru around the globe.
Collaborations were also at an all-time high in the city. The Gala Indo Swiss concert saw artistes from the Zurich University of The Arts and The Bangalore School of Music come together for an epic evening of Western Classical music. Fusion artistes Selva Ganesh and Pete Lockett and the Trio Benares brought about some magical moments of Indian and Western music. Jazz also took off in the music capital on a high note with several performances by legends that thronged Bengaluru for the first time, including Netherland’s Van Merwijk’s Music Machine, New Yorker William Galison, Austrian ensemble Hotel Palindrone and a multitude of other artistes.
Bengaluru was the most sought after destination for artistes to release their albums in 2015. From independent singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad, who did the first ever amphithetre/auditorium tour in India, to Mumbai’s MIDIval Punditz and Delhi’s Curtain Blue, and even Chennai’s very own cultural intelligence ambassador Wilbur Sargunaraj, Bengaluru played host to their album launches with packed audiences and their widely-known attitude of acceptance. The city’s own Thermal And A Quarter also dished out their full meals of Bangalore Rock with their sixth studio offering The Scene that is very upbeat, cheerful and laidback that reflects the Bangalorean way of life with nuances of fun, vibrancy and sophistication.