We caught Blakc at their album launch this Sunday as they turned the stage into their ‘motheredland‘ and painted it blakc.
If you’re in Mumbai and have an ear for good music, Blakc is probably one of those names you’ve heard a lot. They started their act in 2007 and have come a long way since, releasing their second album “Motheredland” which is no mean feat, given the relatively short time span. The album itself seems to be really polished, with big shots like Shantanu Hudilkar of Yash Raj, Keshav Dhar of the Skyharbour fame and Mastering Engineer Chris Athens who has worked with AC/DC and Coldplay, involved in its production.
Shady as the area surrounding Blue Frog may be, the ambiance inside more than compensates for your questionable judgment. Although it looks like the insides of a Star Trek spacecraft, The Frog exhibits reasonable sound and lighting. Sufficient care has been taken with respect to the acoustics and pristine sound hits you as soon as the first note is struck.
I’ve been to a few Blakc gigs before, and I’ve had the opportunity to see their sound evolve over time. An unexpected piano on the stage made me curious as to out how well would it fit into the Blakc sound. Their set began with a strong opening track in ‘Bitten‘, well worth the initial anticipation which smoothly flowed into ‘The Dreamcast’. You could notice the audience singing along with the vocalist, Shawn Pereira, which speaks a lot about the band’s fanbase. After all, the best thing a band would want to see is people humming their tunes.
Shawn’s ability to modulate his voice and hit the high notes has only gotten better with time. The stage was owned by him and bassist Roop Thomas, who managed to keep the audience engaged. The sound, driven by his slap and pop, funk-reminiscent basslines, the intertwining guitar riffs by Anish Menon and Reinhardt Dias, and the heavy hitting by drummer Shishir Thakur seemed very complete. Blakc brought some beautiful women to perform the backing vocals and play the piano on some tracks. In addition to making Mumbai uncannily seem like Delhi for a second, due to the hoots and wolf-whistles, they did a fairly reasonable job.
Armed with his trademark tweety brandishing bass, Roop’s has an impressive array of bass playing techniques up his sleeve. Reinhardt’s sweet sounding guitar tone and Anish’s smooth playing complemented each other very well, with both the guitarists taking turns to solo, almost as if they were competing with each other. The new album seemed to have a progressive angle to it, with a multitude of guitar effects all around. The grunge-like performance from the band, the high energy and cohesive sound of the differently influenced band members made up for a unique listening experience.
The sound eventually began to sound a bit too heavy to be labeled alternative, with the band seemingly abandoning the old-school verse-chorus scheme. Almost each track was adorned with both mellow and vigorous parts, as if they’re giving you time to recover before you get back on your toes. After flaunting their new material, they moved on to the staples from their 2009 album, “Choking on a Dream”, giving some of the old-timers a treat. The set included the headbang inducing ‘Rift‘ and the beautiful sounding toms on ‘Field of Thought‘, ‘Alone‘ accompanied by hollow promises about how they’d be playing it for the last time. A different sounding ‘Sold‘ metamorphosed into ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit‘, a last hurrah to reward the folks who hung around till the end.
Apart from making balding men burn up in envy with their badass hair, Blakc are really upping the ante when it comes to live performances. People who complain that there are not enough reasonable gigs going around in Mumbai should really start looking harder. A Sunday night, well spent, the only pleasurable agony being my ears ringing with their sound.
Photo Credits: Parizad D
Go through her brilliant work here.