Mumbai’s very own Blakc celebrates its 5th year anniversary with a series of shows this month, such as this one at Hard Rock Cafe Mumbai.
In their own words – “BLAKC has always been about two things, the music and the people. We believe that our music is an extension of our personalities and the only way to connect to so many music lovers. Off stage we are weird; on stage we can tear a place apart purely because of the energy we have.“
They also claim that their music doesn’t necessarily fit in any particular genre, which aroused our curiosity. Surely, a quintet with two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a vocalist ought to know what to label themselves as, no?
Having heard the first couple of their songs, a few things became instantly apparent:
- Vocalist Shawn Pereira can modulate the tone of his voice easily within the course of a single song, going from clean and melodic to husky and raspy. This MUST come with a LOT of practice.
- You can expect multiple guitar solos in each song. Its almost as if Anish Menon, with his clean sounding sunburst Fender Stratocaster is competing with Reinhardt Dias‘ flashier PRS SE Zach Meyers signature model. And in the beginning, it seemed like Anish, with his classic, no-frills guitar, was indeed winning.
- Overall, the sound seemed to be dominated by bassist Roop Thomas, as he did his thing with his Squier Precision Bass. Perhaps the most interesting part of his performance, his dreadlocks not-withstanding, was their ‘headbanging’ mascot, a Blakc-Tshirt sporting Tweety soft toy, slung from the headstock of his bass guitar.
Throughout the night, Blakc played a veritable mix of old and new songs. They announced how they had very recently finished recording their second album, which would probably be released in a couple of months, if not earlier. Till such time, they gave us a good taste of their live sound at Hard Rock Cafe.
They kept up a solid performance, despite being affected by some otherwise very discouraging issues:
- It was a dry day, on account of local elections, which meant that there was a low turnout.
- Reinhardt’s setup was plagued with problems, as his guitar was barely audible in the first half of their set. This was especially disappointing, since they would have sounded even better, as the differences in both guitarists’ styles, tones and equipment would have completed their sound.
- There were lighting issues, and for a good majority of their gig, the stage was quite dark.
Nonetheless, they continued playing, with Shawn and Roop cheering and mock-threatening the audience at times for comic relief. While drummer Shishir Thakur and the guitarists were comfortabley housed in their spots, Shawn and Roop were definitely the most active members on stage, the latter looking for every opportunity to showcase his thumbstyle thumping techniques, with Tweety flailing around, dangling from his bass.
After a brief interval, they did address the issues affecting their sound, and you could really feel a massive improvement in their sound, especially considering how Reinhardt’s guitar came alive like a phoenix rising from its ashes. Rested and reinvigorated, even without the booze, Blakc’s second half was much, much better, as they played their harder and more energetic tunes such as Blacklisted.
Their music is hard to classify for many reasons, the foremost being how each member brings something unique towards their overall sound. The vocalist’s style seems to be influenced by Grunge and older Hard Rock; the bass lines remind one of Funk and Nu-Metal; the guitaring transcends across a variety of inter-related genres like Blues and Metal (but no Djent, which is a thankful change). The sum total = a solid band with intricate arrangments, smooth transitions between clean and distorted sections, and lots of guitar solos – it actually becomes very hard to pick favourites between Anish and Reinhardt, for that matter, or even Roop, who does not fail to deliver his pops and snaps in any song.
Blakc, along with another awesome band Coshish, will be playing for Come Together, a Rotaract Club fundraiser for various charities, at the Carter Road Amphitheater on Feb 25th from 5:30 pm onwards. Go check them out and support them as they support their causes! Click here for more details on the event.
Photography: Parizad D.