Gig Review: Pentagram @ HRC – 31st Oct 2011


With the Diwali festivities finally coming to an end, and with the madness surrounding F1, it’d be a good time to just stay at home on Sunday, relax and watch the races, right? WRONG.

Imagine my enthusiasm, as I was going to watch Pentagram play live for the first time after 7 years! A lot changes in 7 years – we grow older and presumably wiser; our habits evolve, our tastes mature… and all that jazz. But this is for certain – Pentagram, a band that has been amping up the airwaves in India for the last 16 years, is showing no such signs of aging. Like fine wine, they’ve only gotten better with time.

When you listen to their music, be it recorded or live, you can easily savour the flavour that each band member – Vishal Dadlani on vox, Shiraz Bhattacharya on drums,Makarand ‘Papal’ Mane on bass and Randolph Correia on guitar – contributes to the concatenate cocktail that is Pentagram’s music. Want a taste?

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I was very fortunate to catch up with the band before they were set to go on stage. Randolph related how everyone in the band was extremely excited to be headlining the upcoming NH7 music festival in Pune – something that will unite musicians and music lovers from all walks and genres all at once. He feels very strongly about how it is about time that something of this stature is finally materializing in India. The band’s enthusiasm was obvious from their uproarious live performance that night.

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In reference to their newest album, Bloodywood, Randolph expressed his satisfaction, saying that it is a reflection of how the band has really come together over the last decade and a half. In reference to his own inputs and electronica influences, he mentioned how he is a big fan of groups like Left FieldOrbitalChemical Brothers and Prodigy, with whom Pentagram has even shared the stage in Delhi.

What started initially as an experiment, by infusing electro beats and sounds within their own music, steadily gained momentum within the mainstream audience, garnering global recognition for the band. As of now, they have released 4 albums till date… and there are more to come!

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Before the performance, Vishal shared his sympathies with Metallica, regarding their recent Delhi debacle. Pentagram had been really looking forward to being a part of what would have been one of the biggest and best concerts to ever touch Indian soil, and had to return back to Mumbai disappointed.

Nonetheless, this did not affect the band’s own performance on Sunday. Vishal, with his ever-energetic stage presence was undoubtedly the center of attention, getting the crowds to sing and clap with a simple swing of the mic-stand. He also mentioned earlier, that the band is very excited to be working on yet another album. While the latest music video for “Love Drug Climb Down,” out just a few weeks back has already reached 10000+ views, there is yet another music video coming out in the next few days! Pentagram fans, be sure to be all over Youtube!

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In the two hours that they were on stage at Hard Rock Café, they played numerous songs, some new as well as some classics, like ‘Animal’ and ‘Voice‘ from their 2007 album “Its OK, Its all Good.” Shiraz may have seemed to be cowering behind the towering drum set, but he didn’t miss a single beat throughout the night.

Though mere feet away from Vishal, Papal, reticent as always (he insisted earlier that Randolph should be the one I ought to talk to), was calm and composed, despite pulling and plucking at his Fender four-stringer. Randolph, suave and stylish, pulled off some slick moves on his Gibson, smiling away at the audience.

It comes as no surprise that there was a noticeable female fan following that night. Also present to support Pentagram were Vishwesh (to whom Vishal even dedicated a song) and Akshay from Scribe, whom I had the pleasure to meet earlier this month at Blue Frog.  

All in all, it was truly a great night to have been at Hard Rock Café on Sunday. Having seen them play live after so long, I can only imagine and anticipate what it would be like to see them perform at the NH7 Weekender Fest. Pentagram fans, watch out, they’ll be playing there on Saturday, November 19! That’s merely 3 weeks away!



SPECIAL THANKS: Nikhil Warrier @ OML and Reetu Rehal @ Avian-Media

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