It started with me getting lost in the area searching for the venue, which is tucked away inconspicuously in Pune’s Koregaon Park area. I entered quite late hoping I hadn’t missed much of the gig, which to my surprise hadn’t started yet. The crowd didn’t number in the tens of dozens but filled the café nicely.
We musicians be light headed
You’d expect a bunch of metalheads in a small space to be unfriendly by the time the gig began a good hour late but we weren’t! I guess we were just happy to be at a gig, considering Pune’s comatose metal scene. I looked at the tiny stage and a glimpse of the young musicians getting their gear ready, gave me the image of potential – that refreshing energy and spirit that lacks experience, but makes up for in adrenalin and humility. I was right.
Raise It Up for some RATM!
Once the hardware was set they started with a couple of songs which didn’t hit the mark, but did set the mood. Things quickly picked up with our favorite RATM hits coming alive as they blasted us with Testify, Bullet In The Head and Bulls on Parade among others. The band was good and there is definitely potential to do better. The vocalist did justice to Zach de la Rocha and the bassist was fun to watch, though I personally feel he needs to be a little more in sync musically. The rhythm guitarist and drummer both did their part in supporting the band.
The lead guitarist had the challenge of doing a Tom Morello and though it’s not hard to play Tom’s guitar parts, capturing the essence is tricky. I would say he managed but really should have done his homework on Morello’s tones; the Testify intro does NOT just employ a simple flanging effect. I Googled it and turns out it’s more intricate than that. With a Les Paul style guitar (a Greg Bennett if I’m not mistaken) he could have easily got the actual technique. I guess he decided to go with his own thing – which wasn’t bad but wasn’t Morello either. I hope he starts to analyze the intricacies of Tom’s technique and the art of using an expression pedal because he could nail them if he got into the finer details. They all need to get into the finer details but as I said before, they’re young and fresh and will grow as musicians with time.
So, should you go for a gig if you hear Miki Learns To Rock is playing? Definitely! Right now what I loved about them was their humility (especially the lead singer’s), thanking the audience for being there and keeping the mood lively. Take that away and I wouldn’t have had half the fun I did and this article would have turned out differently. What I enjoyed most is that they were there for the music. They knew where we were, a small café with a few people gathered to pay homage to one of the bands we all grew up with. And to me that is worth more than technique, more than sheer instrumental virtuosity. I believe they will improve and that is why I’m definitely going for their next gig. See you there!