Bangalore caught the blues with Soulmate recently at HRC!
Soulmate is a Shillong act that specializes in the blues with Rudy Wallang on guitars & Tipriti ‘Tips’ Kharbangar on vocals (she does some mean riffing too!). They most recently performed at the Jakarta Blues Festival & as they mention in the video byte, Storm Festival 2012 is their next stop!
They got off to a loud, booming start and pretty much from that moment on had the room under their spell. With a special mention to RSJ’s Amit Saigal, it was a 2 minute soulfest; a poignant ballad to the man’s life. It was a prolific sound & mentally, I figured this is something I would love to listen to on my mp3! This is not just breathtaking music, but something that would most definitely sell. Because it was all coming out so… WELL! Sigh. Experience definitely adds volumes in terms of stage presence because it’s not everyday that you have that kind of a disposition flaunted. Even if you are a band that does this for a living.
Less zoning out, more Soulmate-ing!
The music only got better with their very own ‘Set Me Free’ (a personal fave – I couldn’t get this out of my head after the 1st listen), Keep It To Yourself (with its strong country twang & Rudy ruling the vocal line) and particularly, You Give Me Nothing But The Blues. Behind that butterfly adorned mic was a revelation.
Enough has been said about Tips’ vocals & I’m going to nod vehemently in agreement that she is definitely one of the better singers in the circuit today.
Not to mention, she got them moves like – I can’t say Jagger! It was more Shakira going rock & roll. Her freestyle vocal improvs were a treat & more than anything, it was the effect this little lady had on the audience, men in particular! The number of open-mouthed oglers who couldn’t keep their eyes off her had me thinking:
– Wow, what a sense of power. Down boys, DOWN 😀
– Indian audiences really love themselves a good female lead! There aren’t enough & Kudos to the audience too for being so very encouraging and literally hanging on to every tune crooned by Tips!
The sound became more powerhouse blues and as such, there weren’t too many mellow moments. After a point it got rather loud, in fact. The whole show was quite heavy on the ears; an oxymoron you’d think. But then Rudy was kind enough to set the record straight with regard to the genre of blues:
During that concert, besides Tips’ pipes, the guitar was the true star of the evening. No other genre complements the guitar as much as the blues, I realized. The band was very ably supported by Leon Wallang on bass, Sam Shullai on drums and Raveen Pandey on the keys.
They manipulated us listeners skillfully with some rock & roll ish strides in the end. An authentic blues jam about the days of the week was also a highlight (oh yes, it’s all very sad). This tasteful tomfoolery was taken in by the sportive crowd who then obliged to a ‘let me love you’ hook and HOW!
Blues as a genre was a revelation to me. I’d always thought it was a laid back, more passive style of music. A friend of mine had deemed blues as ‘mood’ music. Regardless of the power emanating from the stage, there were many cheek-on-palm mulling moments, where I felt it was just the music and me. At the same time, I could see a whole lot that only got progressively high with the blues!
Watching Soulmate for those 2 hours made me see how life as a musician can be so fulfilling! Those 2 hours, they were singing, dancing, living the music. And of course, that aura trickled to the sea of people who just couldn’t get enough.
The audience comprised of fans who weren’t new to Soulmate & here I must make a special mention of a lady who relentlessly called out for Voodoo Woman every now & then. Her cries were heeded as the band finished with the Koko Taylor cover as an encore, bidding farewell to the Bangaloreans who were still, quite visibly, in a Soulmate haze.
PHOTO CREDITS: Swathi Chatrapathy
Special Thanks To Keith Wallang