Two extremely reputed bands TWKC (Thundu Beedi, Water Packet, Kutchi Ice, Curd Rice: epic name!) and Muthu Sandhu which I had heard for the first time, quite a biggie in the Chennai scene, as the main acts would give anyone high hopes. IMO, my expectations were quite shaken, making things more, oh let’s say, interesting?
The venue which usually is Star Rock pub at Spring Hotel was shifted to the rooftop hall (Symphony Hall) in anticipation of a huge crowd with tickets going faster and a crowd the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Avial played last for Scorenight. Again, big expectations for this gig.
Shy or Starstruck?
So I walked in and the first thing I saw was something straight out of a conservative prom night.
There were chairs placed neatly along the walls of the venue (lol number 1), the girls were sitting along the left hand side of the venue, each of whom were face first into their respective blackberries probably broadcasting about having the time of their lives at an ubercool gig (lol number 2) while the guys sat with their glasses(not surprised) filled to the brim, along the right side checking out the girls across the hall.
A small bunch of non-conformists, if I may call them, stood outside the hall at the elevator probably cause they thought it was too cool to come early for a gig (tee hee ‘come’). Either ways all of them seemed quite happy and were patiently waiting for Muthu Sandhu to start playing (not TWKC? You’ll read why).
Metal Makes The Crowd Go…. Back. Three Steps.
The first act to go on stage, to the majority crowd’s surprise (and to a musician’s delight), was TWKC – the experi-metal act from Venkateshwara College. Not getting quite the response they expected, Harish, the vocalist, tried to pipe up the crowd’s enthu and rally them up front to the stage with little to no success. A few fans (including me) huddled right up front to bow before the entertainers.
Packing some power like they usually do, TWKC started off with their soundcheck song ‘Shut Up’ – very ironic. The sound was brilliant, perfect levels, perfect channel mixes, perfect instrumentation – almost too perfect.
Without further ado they started off with one of their most well-known tracks “The Rise And Fall Of Muthu Pandey”. The show was tight, the sounds were perfect, there was something in their music for all listeners alike, yet there wasn’t much of a crowd response.
So there were about 7 fans up front, followed by a 4 foot gap of empty space – which was conveniently used as moshing space later – followed by the remainders who showed up for the gig – that was the audience in a nutshell.
This went on for their next couple of tracks which included “Dog Eat Dog” and “Sky Daddy”. The people who stayed right back and watched the spectacle had an expression on their faces which were either:
- “DAFUQ?” or
- Could have been used as a meme for “Tries to headbang to TWKC, Too many pauses”. (True story, though).
Now in a situation like this, most bands wouldn’t have the mettle to continue playing metal on stage (pun shamelessly intended). With their last song from the set left, Harish got the crowd singing to the tune of their song “Kindergarden Anthem”, an extremely addictive track with a touch of brutality to it. Bodies flew when to everyone’s surprise the vocalist jumped into the crowd and flared a sizable mosh pit to the song.
Perfectionists as entertainers – these guys owe me at least a neck brace.
Local Flava Gets The Lowe. But About That Flava…
Exit TWKC, enter Sandhya Ramachandran on stage who went up to announce the next band. Before she could complete the words “Muttu Sandhu” , I felt the air around my neck getting slightly warmer. I turned only to be met with the sight of the entire meme faced crowd who had creeped WAY up front to the stage to witness what they had come to witness – quite evidently. As Sathguru, Rahul, Arjuna, Arun and Cletus stepped up on stage, the Tamil-rock band got a response the likes of which even Falguni Pathak wouldn’t have seen on Garba nights. The fans didn’t really seem to care about how the band would sound. blind in their own reckless love for the band.
The boys took away the stage with their soundcheck which wasn’t really used to serve the purpose – quite evident in the songs that were played right after. Tight bassist, even tighter guitarist, tightest drummer ever and a very unnaturally happy keyboardist on stage – the vocalist seemed out of the band singing on a completely different scale. The sounds seemed to be messed up with vocals being floor low and the keys being heard in the next building.
After helping the sound guy a bit in equalizing it to a considerable base, the band did their part of keeping the crowd entertained. Funnily the revellers didn’t quite notice all this was happening – erm, quite lost in the groovy licks of the band.
Hearing them for the first time ever and that too live, I would say the band’s found quite an incredible genre of their own and seem to do quite well in it – the fans would definitely agree. Beautiful use of tones, great bassist, a drummer with sustained bouts of energy which I had never seen and an amazing keyboardist to support the melody, the dudes kept the crowd on their feet throughout with their dapangoothu styles and really catchy lyrics.
The Muttu Sandhu theme was pretty much sung by the crowd more than Sathguru himself. Followed by tracks like Matukaran Vettukuvaran, Pengal, Bodhai, Ekkam and Kovam Matram – during the course of these you could see, what a friend quoted ‘Overconfidence’ and ‘Hyper’ which proved to go against Guru, the vocalist. The rest of the band though, was tight and anchored. The crowd still seemed blissfully unaware of all this and had a ball of a time, while a few people who understood music fairly had their faces twitching.
The drummer, Rahul Sridhar was the most notable musician in the band with spot on snare hits and almost unbeatable perfectly timed rolls which he performed with all smiles and ease. If you’re ever to go for one of their gigs be sure to watch out for him.
Not to my surprise, the crowd spilling with energy demanded more and the band got a double encore. During this they tried to get the band to start a mosh pit. While the boys tried to flag off a circle, the crowd suddenly drifted inches away from each other to let a guy randomly do a backflip who later fell back first on the floor only to let guys around him tickle him? Imagining it will not do justice to the hilarity.
The band was even joined by Harish from TWKC towards the end, to pipe in some growls to the chorus of their song. Following which, in their last act, Guru was lifted up on the shoulders of a fan and paraded around the hall – totally made that fan’s night!
All in all, to a musician the night wasn’t as great as it could have been and was quite mediocre. To the average dude who just wants to have random fun and not give two hoots about perfection, it was paradise. With the right mix of publicity for both bands, a literate enthusiastic soundguy stationed upfront ( & not next to the stage) and a decently executed sound check (with seriousness from Muthu Sandhu), this would have been a night not to be missed.
My verdict: Average.
Photo Credits: Neha B