With the end of October we enter that long grimy death march known to mankind as incessant rock music concerts everywhere in the world. And since I have been known to enjoy music at my spare time, I decided to give this Strawberry Fields thing a dekko.
For those of you who live under a rock, as in, not in Bangalore, Strawberry Fields (when not masquerading as an awesome Beatles song) is NLS’s open-air-concert-contest-awesomeness-thingajiggum. 2011 is its fifteenth edition, which makes it slightly older than your mental age. More importantly, entry is free, possibly because it happens in a giant-ass field where they sell overpriced pakodas in stalls.
SF-2011, as they like to call it, happened over 3 days : Friday was mainly metal oriented and indubitably left the audience with a bad case of tinnitus. I went on Saturday and checked out a couple of the rock performances, and Sandhya went on Sunday, but that’s a story for a later time.
NEIL-ING OUT AT NLS
When I reached the jungle that these lawyer dudes like to call a campus, I was assaulted by some hard guitar riffing from yonder field. Reminded me of the KISS. Those guys, whoever they were, were pretty brilliant. But sadly they had finished playing their set. So this one’s for you, unnamed band who rocked my world for two and a half minutes: I hope you live long and flourish, and never stop shredding your collective guitars.
As I arrived, the thing that struck me was the people. Rather, the absence of them. Here they are, the best up-and-coming bands in India, playing at a very beautiful (if slightly sylvan) venue for FREE, and there are like fourteen bored types dudes in total who have come to listen. Seriously guys, what is wrong with you?
Anyhoo, White Lady from Chennai held court next, playing a cover of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep. Now if you know one thing about me, it is that I hate Rolling In The Deep. But before I could Hulk Out and demolish the band, it dawned upon me that their cover was actually not that bad. Not good, no. But still, not that bad. Peppered with nice Indian beats. So this other one’s to you, lead singer girlie, for taking that song to its maximum potential. They played a couple of other songs, but I was too overwhelmed to notice.
Dark Desolation started playing next, some more people arrived to watch them. Most of them were disinterestedly smoking weed.
Dark Desolation were epically bad. Words fail to describe the exact magnitude of their badness, but it suffices to say that they were pretty damned bad. I’d rather undergo a colonoscopy exam. The lead singer kept wanting to DIEEE and smacking himself on the head repeatedly. Too late, alas to fix his evident brain damage. Also, they yelled a lot, to the evident pleasure of some of the people who were headbanging. To each his own I suppose.
Some other band started playing next, but by this time I had started suffering from major nicotine withdrawal so I went to get cigarettes.
Then these guys called the Family Cheese started playing. And they were absolute genius. Reassuring the audience that they had come all the way from Richmond town, just to play for us, those guys played an entertaining set which involved pulling the blind-folded lead’s pants down. Yes, the lead guitarist played part of the song with a scarf around his eyes and did that Jimi-Hendrix-playing-the-guitar-with-his teeth-thing-that-you’ve-always-wanted-to-do thing. Also the bassist did that August Rush thing. All very droll, I assure you. And they sang a song which I’m pretty sure was about toothpaste.
But their music was pretty good and they seemed to be having a heck of a time onstage, and it’s hard not to love guys to keep joking and laughing and enjoying themselves instead of wanting to DIEEE. So this other one’s for Family Cheese, with gratitude for good music and funny jokes and also for lending me a smoke.
OOH also I got em on video so you guys could check out the awesomeness yourself.
COOL AFRICAN BAND
Next up, this African percussion band with a ton of drums. They played a set that was quite good in terms of musical quality. And this lead drummer had this hugely phallic bongo-like drum tucked between his legs that he thrust in all directions without any sense of insincerity so it was brilliantly trippy as well. They kept saying incomprehensibly African things but their beats helped tide them over from complete joke to still-kinda-funny-but-nice-as-well.
Then the zombie-voiced lady who was doing all the announcing said that a band called Arihant will be playing next. At this point, my IIT phobia kicked in and I escaped like my tail’s on fire (who btw, were supposed to play also, but cancelled.)
All in all, the little smidgeon of SF-2011 that I did watch was quite incredibly, a work of genius. There were bad bands, and there were good bands, but most importantly there was like this wealth of talent playing at the same venue for (I reiterate) free. And every one of those band was quite incredible, musically, in its own way.
Even Dark Desolation.