“If you don’t look into the eyes while toasting, you will have seven years of bad luck,” said The Family Cheese’s drummer Yohan Marshall, while balefully glaring at me. “As you can see, it impedes my social life quite a bit”, he continued, still holding his I-am-gonna-kill-your-whole-family-right-after-this-drink stare.
In my time at the Score, I have somehow managed to become their personal messaih for covering empty stadiums. Not for me are your packed pubs and crowd-surfable fests. Me, I specialize in going to those gigs where there’s only the sound systems guys and a couple of dogs snoozing sleepily about empty seats. Saturday at Kyra was therefore, not surprising (minus the dogs). But since the three of us made up twenty-seven percent of their audience, we got a very exclusive interview.
The trio- Apurv Frank Vedantam Isaac, Yohan Marshall and Homi Rustumji (who, somehow inexplicably is known only as Lala) started playing their characteristic jazzy sound. Ominous, epical guitar riffs and discordant drum beats, strangely reminescent of something Skeletor would play while thatching diabolical plans to bring Ruin and Destruction. It was quite brilliant. And that was just the sound check.
The band prides itself on its improv ability. “We basically have no idea what we’re doing onstage, but it’s seemed to have worked out so far,” said Lala, jubilantly. “A guitar riff is all about expressing what you are feeling at that exact point in time, why practice then?”
In that vein, they started off playing a song they describe as, “a whiney song for whiney boys.” The sound, which my friend calls, jazzy-bluesy whimsical rhapsodies was all improv, with insanely long drumrolls interspersed with randomly nice guitar solos.
The drummers family rolled in after a while, reducing our contribution to the total audience percentage to only eighteen, (says a lot about your journalistic integrity doesn’t it, when you arrive before the bands family?)
And they continued playing: their most recognisable song ‘Cheese’, another one called ‘Blues-Clues’ (I think), a stirring ode to the man himself- ‘Lala’, and an unnamed tune that they’ve apparently just composed- one song blending into another, jazz tumbling into blues butting into plain old rock n’ roll.
Now, the good thing about a The Family Cheese article is that I don’t have to think of any of the jokes, since they make all of them on-stage. To wit, “The Family Cheese plays to another packed stadium” proclaims Yohann very proudly. The other good thing is that you expose yourself to the possibility of surprises, like when two dudes from Something Relevant came onstage with a saxophone and a trumpet and started jamming.
And for the last twenty minutes, it was absolute mind-blowing, heart-stopping, sphincter-clenching brilliance.
But before I finish, a word of advise to you, the thirty people who will actually read this article: Go watch this band play. I do not care if you’re a justin beiber fan or a perpetually hyper metal-head, you are neither too hip nor too jaded to not enjoy three guys playing brilliant music and actually having fun on-stage.
Thanks to :
Sujala Reddy, for the photographs and for reminding me of Mulholland Dr.
Sonia Shekhar, for actually doing the interview and freezing to death on the way back.