I don’t normally write about music, because I think I am not well-equipped to write about it. But inspired by my dear friend and fellow blogger M…..l and by the events of Friday, I am compelled to write this post about one of the delightful pleasures of life.
There was a rock concert scheduled near my home, yesterday (Friday) night, at a small amphitheatre. This beautiful and cute amphitheatre had somehow leapt into existence while I was sleeping. I didn’t even know that it existed, till I went there to see a play last week, though it is just five minutes walk from my home. The surprising thing was that it is next to a wonderful cafe, where I have been a few times (this cafe called the ‘Tryst Cafe’ has the best chocolate eclair that I have tasted in recent times. It also has the softest croissants around. You can find an article which raves about Tryst Cafe, here). This cute amphitheatre is actually out in the open, surrounded by a cafe, a clothing store, a home store and a furniture mart that one doesn’t even notice it – it just proves the old adage that when you want to hide something, leave it in the open and no one will notice it. Atleast I didn’t. When I did, it was one of the delightful surprises of life.
So, I went to this amphitheatre to listen to the concert. I haven’t been a rock concert recently (and to even concerts in general) and so was looking forward to it. The band which came to perform was called ‘Off the Record’ and was made up of young musicians. The lead singer Shakthi, had a rich voice with a wide range. It was awesome the way she effortlessly took her voice to a pitch which was high, ‘higher’ and ‘highest’ and then brought it back to ‘ground-level’ again. When I asked her after the concert how she did it so effortlessly, she said that she was a classical (Carnatic) music singer too. It is interesting, isn’t it, how talented people port their creative talent from one area to another. The lead guitarist, Vikram, joined in the singing occasionally, and played the guitar like a genius. I was hoping that the band would play Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ and he would extract the maximum out of his guitar, but unfortunately, the band didn’t play that song. The bass guitarist Satish played his role excellently and the drummer (forgot his name) played the drums like a genius and his competition, or rather his (musical) conversation with the lead guitarist, was a treat to watch. The band members poked fun at each other, goaded each other during the performance and seemed to enjoy each other’s company and success – an excellent display of teamwork and teamspirit.
The band played some popular numbers, some classics, some of my favourite songs and some songs of the Beatles – which was a big hit among the audience. They even played their own ‘modern rock’ version of the Beatles’ song ‘With a little help from my friends‘. Some of the other songs they played were ‘Ride Sally Ride‘ (Wilson Pickett), ‘I Shot the Sheriff‘ (Eric Clapton), ‘Black Velvet‘ (Alanah Myles), ‘Long Train Running‘ and ‘Good Love‘ (John Mayer). Interestingly, one of my favourite songs of the evening was ‘Another one bites the dust‘ (Queen), which I hadn’t heard before – odd, because it seems to be a big hit and is by Queen.
The band also sang compositions of their own and I liked all of them. My favourite out of their compositions was ‘Time machine’. I would love to post links to some of the original compositions of ‘Off the Record’ but I am not able to find them. If I do, I will post links to them in the near future.
One of the interesting things about the concert, was that the members of the band didn’t attempt to dance while singing – even though it was a rock concert – though they displayed a lot of energy on stage which looked like they were dancing. It was normal behaviour by an Indian rock band, and the audience probably didn’t notice it. But it is interesting for me to compare this with the behaviour of a Chinese rock band. (One might ask the question – why compare with a Chinese rock band? Why not with an American rock band? Or a British rock band? Or a Russian rock band? I know, I know 🙂 For simplicity sake, I will take a typical Chinese rock band as an example). In a typical Chinese rock band, if the lead singer is a lady, then sometimes she is probably more renowned for her dancing than her singing – it is an odd thing, I know, but that is the way it is. I knew the members of a Chinese rock band once, and sometimes during the break in-between the performance, I used to chat with the lead singer and the keyboard player. The lead singer was a beautiful lady, but her voice – in terms of its range and melodious quality – was average. But she tried to make it up by dancing on stage. Once during our conversation during interval-time, she confessed that she enjoyed dancing more than her singing! I also remember the Chinese government releasing a commemorative postage stamp for one of the leading Chinese women pop stars and how there was a lot of protest about it – many said that her singing was average and she was more popular for her dancing on stage and she didn’t deserve that honour. It is interesting isn’t it, how music manifests itself in different forms in different cultures – where in some cases the magic of the voice is supreme, while in others a physical expression of the song takes precedence?
Unfortunately, I didn’t carry my camera yesterday and so I couldn’t take any picture or video of the venue (Gatsby Village) or the concert. So, this post can only be a word-picture. I will remind myself to carry my camera next time. This amphitheatre is a good place to spend an evening with one’s family, friends and loved ones – sitting on the grass, enjoying the soft touch of the sea breeze which wafts through the palm trees, munching on a chocolate eclair or a cake and listening to some wonderful music. If you are passing through my city sometime, do let me know. I can take you here.
I have to say one more thing. After listening to the concert yesterday, I feel proud and jealous of the young generation today – for their talent and the way they showcase it, for their confidence and their fearlessness.