A Rocking weekend..!!!

What goes well with winter nights? Nothing better than Rock 'n' Roll and beer i feel. That almost sums up the last one week here at Bangalore. The city has been rocking hard the past weekend to the tune of all the musical heavyweights who descended for the Bangalore Habba, the yearly cultural festival of Bangalore. Music and dance events were happening at venues across the city and the best ones were obviously being staged at the palace grounds which literally became my home for about a week.

The Bangalore band 'Slain' was the star attraction of day one. The lead singer of the band had a pretty amazing voice and about 100 people who turned out for the show were treated to some of their own compositions. Some friend of the band were distributing business cards amongst the crowd while they performed. To my amazement, the card had no contact details, but the URL to their Myspace profile. I was impressed to see that social networking has reached all together new planes these days. I was but disappointed the next day to see that they had just one friend on their shabbily done profile page. Well begun is not always half done..!!

The second day saw Synapse, Lounge Piranha and Karma-6 performing one after the other. Synapse had a pretty tight set and did deliver the goods. Lounge Piranha stuck to their usual set of songs and they seemed to be a little less excited than usual about the gig. I could not watch Karma-6 but was eager to get back for the next day. Friday evening we had L Subramaniam and his son with their awesome carnatic classical performance. Then came the much awaited event of the day - Parikrama. They showed the crowd why they are still the best rock band in the country. The crowd was ecstatic when they belted out songs of Iron Maiden, Korn along with their own compositions. The violinist 'Imran Khan' soon became the crowd's favorite with his swift violin solos, especially 'Open Skies'. The temperature had dropped to 14-15 degree C, but the crowd warmed up to the music pretty quick. Kingfisher, one of the event sponsors had set up beer parlors in the ground which also fueled the enthusiasm.

Saturday started with Toufiq Quereshi and his band, followed by a performance by 'Bandish' - the hindi rock band from Mumbai. But the real attraction of the day was 'Pentagram'. If Parikrama rocked the day before, Pentagram stepped up the tempo yet another notch. This was the liveliest show I've ever been to. The band interacted with the crowd pretty well and soon everyone was jumping up and down to the beats, and the night ended with the powerful rendering of their popular composition 'Voices'. This song has become the theme song for the 'Anti-reservation' movement and the band made it a point to voice their opinion against reservations in this country. Good to see somebody using their mass influence for a good cause.

Sunday was 'THE' day, with 'America' playing live at the Palace Grounds. I was all thrilled from the moment I heard that they will be here. They are one of my favorite soft Rock bands of all time. Listen to 'Definitive America' and you will understand what I am talking about. Kadri Gopinath and Ronu Majumdar were having a Flute-Sax jugalbandi at one end of the ground the same time, but I chose to go with 'America'. Trust me they rocked...!!! The crowd turnout was poor but the band belted out many of their hit singles, to the delight of those were around. They also sang couple of songs from their upcoming album - their 21st release in fact...!!

Its not all over yet.. 'Scorpions' are playing here next sunday evening. I hope I will be able to stand the excitement..!!

The Scorpions in concert....

I am not quite sure why I did not write about the Scorpions concert so far. Anyway, better late than never. The Gods of rock(no offense to the other divine bands out there) visited Bangalore during the third week of December, the last stop of their 'Humanity' world tour. I am so glad that I did not miss the chance to watch them in concert, it was worth many times the money I spent on tickets..!!

The turnout was not great.. at least not as much as I expected in a music-aware city like Bangalore. Irrespective of the numbers, the atmosphere was electric at Palace grounds.. the excitement quite visible. The sound system was creating enough noise with those advertisements from sponsors of the event. Every time the opening tabs of 'Winds of Change' came up as filler between the ads, the crowd went crazy whistling and howling. As I reached the place pretty early, I had enough time to look around and watch people. It was good to see so many crazy metalheads at one place. Quite a few things caught my attention (apart from the beautiful babes around).

There was this guy with a broken leg, on crutches, barely able to walk but hanging on to a true friend's shoulders. He definitely deserves a 101 on Passion & enthusiasm..!! Then there was the 'Powerhorse' advertisement playing on one of the giant screens. It showed an empty glass with a bent straw in it. As some 'powerhorse' is poured into the glass, the straw slowly straightens.. good for an energy drink advertisement...right? To pass time, I decided to check out the food stalls inside the ground. Most of the stuff were heavily priced and I ended up buying just a coffee. While I was standing there, a boy and a girl came to pick up some snacks. The girl asked the price of some hot samosas and I could see the boy almost licking his lips in anticipation of the treat. The Samosas were priced at Rs. 25 for two. After hearing the price, the girl just turned around and left the place. The boy intercepted her and said 'Lets buy one plate, didi'. She gave him a stare and said "Are you mad? Two samosas for 25..? You will get 10 for that price outside". Better sense prevails...eh..? Girls always seem to have a firm grip on common sense.. unlike some guys like me and that boy..!!

About 30 minutes from the announced time, Klaus Meine finally came on stage with his band and said 'Namaste'. I cannot explain how I felt when I saw those guys up close personal on stage... not anymore just a voice I recognize. Without wasting much time the band started off with the classic 'Holiday'...."Let me take you far away.. you'd like a holiday..." You bet we all did...!!Reminded me of something that I read recently - "What do we need music to do? Take us to that wonderful land in our head and the place in our heart?" - A round-trip ticket is what the Scorpions offered.

For an hour and half the band enthralled all with their energetic performance. The playlist for the night was a mixture of old hits like 'Still Loving You', 'Under the same sun', 'The Zoo' and songs from their latest 'Humanity' album. The new numbers '123' and 'humanity' were standard scorpion stuff - beautiful melodic ballads with a heavy metal twist. The song delivery was so perfect that the live performance was as good as the studio recordings. Klaus Mein was busy throwing drum sticks & guitar picks into the crowd and would have thrown at least a hundred sticks during the night's show. Everyone frantically tried to grab one of them... a memorabilia from the concert..!!

But we were shocked when the band abruptly said 'Goodnight' and left the stage about an hour into the concert. But the despair soon turned into delight as James Kottak and Pawel took the stage for some solo performances. James unleashed the beast inside him onto the drums accompanied by some funny expressions and antics. Soon the rest of the band joined them to sing some of the crowd favorites - Winds of Change, Rock you like a Hurricane and Send me and Angel. And finally when they stopped everybody wanted a little more of it. But great things in life wont last long and it was time to carry the memories home.
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