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Rocking affair

The Rock Yatra featuring four live bands back-to-back was an event that will be remembered for long, writes SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

GHOTALA IS a place at one end of the world, absolutely sterile, has nothing but rocks. One would prefer staying away from such a forsaken place unless there is an awfully compelling reason. Saturday night's `Rock Yatra' - an end-to-end Rock show by four top bands of the city - was too forceful a deal to defend against.

A better part of the city was there. People who love music, who couldn't care less about the dark clouds threatening to chuck it down, nor the bumpy drive to this remote corner of the earth. It is needless to add nearly all got their due.

Native Tongue, The Band With No Name, Jekyll and Hyde and Young Blood left no stones (or rather, rocks) unturned to give what was the pure, undiluted form of Rock music. There was Grunge, Funk, Classic, Progressive, Alternate and all that. And the audience lapped it up with undiluted fluids, soaking up the music and tripping on the same. Sand Piper and Coca Cola were the chief sponsors of the event.

It all began with Young Blood. True to their name, the three-member band unleashed a metal mayhem on stage, characterised by sheer energy and powerful vocals. Typical of musicians who dish out only head-banging death metal, there was great synergy among the trio who played as though they are going to suck the soul right out of the body. Sepultura's War Territory was played just the way it is meant to be, as if the guys were on a bad acid trip.

About the category of their music... well, it is better not to say anything when there aren't too many nice things to say... so, one is done. Of course, one has heard all cannot appreciate death metal, that it requires a `special' ear and all that.

The Band With No Name harked back to the era of Classic Rock with Cream, Clapton, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Eagles and hits from Rainbow and The Doors.

Lead vocalist Satish was at his best and sounded remarkable. Debjeet on the lead guitar was thoroughly enjoying himself and lent commendable support, along with Paul on the rhythm, Varun on Bass and Ramesh on drums. What came out thus, was very listenable, easy-on-ears tracks that sang of love - lost and won, sex, lies and drugs.

TBWNN also had a female vocalist in Maya, who should have sung numbers other than Temple of the King or Hotel California. These are classical numbers that are better left alone than attempted with innovation. Any deviation is a disaster, which was what became. However, Maya's solo rendition of Cream's Strange Brew was refreshing.

TBWNN was an enjoyable experience (particularly after Young Blood) - soothing and reassuring that brought back recollections of the good ole' days. But the winner of the evening was clearly Ajay Shastri's newly formed four-member band, Jekyll and Hyde that made its first public appearance. The guys jammed as if they were genuinely having fun together, regaling the crowd with an eclectic repertoire that included hits like, Ozzy Osbourne's Mr. Crowley and Mama I'm coming home, and Van Halen's Ain't talking about love and Jump, among others.

J&H played music that reached the gut to elicit involuntary clapping following each number. An inspired musician that he is, Ajay's raw vocals searing through the rocky terrain even blew away the cover from the stage, and then it was left to the swaying trees to provide a backdrop to the concert.

The last band of the evening Native Tongue did not lose any time to ride on the up-tempo pulse set by J&H. Demonstrating great versatility, vocalist Baba even attempted something that looked like `rap'. It did not matter, as by then, the audience was totally immersed and lost in an affair they are bound to remember for long.

As for Ghotala, it continued to resonate with the sound of Rock till wee hours. May those rocks be full of that music until next time.


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