Monday, 28 May 2007

"Acoustic Jams", what went down...

Last evening I headed down to Sugar (the new bar above H2O) for the acoustic gig organised by Yes FM. It was a gig that was different in ways, yet plainly stereotypical in others.
It was great to see Yes FM get in on the act in a market usually dominated by TNL, gig hosting wise. Entrance was by invite only, which was great cause there was no cost involved, and the show was scheduled to kick off at the sundown hour of 6; a nice change from what we've come to expect of such gigs which generally start late. Early start meant early finish; perfect for when monday blues are what's left to expect.
The show actually got going at 6pm Sri Lanka Standard Time (note to reader: generally when this is used expect a delayed start. This time please add 30 minutes to the given time) which wasn't that bad. The crowd was trickling in at that time and there was plenty of space to walk around. USB (Usually Sounds Better) played a few great covers to start things off. Ben Harper's version of Sexual Healing was nicely pulled off. This was followed by a mediocre Cynosure. The band has potential, but a lack of creativity amongst their ranks has ensnared upon them the curse of predictability. They pick obviously hacked songs that have been played over and over again and play em as close to the original as possible. I'm sorry but I don't have much respect for such musicians.
Next up was Ranga accompanied by Shafi. Seemed like they hadn't practiced much, which resulted in a so-so performance. Soul Skinner were good, the first band to actually play an original on the night. They are lucky to have amongst their ranks too amazing guitarists who suddenly spring out into dazzling solos.
Azlan took the stage next with his 12 string accompanied by Joel on bass and a bloody amazing lead guitarist. I haven't the foggiest what his name is but I wish I knew. He's the guy who played lead for the soloists at TNL Onstage, as well as at Simplicity. Now you know who he is don't you?:) So anyway, wow this band was nothing short of entertainment! They got the crowd going really well. Again it was all covers, which was slightly disappointing, but done differently so Yay. The highlights of their performance for me were their cover of "What goes around comes around" (JT), when the whole crowd started singing "Time of your life" together, and finally the scintillating and mezmerising leads! This guy has the most humble look on his face when he plays the most riveting lead parts, as if to say that he is too shy to handle everyone's awe inspired appreciation. Top marks.
It was plainly too obvious that everyone was waiting to catch a glimpse of the ever elusive Hollow Point Halo. Ranil, Marsh and Roshan took the stage carrying the burden of everyone's expectations. They started strong with a track that I hadn't heard from them before. This was followed by "Lost Vegas Star", which was nothing short of amazing. Having heard them play the same song at Simplicity, I think they've improved on greatness and achieved what they played yesterday. Next up was "Sacred Ordinary", one of my favourite HPH songs. I can't understand why they've taken it off their website. Finally, and to meet the anticipation of the masses, they belted out their rendition of TOOL's "the pot". Special mention must be made of the pint-sized bassist who matched Ranil's brilliance, off-beat for off-beat.
Having stood for 3 and a half hours straight for lack of seating, my knees couldn't handle another copycat cover and walked out while Jada performed. However, I heard from a reliable source that Shaun (formerly from Jacob's Ladder) had rocked the house towards the end.
All in all, great show. However, I was disappointed with the choice of venue. Sugar is no doubt a great bar. But that's just it, it's a bar, not a live music venue. The stage is set in an awkward angle, most of it is blocked by the imposing bar which looms a few feet away and directly infront of it. Add to that the looming speakers being placed right infront of stage covering half the band, and 80% of the crowd could not see who was playing. Luckily I went and stood my frame right infront, making sure that the remaining 20% had to crane over my shoulders to get a peak. Selfish? damn straight!
Now, what i'd like to see is a great gig, but this time with music the way it's meant to be. Enough of the acoustics, bring on the big guns!

Sunday, 27 May 2007

I love the country, I hate the place.

Recently, in the course of conversation I asked a foreigner what he thought of Sri Lanka. He replied "I love the country, I hate the place". I can't remember who the man was, but these words are etched in my mind and eerily haunt me.

When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that Sri Lanka is no doubt a country to love, and for all the right reasons too, but then it's such a difficult place to live in for many more reasons than one. You know what? He could not have been more spot on.

Everyone knows we live on a gold mine of opportunity. But everyone has known that for the last 50 years. We can keep blaming the war, but that's not just it. I have my own reasons as to why we are what we are. They centre mainly around you and I and everyone else. Instead of digging out the gold, we've done well to take out the rocks and then gloat over our accomplishments, sit back over a nice rice and curry, and fatten ourselves just before dozing off for our afternoon siesta.

Living life here is a struggle, and the people, our people, don't make it any easier. To me, the mentality of the public is the main reason for our shortfall, and we don't seem to know how to cut our losses. I'm limiting myself to a few things that irk me as I don't want to be typing this post till stupid-o-clock in the morning 3 days from now.

I can't stand the fact that we lack pro activeness. Ok granted we're not go getters by nature and we love to blame it partly on our island culture, but that's a load of bollocks. What i'm talking about here is we'd rather sit back and sip our plain tea if we can have someone else do the dirty work for us. To use simple examples, how many times have you felt like you wanted a drink but you were too lazy to go to the fridge so you shouted for someone else to get you one? If you wanted something from a store, how many times have you asked someone to get it for you on their way, never wanting to go out of your way to get what you need? It's frustrating to see people just sit and ask others to do their dirty work. It's even more frustrating when the people who help you don't get their due share. Peons, drivers and maids come cheap but are also used like cheap whores. Paid almost next to nothing and then treated like dirt, just so that we wouldn't have to sweat that extra drop to fulfil our very own needs. If only we were just that much more proactive in our own lives, we'd frustrate ourselves and others less, which can only be a good thing.

It's a dog eat dog world out there, and Sri Lankans are real bitches. We're marketed as a friendly nation, but how much of that is true? We wouldn't give the time of day to others with a smile on our face, let alone their right of way. We couldn't care much for the success of others. A simple compliment is something you have to slave for. Respect is never heard of, especially from the top of the social ladder towards the bottom since everyone expects the smaller folk to kiss their bums with the wettest of lips at every turn. We'd always be the first to talk shit about others, always looking for misgivings rather than achievements. "my god do you know what that girl is doing?", "that bugger is making so much money, what an arse hole", "do you know that she has put on so much of weight?". If only we'd be nicer to people, they'd be nicer to us. But then again, us being as un-proactive as we are, we're always waiting for the other to make the first move eh? A little humility would go a long way. But that's too much to ask. A little respect, well, that's unheard of.

Sri Lanka is beautiful. It's home. But it's increasingly frustrating to live here and I blame the people. Sri Lanka has the potential to be great. But we, as it's people, just have no direction. I love my country, I just hate the place.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Bassist Anyone?

Bassist wanted for an alternative band. Preferably someone who can slap bass and also who has fast fingers. Even if you can't that's fine:) Influences include Pearj Jam, Dave Matthews, Gin Blossoms, Incubus, Alice in Chains, Muse, The Wallflowers, Goo Goo Dolls, etc etc. The band plays mainly originals with a few covers thrown in.

Whatever your capabilities, we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here with your contact details or email

Thursday, 10 May 2007

"i'm sorry for when i have fallen short..."

Tony Blair announced his resignation today in front of 250 party activists in his constituency. 27th June will be the day he steps down. A little over 10 years in power of the United Kingdom.

Of everything that happened over the last 10 years he will, unfortunately, be remembered for being the British Prime Minister who kissed the arse of American Idol (pls note sarcasm) Dubliya. It's a real pity that everything else that he achieved over the last 10 years would be overshadowed by that one decision he made.

To me he is a great leader. One that actually stood by the choices he made. One that stood up tall to the strongest winds. One that could still win elections when everyone had written him off. One that saw many an opposition stand up to him and fail. More importantly, one that could apologise for not being perfect.

I've got nothing but respect for him.

Maybe in his retirement we can persuade him to conduct "winning elections for dummies" - crash course to election success.

In other news, blowjobs lead to throat cancer. Eat your 5-a-day vegies boys.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Exam Baila?!

mai, juni, juli kaale
magul wadi lu,
ey kaaleta mey loke dhan
thavath ledak lu,

uthsava kal athurin
thavath jaramarayak,
aiyo, budu ammo! mey
vibhaga kadayak!

umbe mey exam ekata hondata
paadam karapang,
kivwa ne appachchi
sarama andina gaman.

paadam kalath mokuth
hithe hitinne na!
nidhaganna puluwan kota
pothak balanna ba!

"vibhaga liyana kota
copy karanna ba bung",
ehenang invigilator sir
ugannala deepang!

vibhaga liyala kollo
katadha hari giye,
gedara indang ice gahanna
niyama jeewithe!

(the author is suffering from extreme insanity induced by the sri lankan examination system. apologies.)