Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Chakde Bangalore!

Underworked and underpaid, so when a free ticket came my way I wasn't one to say no. Took off on Friday to Bangalore, India, having convinced my manager to give me Monday off so that I had a nice long weekend of 4 days. It's been almost a year since I boarded a flight and I almost had forgotten how much I loved to fly. Travelling alone and finding myself sitting at BIA waiting for the boarding call, I quickly glanced around to check whether there were any RDs satisfying a kink for people watching, only soon to realize I was doing the same. Oh well.

So anyway an hour later I was in India. The last time I had been there was 8 years ago as a scrawny schoolboy on a (wait for it...ahem) cricket tour with the College junior team. At the time, I was rather proud of it and when people asked me where I was going, I'd turn my nose in the air and say "cricket tour" in a too-cool-for-school tone. Now I realize junior cricket tours are a dime a dozen. Egad! I digress.

So 8 years ago I was staying at the YMCA youth sports hostel, playing cricket on 4 of the 7 days we were there, having to tag along to saree shops with other kids' parents who were apparently coming as 'chaperones', much like the lot from the sports ministry who were planning on heading to japan to support our only athlete. So yes, 14 kids, 20 parents, a coach and 2 masters in charge did not help make the trip a delightful one. So yes, my impression of India was not a very good one.

8 years on I was stunned. People portray India to be a tough place to live in, and maybe it's true. But it's a great place to visit. The myth of the land is no myth at all on the faces of its people. Coming from Sri Lanka, I'm quite used to people dragging their feet. But in Bangalore, there was such a spring to their step. Brigade Road, which became my favourite hangout, reminded me of Oxford Street where you'd have people piling through each other while the biggest brands stare down upon them from their vantage points. Much like Oxford Street, people were laughing and chattering and walking with such purpose. It's greatly energetic and that energy is infectious.

I was introduced to this quaint little pub off Brigade Road named "Peckos" which is dark and mysterious and plays the best alt rock at just the right volume; not too loud to drown you out but not too soft for you to lose interest. The place has murals of the likes of Elvis Presley Jimi Hendrix on the walls and ceilings and what not. I hear the food is great there, but I didn't try it, although I can vouch for their lime soda. I could fall in love with a place like that. Maybe I have.

Just accross the street from Peckos is "Le Rock" where the preliminaries to Nokia I-Rock XXII were being held on Saturday night. Who am I to say no to a chance to see some bands. The show was kick started by After Burn, an outfit that was very grunge, very in-your-face and very damn good. The guitarist was fuckin kick arse! The next 2 bands were rather boring. I was told that one of them was the biggest band in Bangalore or something but it was a death metal band and there's only so much of a screaming grandmother with a sore throat i can take. But I must say, the musicians were great in all the bands. Sri Lanka has a long way to go, original music wise. But anyway, digressions apart, the last band was Caesar's Palace. By golly, I kid you not, they were magnificently incredibly awe inspiring. Comprising of an 18 year old drummer who is undoubtedly better than any drummer I have seen in Sri Lanka, a fatty on bass who, i'm sure, plays bass faster and with more precision than he would devour a plate of burgers, a fender strat clad guitarist who I'm told can play anything put before him and a super, yet down to earth, vocalist. Kishan, Kenny, Anurag and Unni certainly were not unknown to the crowd as I found myself in the midst of a swarm that knew all the words and all the breaks to all their songs. Simply scintillating. Reminded me a lot of Incubus. Great stuff

On Monday morning I headed to 'The Forum' to catch Ratatouille on the big screen. You wouldn't believe it, but at 9:30 in the morning i'm almost positive that at the cinema I saw as many teenagers you'd see in the whole of Sri Lanka! Ok maybe not that many. But too many to count surely! The movie itself was great too. Pixar has created an animation masterpiece! A must-watch.

So what struck me the most is the fact that young people in Bangalore are so lucky to have such a lively city. Although everything shuts down at 11:30pm as per state orders, until that time the city is still alive, the streets are full and the lights on. Colombo on the other hand is fast asleep by sunset, and please don't blame that on our island culture. I had a blast. 4 days was not long enough for me to get bored of Bangalore, but not short enough so that I'd miss the essentials. I shall write more about it as and when I remember. Pictures shall come up at some point too. It's definitely a place I'd visit again. But nehi diya tho?

Friday, 24 August 2007

Thriloka - Live

Probably the most talented band in Sri Lanka, Thriloka will be launching their 2nd album on Monday 27th August at Barefoot. Show starts at 7 pm and entrance is 500 bucks which includes a free CD. You certainly don't want to miss out on this feast.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

5 of them and I

Music to me is like (if you'd permit the expression) cocks to prostitutes; more the merrier. What floats my boat also changes on a day to day basis much like a new monk having second thoughts. So I don't know what RD was thinking when he tagged me to choose 5 albums i'd have on a desert island. 16 albums made my initial short list. Here they are in alphabetical order:

  • Counting Crows - August and Everything After
  • Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience
  • Damien Rice - O
  • Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up the Girl (the pirated one with 'Name' as a Bonus Track - only available in Sri Lanka - woo hoo!)
  • Incubus - Make Your Self
  • Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
  • Lifehouse - No Name Face
  • Live - Awake: The Best of Live
  • Matchbox 20 - Yourself or Someone Like You
  • Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York
  • Oasis - What's the story (Morning Glory)
  • Paolo Nutini - These Streets
  • Pearl Jam - Ten
  • Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
  • The Wallflowers - Bringing Down the Horse
  • Timbaland - Shock Value

I'm really struggling to narrow it down, but for the sake of fair play I will. But I will qualify my selection as something I did under duress. So considering the fact that i'll be stuck on a desert island, on my own, with just the albums, i'm going to have to choose them ones that are gonna keep me sane, although by the time i'm miraculously, and theatrically, rescued, i'll be sick of em. Here goes :

Gin Blossoms : New Miserable Experience - It's a Sri Lankan thing. Apart from the US, i'm almost sure the only other country The Gin Blossoms are so popular is in our very own. Some of their best music is on this album, ie. Hey Jealousy, Until I Fall Away, Allison Road and Found Out About You. This album can uplift my mood within seconds. There's this great energy about it and it's contagious. This'll already be in the discman when I wake up on a strange island.

Incubus : Make Your Self - This will be pounding in my ears when i'm building my tree hut, Robinson Crusoe Style. I often find my self analysing every groove, every off beat and every riff on this album. It's a musical masterpiece, at least in my opinion. It'll be like having a stock of ice cold Red Bull on the island. The smash hits Drive, Stellar, Pardon Me and The Warmth are all in here. Ever wondered where the catchy opening riff to TNL's Spinning Unrest was from? You guessed it.

Goo Goo Dolls - (Pirated) Dizzy Up the Girl - Ok, I'm sorry it's pirated and all, but Name is one of my fav tracks and it just adds a completely different twist to an already great album. Includes classics such as Iris, Broadway, Black Balloon and Slide. How can I say no to that? This is definitely coming with me.

Lifehouse - No Name Face - I fell in love with this album the first time I heard it. It's got such character to it and I find my moods changing along with each different song on it. I love every second of it From the infectious anthem Hanging By a Moment, to the mellow ballad Everything. This'll make me sad all alone on the island but it'll probably also give me hope. Tag, your in.

Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York - The sheer musical brilliance of the band finds me packing it away in my 5 CD carrier on my one way trip to the lonely island (although Pearl Jam gave it a tough fight for the last spot in my luggage). Nirvana has never been more convincing, more approachable, more real, or more sober. This session is undoubtedly legendary for the stark contrast it portrays of the band that changed the face of alternative music. Get in there.

All packed and ready to go! Well...not really... Why can't I take 16 albums?

Monday, 13 August 2007

Ass for youth?

Namal Rajapaksha has been photographed up and down the country playing the role of the incompetent dictator's benevolent son. I've seen pictures of him in the papers giving gifts to wounded soldiers and also playing rugby in Matale with some of the locals there in order to promote his programme, which is affiliated to his daddy's foresight (or lack of it), titled "Tharunayata Hetak". I came accross this group on Facebook (where else!) which is something like the group of supporters of this, dare i say, project. The title is priceless though.
"Tharunnayata hetak ( asspiration for youth)"
Need I say more?
Although I wonder whose ass perspires for youth once he tucks himself back at the University of Nottingham.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

The Mind-blowing KT Tunstall

Mixing some serious talent with a loop pedal, the gorgeous KT Tunstall turns out some amazing music. Check out this version of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. One not to miss.

Monday, 6 August 2007


Although I never did quite agree with the title for the evening, it turned out to be one hell of a gig! In typical Sri Lankan fashion, the gig got under way at 9:15, a good hour and a quarter late, but that was mainly due to the fact that the crowd was slow to trickle in. But, by the time it got going, with 350 people packed into the onyx (including RD - Nice to meet you mate) it was sure to be a good night.

Daddy kicked off the proceedings with a tight, 3 song set, which included their song "Mage Massina". HollowpointHalo followed with Black eyed lullaby, Pardon me (incubus), The Pot (Tool) and Lost Horizon Star. Playing an acoustic set, the line up included Marsh, Ranil, the lil Bass guy and a guy on congos that i'd never seen before. They were tight. They were good. But, to me at least, they lacked the oomph they generally generate.

Next up were us, 10 Second Rule. 'Twas our first gig together and we had a blast. But i'd like to hear what people in the audience thought so please comment:D

Anil was supported by some great musicians and pulled off a good set, which included music from his album "Last few pieces of April". He also did quite a good rendition of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars, which was well received.

I had been looking forward to getting a taste of Powercut Circus live and they did not fail to deliver. Picture funk mixed psychedelic melodies with an amazing drummer thrown in and some pretty interesting voice effects they were nothing short of different, if not entertaining. I love their compositions. I love how Shehan's bass gels with Dhinesh's beats. It's great! Can't wait to hear more from them.

When I think of Paranoid Earthling, I still think of them as the punk band that played a super cover of The Offspring's "the kids aren't alright" at the 80 Club. Back then their music was more punk, more grunge, and for the faint hearted, more listenable. However, they've taken a turn towards sounding extremely metal-ish. Even favourites such as 69 are sounding heavier than ever, at which point I had to get out of Onyx for some fresh air.

All in all, it was a great night for live music. Rumour has it that the next one is in Kandy.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Live tonight...

There's been a lot of hype about tonight's gig, which does not help calm my, already frazzled, nerves. This being at work is not help. Neither does it help that the closest guitar store does not have any G-strings, let alone E-strings, in stock when i desperately need one! (having broken a string last night at practices).

Well, all hitches aside, 10 Second Rule is finally about to hit the stage. But I like my blog title so I ain't changing it, although, technically at least, my search is over. I digress.

Excited? hell yeah! It's been 8 months since i've been on stage. it's been 4 years since I last played in SL, and that last time was also at Onyx (then known as MKOP). I digress again. Blame it on the nerves.

It's going to be a dive into the deep-end of a freezing pool to be playing alongside some of the biggest names in Sri Lanka, ie HPH, Paranoid Earthling, and, the soon to be famous, Powercut Circus. But it's a good challenge to take on.

See you all tonight!