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article imageOp-Ed: First-time concert of indie rock at Kolkata

By Rajannya Lahiri     Aug 24, 2010 in Entertainment
Kolkata - Post its unquestioned popularity in the metropolitans of New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, the cultural genre of indie rock made its colourful debut in our metro today.
Contacted and put together by Mr K Venugopal Menon, a banker by profession and successful founder of IndyRocKol2010, a number of six independent bands, besides six individual performers, gave the listeners a rare feast in I-rock music. The sole organizer and taskmaster, the ambitious yet humble Menon offered no speeches, but pure young music to the packed up Sujata Devi Sriti Sadan from 11.00 to 15.00.
The logo for the rock festival was designed within a span of two days. A number of online negotiations over phones and e-mails did take place between Menon and the performers, but in Menon's words, "the offline conference at Garia was the best".
IndyRocKol2010 (name of event) is a group of growing I-rock enthusiasts who are strictly knit together by the passionate Menon. "As per circumstances, I have rebuked my performers badly; but have also pacified them when necessary," Menon recalls the pre-show days. He further says that working with young people who have opinions and differences of their own, actually added to his ultimate presentation of the festival. Social networking sites and school notice boards constituted the buzz mode. Needless to say, the first-of-its-kind concert in Kolkata was a sold-out one.
NYD guitarist loosens his tresses as unfurls the opening song of the band
NYD guitarist loosens his tresses as unfurls the opening song of the band
The concert kickstarted with a twenty-five-minute gig by Color Bridge, a Latin Funk band. Long Train Running, by The Doobie Brothers, was their opening song. This was followed up with three more rock songs, including another by The Doobie Brothers and the 1980 song, James Brown. Ranya Mitra, lead vocalist and not even a first year graduate in college, demonstrated oodles of onstage attitude; once offstage, she transformed into a smiling young enthusiast, saying that it was her debut with Color Bridge. Asked if she felt herself a star, Mitra replied, "I have a long way to go." She introduced to the audience the guitarists and the drummer, addressing each one with an affectionate "da". During their routine, Color Bridge members apparently were well into the music - and dragged the listeners into it alongwith! This gig was ensued by a solo performance by Indranil in the U2 song, With Or Without You. His steady, mellow voice was accompanied by a handsome and smiling guitarist.
Then Fusion band, Infinity, grabbed the stage. The hall being half-filled with fans of this band that had its previous gig at Someplace Else, Infinity commanded the maximum, tangible audience response. Their twenty-five-minute routine was commenced with Carnival Of Rust by Poets Of The Fall. With the singer emerging from the audience, the youthful band posed in great energy and alacrity. Infinity got down to being real Indian and real independent with their renditions of Indian Ocean's Bhebe Dekhechho Ki and their own classical composition, Redefine. Compact and impactful as the performance was, the band possessed an earthy, Indie touch to their creations (they even had a tabla-dugi apparatus to accompany) which was but unique. Mayukh Ghosh, the gritty leader and eleventh standard student, wanted to tell his fans and listeners, "To redefine culture is for what we have created Infinity. I am not a big fan of metal, but I do respect all forms of music. What I learnt from this show will I incorporate in my future gigs." Infinity fans could not agree any better.
Then emerged Menon himself with a couple of songs: I'm A Flirt (self-written and -composed) to the accompaniment of a guitar, and When I Need You (Leo Sayer). His own creation had a light, high, and naughty deal about it that the audience relished.
Color Bridge vocalist Ranya Mitra at work
Color Bridge vocalist Ranya Mitra at work
Then up came a thirty-minute piece by heavy metal grunge band, Scared Of Silence. True to its name, SOS spared not a moment of silence with their heartwarming and classic renditions of pure and pulsating metal. They sang their own compositions, Pain Tells Me I'm Alive and Kill Switch Engage, with an attitude that seemed to have shot straight out of the bosom of the mother earth. One of the starriest bands of IndyrocKol2010, the three-member boy-band (Indranil being a part of it) proved a group of sweet and smiling interviewees offstage. The factor to grab was that SOS was only fifteen days old. Yet, the tracks have been composed by the school-going boys within seven days, because they had previously a show to give at Someplace Else. "The secret to our music and to our business is friendship: we are friends first, and the rest of it all follows," they state sincerely. For them, music is the prime like, followed by girls. Then Ranya Mitra (vocals) and Saikat (acoustics) joined hands to render Sir Elton John's Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. Mitra's commanding, emotive voice bagged pin-drop silence in the auditorium. Saikat's solo rendition of The Beatles' Blackbird received incessant applause. "I simply love performing with Sambo (Saikat)!" Mitra was caught spilling offstage.
Not Yet Decided, alternative rock metal band, consumed the next twenty minutes. True to their chosen genre, NYD struck hard with the listeners with their expressive, indicative gestures onstage. After a rendition of Downfall by Trust Company, NYD turned to originals: Walk Away; Deny Me which they described as a twisted love song; and Don't Try This At Home. NYD's powerful message was to support original music. Kabya Ghosh, the leader, organizer, and vocalist, describes his young self as an undergrounder. "We are the least in concern with politics and current affairs and the likes. What we want to communicate through our music is our platter of personal experiences. We have no anger, no pain as seen so often in the rest of today's bands. We have only mirth and joy to offer, and what is more, it is practical joy we are talking about,“ said Kabya. Maybe, this unique attitude is what sets NYD apart. Besides, they claim to seldom get into quarrels, said Kabya. Next, Sourav Banerjee's own acoustic compositions (Arekti Premer Gaan and Ei To Jibon) were soft and playful; followed by Samik Bhattacharya's matchless rendition of Home by Daughtry (he played on the guitar while another played the drums).
Menon enthralls his listeners with his own renditions
Menon enthralls his listeners with his own renditions
The final band to present a rap metal routine was Turnkey. Change, their original, set the insides jumping. The shy and handsome Somraj Ganguly talked of their being a new line-up, only three months old. "Our music, as well as our name, comes straight from the heart," he said confidently. IndyRocKol2010 was of course concluded with the national anthem and Ranya Mitra on the mic.
What was common to all the musicians was that they all were extremely young: from high school across secondary school to first year of college. IndyRocKol2010 provided a strong platform for such passionate and talented bands to host their creations in I-rock, a highly original genre that is slowly coming of age in our metropolitan. Menon's efforts were remarkable. His sincerity was well demonstrated when he expressed that he wanted to highlight, or be partial to, no particular musician, but wanted to hold up every one to present a colourful picture of I-rock to the people of Kolkata. He was found to be cheering and clapping brightly during each gig; just as every band seemed to become an ardent fan and rocker during other band performances. All the young musicians were eager for conversation and, inspite of the attitude that set the stage rocking, were impressively down-to-earth offstage.
Menon was discovered saying, "One dream is over; and we now grow up to the next. To continue dreaming is the most important part." Of what he learnt from the event, he said, "I keep learning even at my age! My mantra is this: plan, do, review, and look. I did have to face a number of such serious troubles as which might have put an end to IndyRocKol2010 after all; but I held on and succeeded."
Menon's upcoming dreams include a huger event at Salt Lake Stadium on this year's 24-10 where he was working hard to get nothing lesser than three-hundred bands to sing the Vande Mataram together.
The quintessential tabla-dugi apparatus of infinity
The quintessential tabla-dugi apparatus of infinity
A pianist by training  Infinity leader Mayukh Ghosh backs his band up with his skills at the synthes...
A pianist by training, Infinity leader Mayukh Ghosh backs his band up with his skills at the synthesizer
Turnkey gears up for a memorable presentation
Turnkey gears up for a memorable presentation
Indranil  lead vocalist of SOS  steals the show with his transcendental vocals
Indranil, lead vocalist of SOS, steals the show with his transcendental vocals
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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