Saturday, September 29, 2007

DJ Whosane @ Dance Ganesha

If there is one festival which can bring Mumbai to a halt (other than celebrating the return of the victorious Indian National Cricket team from the T20 World Cup 07), it is the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Lord Ganesha is considered to be the Remover of Obstacles in Hindu Mythology and is one of the most widely worshiped gods in India.

This is my first year in Mumbai and it provided me with an opportunity to be part of the festival that defines Mumbai, in the form of the Dance Ganesha Festival @ Mahalaxmi. This festival is in its 9th year and is a favorite haunt of a lot of celebrities who want to party as well as celebrate the elephant god. This party happens on the last day of the festival when all Ganesha idols are immersed in the sea.

The party is hosted on top of a huge trailer truck which travels all the way from Mahalaxmi to Hajji Ali, with a DJ spinning his tracks and a 100 odd super exclusive invitees on the trailer partying and dancing. The DJ was Whosane and the whole experience can't be written about, only experienced. So without much ado lets move onto the videos of the event.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wear Clean Underwear @ Mondays

So lads and laddies, it is that time of the week again when Mundane Mondays follow Sizzling Sundays and you can't do anything about it. You spend the entire weekend partying and chilling out and the rude reality of your work/study targets strikes you the moment the alarm bell wakes you up on Monday. At that precise moment, your very existence seem pitiful and you want to go back to the comforts of your mother's womb. But since life must go on, you are best advised to go about it without much complaints. However, if you are still complaining I will give you some other worries to take your mind off your work/study assignments. They won't cure you of your Monday morning blues and might even make it worse but at least it is comforting to know that there are bigger problems in life than just your work load.

So think you can handle some more worrisome facts about the world around you? brace yourself for the ride

  • Mushrooms are a tasty and edible variety of fungi. There are however, poisonous varieties of fungi which look exactly like mushrooms. So if you are looking forward to that mushroom masala curry for lunch, just remember that the people who separate the non poisonous variety from the poisonous have the same eye for differentiating between the two like you. So please go ahead and enjoy your lunch

  • So your brain likes to escape to your 'happy place' every Monday, which is usually an exotic vacation island somewhere? And if you are lucky enough, you might even make the trip sometime in your life. But please remember that there are approximately 6912 living languages in the world today (last count) and in how many of them can you say, "Take my wallet, but please don't kill me!"? And since you know how nasty human beings are, you better start now

  • OK, you have learned quite a few languages and have even managed to book your holiday to some exotic place in the middle east and best of all you have been invited by a real Sheik to dine in his tent in the middle of the desert. What is the downside? You might be served a whole roast camel (no idea how they taste like and camels are BIG!)

  • So you have managed to evade the roast camel dinner complaining of stomach ache, but how do you avoid all the leftovers for God knows how many days? (I don't have the data on that)

  • So you take pride in being the eldest in your family and the command you have over everyone? Think again, coz scientific studies have shown that the youngest sibling in the family will outlive everyone else. So if you are not the youngest one, sorry mate.

  • So you have worked your ass off for the entire year, without learning new languages and postponing that trip to the middle east? This will most likely ensure a hefty raise that year. But it might not be so good. The universe has a limited life expectancy and scientists can only guess when it is going to die. And what if the universe decides to go bust on the very day you receive your new paycheck?

  • OK, the universe doesn't go kaput and you have your new salary. With inflation and increasing interest rates, you will realize that the additional money isn't helping much. In most cases cash outflow will overtake cash inflow by around 10% (more on that figure in a later blog). This is the reason why although your earnings go up every year, your savings doesn't

  • You have managed to save money despite everything. Congratulations! But as the great Murphy once said, needy relatives/friends are in direct proportion to your savings. So it is back to square one for you (OK this is not Murphy, but my own law. but it does make sense no?)

  • Even if all the above worries don't work for you, you still have to go to the loo every morning don't you? The world's most poisonous variety of frogs, the Golden Poison Frog, is only 5 cms in length, small enough to slip into most drainage pipes. What if they have invaded your home drainage system and are waiting for you to sit on the loo to jump out and bite your you-know-what?? This is my biggest personal Monday worry.
What is the point I am trying to make? well, just want to say that life is not that bad and a day in a week shouldn't stop you from living for the moment.

Ohh.. and yea if you are still wondering about the title of this post, studies have shown that vehicle drivers have a lot of Monday blues/rage and you are most likely to be hit by a speeding car on a Monday. The last thing you want to happen at that time is to be seen in dirty old underwear with bullet holes under your outer designer wear. If you die, it is not so embarrassing, but if you survive you will have to live all your life with the image of all the cute nurses in the hospital going giggly over your dirty underwear. If you have friends who are doctors, just listen to their 'funny' stories and you will know what I am saying.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

BMW Car Art @ Mumbai

A BMW is a piece of art in itself and so when you have renowned artists using these beauties as their canvas, the result can be pure brilliance. This, in brief is the concept behind the acclaimed BMW Car Art Collection

It all started in 1975 when auctioneer and racing driver Herve' Polain, in an attempt to make his BMW 3.0CSL stand out asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to alter its appearance. The result was so breathtaking that BMW decided to continue the experiment and so you had artists like Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol doing up BMW production cars with their artwork.

Since BMW is trying to enter the Indian market in a big way, it made sense to showcase these babies to car lovers here. This was the intention behind displaying two of the most popular Art Cars at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai from the 7th-16th of September 07. The cars in display were the ones done by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

1977 BMW 320i Group 5 Racing Version by Roy Lichtenstein (1977)
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) is considered to be one of the founders of American pop art. His early works range from cubism to expressionalism and by 1961 he started creating his pop art paintings. It was followed by caricatures of the "American way of life". Roy spent a lot of his life in New York

For this project, Roy wanted the lines he painted to be a depiction of the road showing the car where to go. In his own words, "The design also shows the countryside through which the car has traveled. One could call it an enumeration of everything a car experiences - only that this car reflects all of these things before actually being on a road". The oversized "Benday Dots" are characteristic of Lichtenstein's world famous paintings of comic strips.

Click on the thumbnails for a bigger view

1979 BMW M1 Group 4 Racing Version by Andy Warhol (1979)
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is the quintessence of pop art. He started out as a commercial artist and was successful in holding his own exhibition in New York as early as 1952. In 1956 his work was acknowledged with the coveted "Art Director's club Award". His legendary concept of "Factory" was created in 1962. Warhol also did a lot of celebrity portraits and paintings of trivial objects.

Being the maverick that Warhol was, he decided to paint the car from the start till the end unlike his predecessors who worked on a scaled model and then left it to assistants to paint the final model. Quoting Andy "I have tried to give a vivid depiction of speed. If the car is really fast, all contours and colors will become blurred"

Click on the thumbnails for a bigger view

Scaled models of the other BMW Art Cars

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ash Chandler @ AMD Barcelona Launch Mumbai

AMD recently unveiled its latest line of multi-core processors targeted chiefly towards enterprise solutions, code named Barcelona. With this launch, AMD hopes to recover lost grounds from Intel in the multi-core processor war.

The Mumbai launch happened at the ITC Grand Central in Parel and I had an invitation! (surprised? :P). The invitation mentioned cocktails followed by dinner, which was the chief attraction. Reached there by 8:30 PM and hooked up with quite a few people from the industry and all of us were there for one reason: food and drinks.

The event organizers, although had other ideas. They kept us hungry and thirsty for an extra 90 minutes with presentations by top honchos from AMD, Oracle, Novell and Red Hat, all trying to demonstrate how their products/services are Barcelona-ready and optimized. Damn! they could have codenamed their processor Bar-se-mat-lena instead of Barcelona!

However, fate did have a twist in the form of a short and sweet standup performance by desi actor and comedian Ash Chandler!! wow! for 10 minutes he did a really breezy act and made me forget the rats that were running inside my tum tum. His take on Intel was hilarious. Check it out

And yea, the food was not that bad!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Independence Rock XXII Finals - Day 2

If you are looking for Day 1 content, kindly click here

First of all a huge round of applause to Farhad Wadia for his never ending support to Indian Rock year after year and also to event organizers E18 for the wonderful show. I found the sound to be much better than the Iron Maiden concert in Bangalore

Reviewer: Jugal
Media: Sukamal

Dream Out Loud
The band that started the second day was Dream Out Loud. The band exhubed great energy on stage, and working on an all original set is not very easy with the rock prudes from Bombay yet they managed to get people jumping. Also the first band of the day has always been received with a strange sorta skepticism by most people. Their guitarist had people raving and he also did the tongue trick :D

Them Clones
Next up were the band that I was waiting to watch ever since I had seen them perform at Mosh Mania two years back: Them Clones. This is one of the only hands that has a no frills attitude. You don't see long hair, you don't see naked bassists and drummers, you don't see a vocalist sporting a beard or jumping around. Of course a similar attitude was shown by the Bangalore band Caesar's Palace on Day 1 as well but that I hadn't discovered till that day. Even the Them Clones vocalist could pass for the boy next door who had ended up in the wrong lane because he had come to watch a movie at Fun Republic. But the man commands the crowds, I've seen it before and I saw it again. Their guitarist again, no real frills, enjoys playing, his composure is calm even in the craziest of Morello solos. Yet, the band radiate energy. Was a great experience as they went on to do a great set which blended both their originals and their trademark famous covers: Disturbed's Stupify, RATM's Killing in the name of. Though my favourite's alwas gonna be their originals: My life & Zephyretta (though someone must check the pronounciation of this name for them).

Pin Drop Violence
PDV, The king of the mosh band. They started quite a terrific mosh but most fans were disappointed in their performance. There seemed to be something missing as most people were heard saying. I actually heard someone say, "They did a better gig at Razz." They had the moshers eating outta their hands. I had meanwhile walked back for a drink and was sitting on the sparse grass while this got done with. This is something I didn't do on Day 1.

Dinosaurs of Rock, don't really have much to say about them. I don't know the name of the guy who came up first but remember seeing him on Movers and Shakers performing with the Rubber Band. He did a spoof called Another Rides the Bus. Then came in the non-Dinosaur female vocalist Shazneen for the evening who looked like she had been possessed by Robert Plant, no complaints. Up next was Rajiv (once again my memory fails me) as he started off with Lynyrd Skynyrd and wrapped it up with a cover of Coming back to life. The best line he said on stage was to the bottle throwers, "Somethings never change." with reference to the changing music, changing crowds. Fahad Wadia came next, successfully had the crowds moving with a successful cover of Pink Floyd's Time and then terrible covers of Hoochie Koochie Man and some AC/DC number. Last up was the crowd's favourite Dinosaur and my least favourite: Gary Lawyer. I'm happy he didn't get to perform his original because the cops barged in. He started with Creed's My Sacrifice and then did The Doors' LA Woman. And well that wrapped another evening.

Though, I didn't feel as sated as I felt on Day 1, still no regrets over the 200 rupees spent. I think I was just happy, I got to see Them Clones perform again.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Independence Rock XXII Finals - Day 1

Brought to you by the dynamic duo, Jugality-Trashhead.

Review: Jugal mdY
Media: Sukamal

I know that the Headbangers and Moshers Union will kill me for this but the first day of the 22nd Independence Rock was the most fulfilling rock experience in the last 5 I-Rocks that I've attended in my little life. The last year I actually did not go to I Rock, didn't bother to see what the line-up was because I just presumed that it was all going to be Death Metal, Black Metal or something Metal with all the wannabe moshers running here and there - may be the bands are good at what they do, but I kinda need a break. Let me just get ahead with the bands now than keep ranting:

The event kicked off with Black, a Bombay based band deriving heavy influences of grunge. They were the last band to sound check so their sound checked OC (Newspaper boy, if I'm not mistaken) became their first song as the crowds had started to trickle in. The most memorable song that they performed was their cover of Pearl Jam's Black and it showed that it was their favourite song (as the vocalist had claimed.) The band had great timing and a terrific live presence, with the lead vocalist even jumping off the stage, off the barricade and moshing through the crowd as well.

The next were a band from Mizoram called Boomerang. The band came through as a little unlucky with the guitarist's strings snapping right at the first number which was RATM's Bulls on Parade. That took a bit of their time while the band just stood there on stage like lame ducks waiting for the string to be replaced. Despite the crowd shouting out to them, "Play some bass!" or "Do something!" Their music had the crowd raving and illiterates calling them Nepali. You know it's strangely funny but no matter how much we accuse the rest of the world, I realised how stupidly racist Indian youth is. Most of them couldn't understand and stand the fact that a band who they hated because of their physical appearance actually put up fucking good act. To add to that: Bombay is the most wannabe rock scene ever. Coming back to Boomerang, they've got this great reggae and blues sound to their rock and they probably gave me the most memorable extended live version of Killing in the name of. Their original "Who do you wanna be?" was once again nothing less than terrific. One wished that the glitch didn't happen and they had gotten to perform their whole set.

Half Step Down
Next up were Half Step Down, starting off on a very different sound from their predecessors. A very mixed influence was visible in their sound which for a while had me listening closely. But by the time they reached their third song, I was a fan. One of their originals "Overture to Outer Space" was a great number because of the piano solo prelude. I wish they had more live energy. Most of the band just stood there like mechanical dolls doing their thing. The guitarist had come pretty funkily dressed in a cowboy hat and three-fourths but all that attention drawn to him seemed like a waste.

After Burn
Following Half Step Down, was the worst band of the evening in my opinion. After Burn was the not-so-good band in the terrific line up. I think the problem lied with the fact that their vocalist was just not cut for the scene. The only good thing I could see coming from the vocalist was the cover of Pearl Jam's Animal. The rest of the band though sounded perfect. Their originals were the worst in the lot so far. They were very repetitive as individual songs by themselves, and almost all of them sounded the same to me at some level. Also, please someone tell the vocalist to NOT jump around so much if he is to go out of breath and stop singing.

Caeser's Palace
Caesar's Palace, I shall call them a brave band. Having guts to cover Tenacious D in front of a hostile wannabe rocker crowd is brave and courageous. Covering the song well and the moving on to do a lot of originals is another sign of bravery. Good bluesy sound to one of their songs had us foot tapping. Just like Boomerang and Half Step Down, CP also had beautiful change overs in the middle of their originals. Their originals went in all possible directions which was really impressive.

Well, by now the wannabe junta was all restless. Too much of good rock had happened for their taste and they were all confused, they were dying to run amok in the jungle and cause some heavy chaos. And much to their rescue was Scribe as they kicked off on the heaviness. I quite enjoyed the heaviness for a while more so because that would complete the whole balance and make this day the most fulfilling I Rock experience yet. But then after two songs when the vocalist presumed he owned the masses, he switched over to a track by Del Amitri and he lost the crowd. Fame is a fickle friend. All his fans in the mosh started cussing him the next second. Right in the middle of the Del Amitri track they switched to something heavier, quite sad actually, SELL OUTS! The bad news is Scribe won the event. Not that I was rooting for any one band in particular but still, no Scribe.

Parikrama Pro Act
No doubt, the Indian Rock sounds have matured and gone to greater heights. This is the first time, I was so tired and full that I wasn't looking forward to the headling act of the evening which was Parikrama (quite surprising). Well Parikrama came in and Nitin started with his trademark, we-love-yous and we-can't-wait-to-get-started, I was worried if everything was going to fall into the same pattern as the last three times that I'd seen them perform in Bombay and would they play the same ten songs as everytime. Thankfully, NO. Though I feel sad that they didn't play Coldplay's Yellow or Pink Floyd's Coming back to life but was a good show nonetheless. They played a whole lotta originals. The track they wrote for Frodo and Sam, "Am I dreaming?" was probably the best track of the evening. Open Skies, their instrumental had some great variations this time. Nothing went about as usual with Parikrama this time so I sighed, feeling happy that I didn't just go to the back when they arrived on stage.

That's it folks. A really nice evening of rock music. Will put up the review and media from the second night later today. Keep checking

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Danny Bhoy In The House...

After the inimitable Russell Peters, another desi stand up act hit Indian shores in the form of half Scottish-half Indian Danny Bhoy. The only difference is that unlike Russell's act, here you won't find any desi jokes other than the occasional reference. Instead, Indians are replaced with the French, Germans, English and Australians and their quirks are equally funny.

Danny is one of the most popular and promising talents to come out of Scotland and Prince Phillip after watching one of his shows commented, ".. You are really funny. You speak Scottish, but you look like a bloody Indian..". Don't know if that was a "funny" one liner or a racial slur. Anyway, coming back, Danny has been touring extensively and has been charming audiences across the globe with his funny one liners and mimicry of the quirks of various nationalities.

This was the first time Danny was performing in India at the St. Andrew's Auditorium in Bandra, Mumbai. Tickets are decently priced at 500, 1000 and 1500 Rupees. We opted for the 500 buck tickets (cheap Indians you see). The turnout was not enough to fill out the auditorium, but it was a good sporting crowd. Somehow I think having the show on weekdays had something to do with that. Show started at 8:30 PM and like all good stand up acts, Danny first engaged the audience to connect with them and also find potential targets for his jokes (another reason why you should buy the cheapest tickets and stay as far away from stand up comedians). It was followed by an hour of entertaining clever one liners and slapstick humor on the language and habits of nationalities, mostly done by mimicry. Like how "fruity" the English are, how "fun" the Germans are and how "logical" Australians are. The French, particularly formed the chief target for most/all of Danny Bhoy's jokes. His act on Australian survival tactics is quite funny. And yea, he does have his jokes on "stupid" Americans (it would have been shameful otherwise :P)

Overall a very entertaining evening and if you are reading this and you are in Mumbai, you should go and catch his performance today or tomorrow (5th or 6th September) at the St. Andrew's Auditorium. Tickets are available at the venue or you can make reservations by calling on +91-9833399339. He is not performing in any other cities.

Oh... forgot to mention, my lady friend found him quite cute, so all you ladies should give him a dekko..

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Independence Rock XXII Prelims 1

Bigger, Badder and Louder than ever before, I-rock finally goes national. 3 city preliminaries and a grand final at the Chitrakoot Stadium in Andheri on the 8th and 9th of September. Delhi and Bangalore preliminaries have been done with and it was the Mumbai leg last weekend at the Hard Rock Cafe and Razzberry Rhinoceros on Friday and Saturday respectively.

With a few friends I turned up at Hard Rock at around 7 PM just to make sure we get seats. Cover charges were 500 bucks per head which you could redeem inside for food and drinks. The line up for the evening consisted of 4 bands, out of which 1 band was going to make it to the national finals. After almost 2 hours of waiting, it finally started.

1. GrooveLab
First band to go up on stage. Their genre of music is funk rock with doses of punk pop. They played a mixture of originals and covers to good effect. They have been around for about a year and their original music is quite interesting, but they lack the tightness that comes with playing together regularly. As individual musicians they are good, but they seriously need to improve their tightness. Rhythm section was bearable with the credit going to Sapna behind the drums. Her style of drumming complemented the band's music perfectly. They have a lot of potential and they just need to keep working on creating more original music and improving their stage presence.
Rating: 2.5/5

2. Black
I first saw them perform 4 months back at the Atria Mall at a gaming event. I was quite impressed with the performance and the quality of their music. Their music is a throwback to the hard hitting music immortalized by the likes of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden with hints of classic rock of the 80's. They are quite a seasoned lot with a lot of things going for them. They got excellent musicians, tight rhythm sections, excellent songs and above all an excellent stage presence, led by frontman Shawn Peirera. They played a mostly original set with a perfect cover of Pearl Jam's Black! Way to go guys... keep it up
Rating: 4/5

3. Something Relevant
I have already reviewed them before on my blog. So it was good to see them back on stage and performing their jazz rock-blues-jam genre of original eclectic music. They are getting better with every performance. As expected, they delivered a set of original songs which made you feel that you are at some Jazz bar and not at the Hard Rock Cafe. The only sore point was that since this was a competition, they couldn't really connect with the crowd due to the lack of time. But overall it was a good performance, with their trademark songs and jam sessions.
Rating: 3.5/5

4. Red Cube
Nothing to write home about. They turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the evening. I had such high hopes from Red Cube, having heard so many good things about them. They turned out to be just about as good as your garage bands. They could have done so much, as some of the members of this band were part of pro bands like Bhayanak Maut. They dished out a typical fare of pop rock and Incubus songs which failed to engage and I won't even start on their stage presence which was as dead as a dodo. Overall, the weakest band of the evening.
Rating: 2/5

Farhad Wadia, the granddaddy of Indian rock and founder of I-rock, finally announced the winner of the evening and as expected, Black took away the honors.

Will bring you live footage from the finals. So keep watching this space!