31 March, 2014

Gig Review: Drumjam Circle

This wasn't exactly a gig in the true sense, but it was people playing music together, so it warrants the same respect. The Community Drum Jam is a pretty neat initiative that brings people together and collectively play drums. Spearheaded by Roberto Narain and Vasundhara Das, the initial cacophony went away and slowly had people settling into a groove. Eventually a little girl with her hula hoop danced to the tempo, which encouraged everyone else to dance, whistle and have a good time. Clearly music knows no boundaries. 

Do check out the next gig happening on April 20th. PS: You don't need to know to play the drums. just show up and let yourself go.




















30 March, 2014

Gig Review: Indie March at Counter Culture – Day 2

This evening’s line-up had three fabulous bands lined up – Lagori, Agam and Avial. All these three have made a niche space for themselves by choosing non-English based music and taking it to the masses.

Kicking off the evening’s proceedings was Lagori. Despite a broken foot, the vocalist let nothing hold him back and the band set the mood for an evening of high energy music. It was a packed house at counter culture with a dedicated fan-base of Lagori who knew almost all the songs and sung along. The band did a great job of interacting with the audience as well and being a part of the crowd. My only grouse with Lagori is that towards the end of their set they got a little off tune and lost timing in a few places, a problem I saw even at their previous gig. Here’s hoping experience takes care of that. But full marks for putting on a great show and setting the pace for things to come.

Lagori

Lagori

Lagori

Looking at the line-up, I felt Agam should have closed the evening and not come in second. And the show they put up proved my point. The audience managed to break the barricade between the stage and them – My Lord, I rest my case. I've seen Agam many times before, but today was just something else. Their song Rudra just had a different feel to it altogether, the drums, the audience hoarsely screaming along, the head banging, all gave me a possessed-by-Shiva-himself-musicgasm. Agam as usual were a tight unit and left everyone wanting more.

Agam

Agam

Agam

Agam


Agam

Agam

Agam

The final act for the evening was the alternative act from Kerela - Avial. My only exposure to Avial before this has been on YouTube. Since my Malayalam is terrible (read non-existent), I had a tough time getting a lot of the audience interactions. However, the support contingent seemed to get every word and interact with the band. That bit aside, I really enjoyed the music live. The volumes on the vocals were a bit low, that aside, Tony John is an intimidating figure that I wouldn't want to mess with.

Avial

Avial

Avial

Avial
Avial
The Indie March organized by Counter Culture is evidence that people in India will pay money to see some good independent non-Bollywood music live. It’s a joy to see a flourishing independent music scene and packed houses with people actually buying albums and supporting the local music scene. Kudos to Counter Culture for organizing this event. And a big shout-out to the bands! Keep on rocking guys!

26 March, 2014

Gig Review: Benny Dayal and Funktuation

Benny Dayal and his band from Chennai  - Funktuation performed at my office. It was a high energy show that consisted of Bollywood and Tamizh film songs. Benny Dayal was as always at his energetic best keeping the crowd going for almost 2 hours. The set list (especially the medleys) were well laid out. Although I was secretly hoping Karsh Kale and the NH7 All-stars collective showed up and began jamming together, the show was very entertaining right from the word go.

















24 March, 2014

Food Mood – Benjarong

On Sunday evening, a couple of friends and I decided to get adventurous and try some Thai food. The one place synonymous with good Thai cuisine in Bangalore is Benjarong. 

To quench our thirst, we ordered the Tangy Watermelon (basically watermelon juice with a slight citrus twist to it) and a Summer Cooler. The Summer Cooler was a lovely drink made of tender coconut water, but more intriguing was the presentation which was worthy of any A-star beach resort. Do give this a try.

Summer Cooler

Tangy Watermelon
While we waited for our starter to arrive, we were presented with an appetizer of Miang Kum. This is a traditional Thai snack which involves wrapping various ingredients (ginger,peanut, red chili,onion and more in a sweet sauce) in a leaf. Almost like the Indian Paan, Miang Kum was a wonderful appetizer that left us craving more. The only reason we probably stopped was because we didn't want to stuff ourselves.

Miang Kum
The starter we order was Gai Hor Baitaey – a signature dish of Benjarong which made by wrapping marinated chicken in Pandanus leaves. The outer layer has a nice herbal taste of the leaves while the inside has a nice tender chicken. While the chicken was simply brilliant all by itself, it was made much better by the honey based dip that was served along with it. I definitely recommend this to anyone heading to Benjarong.

Gai Hor Baitaey
We had 3 dishes in the main course. The first was Phad Keemao Woonsen, which was glass noodles mixed with scrambled eggs, bok choy and soya sauce. I don’t recollect trying glass noodles before; I wasn't particularly thrilled with the texture. I don’t believe I would try this again.

Phad Keemao Woonsen
The second dish in the main course was Khao Phad Bai Graprou. This was spicy fried rice topped with hot basil and wrapped in a really thin layer of egg. The rice was quintessentially Thai with spice hitting all the right places. This is probably the type of rice that could go with almost any Thai gravy.

Khao Phad Bai Graprou
No Thai meal is complete without a red sauce curry. The final dish was Phad Prik Khing Chicken. It was a superb spicy red gravy chicken that supplemented the rice very well and even made up for the lack of enthusiasm I had with the glass noodles.

Phad Prik Khing Chicken
We were too full to eat any more, but no respectable meal is complete without dessert. We chose to share a single serving of Sankhaya Fakthong which was coconut pumpkin custard topped with a scoop of coconut ice cream. Sadly, the dessert was a bit of a letdown for the evening. I wouldn't recommend you try it.

Sankhaya Fakthong
Benjarong is a nice place for the occasional Thai outing. The reason I say occasional is that the price is on the higher side for me, but I guess that’s the cost of a genuine Thai meal. The highlights of the evening were the Gai Hor Baitaey starter and the Miang Kum appetizer. A shout out to the waiters who were very knowledgeable about all the dishes; and waited patiently to serve us while I took pictures of the food.