Archive for July, 2010

31
Jul
10

Asheem Chakravarty

I am really ashamed that I read the news only recently.  It is a great loss for Indian music lovers. I can never forget the first time I heard an Indian Ocean album. I picked up this cassette from a rusty little corner in a Oak tree road store with little expectations.  Once I played it on my car stereo, I just got zapped. The fabulous rythm pumped by Asheem’s tabla interspersed with beautiful unique style of Sushmit’s guitar playing was magic. I kept listening to the cassette for a few years till it got worn out. I got inspired to learn tabla after hearing Asheem.

I saw them in concert twice – once in a large hall and second time in much smaller BBKing bar. Amazing performance. It was here that I noticed Asheem’s contribution to the band more closely. For the first time I saw someone playing tabla and singing at the same time. Mostly it is Rahul doing the singing, but then there were those special Asheem parts in their songs. His powerful voice and singing was unique. In the large hall concert, his mic stopped working and he still filled up the hall with his voice without the mic! Such was the might in his singing.

It is really hard to imagine an Indian Ocean concert without Asheem sitting on the right side with his drum assortment. He was the founding member of the band along with Ashmit. I can’t imagine how much his band will be missing him now, and really accolade their decision to move on and continue doing shows. Indian Ocean is the oldest Indian rock band and I am happy to see the saga continue. I wish them all the best and hope to catch them when they are in NYC.

We will miss you Asheem. RIP.

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18
Jul
10

Shankar Ehsaan Loy Rock New Jersey

Me and my wife go to all sort of concerts – small or large, desi or pardesi. This was one of the best we have seen so far. And I don’t think any desi concert can even come close to this one. It was simply mind-blowing. The iZod center engineers have to re-evaluate it’s structure tomorrow because SEL nearly brought it down!

Guys if you haven’t bought the tickets for one of the future shows, you got to get it. You will never forget this show. Shankar Mahadevan knows how to do a show. From the moment he entered, the crowd just went wild and it just got better and better and better. Add to this the sheer power belted out from Ehsaan’s guitar and the mesmerizing jazz droplets from Loy’s keyboard and you get pure magic. Together they make the very best performers of India.

Well I will not break the suspense for you by listing all the songs they played here, but they played all their hits – Pretty Woman, Maa, Kajrare, Kal Ho Na Ho, Rock On – they were all there and sung flawlessly by Shankar. Watching shankar sing is like watching Tendulkar when he is in full form. Each and every person in the audience was dancing and swooning to their songs. The  whole band came together really well. In addition to SEL,  here were two drummers, one dhol player, one congo player, bassist, a keyboardist and I think a backup guitarist. Shankar’s introduction of his team was a feat to watch in itself. Raman Mahadevan and Mahalaxmi Iyer sang a couple of songs really nice. Mahalaxmi sang Aaaj Ki Raat from Don (Also featured in Slumdog Millionaire). It was a pleasure to watch all of them doing a beautiful chorus for the song Rock and Roll Soniye – the blues overtones by both Loy and Ehsaan for this song were so pleasing.

The show ran like a finely oiled machine – no glitches. No mic volume issue. No mixing issues. Very well mixed and controlled. There was just a large screen in the center with some graphics. No dancers or any other distractions. Just pure exhilarating music filling up the entire space.

Richa Sharma’s section was rather week or should I say  disaster. I recommend the organizers to cut it to 1/4th or maybe eliminate it altogether. Her efforts to woo the public were sad and pathetic.

Shafqat Amanat Ali sang his songs and he was in top form. Khamaj, Yaman, Dum a Dum Mast Qalandar – it was all there. His band played very well and the extended solos played by his guitarist was terrific.

I actually feel very sad for all those people who went to see A R Rahman show hoping to hear songs from Rock On, Dil Chahta Hai, KANK,  Kal Ho Na Ho and Bunty Aur Babli ;-).

Overall, this is simply the best Indian performance I have seen. I would love to see SEL come back again in a couple of years and wish them all the best for the rest of the tour.

12
Jul
10

Some thoughts on upcoming shankar ehsaan loy concert

I am really excited by the upcoming concert in nj. I think it is going to be great. I have been watching some of their live stuff on YouTube and have a few requests to make.
1. Shankar please reduce your interaction with the crowd. Interaction involves the audience but I think you are taking it a bit far. Your constant interruptions sometimes gets screechy and annoying.
2. Let ehsaan play one or two extended solo interlude. Let lot play a jazz interlude.
3. Please check the sound in the farther sections of the auditorium too. For some reason the sound in Indian shows don’t cover the entire auditorium well. Lots of howling was there in a r Rahman concert too.
4. Please dont try to make the show extra grand. Play your songs well and I bet that’s going to please everyone. Hopefully those dancers you have hired will not be too much of a distraction. And I hope there are no announcers. Don’t know why all the shows in us must have dancers.

5. Lastly please record at least one show. You have at least one buyer of the dvd

Well that’s all and wish you all the best. I will be in the izod center show.