A good reason to frequent pubs in Bangalore is a decent chance to get your photograph published on Page 3. Well, if that is not one of your priorities, there are a few genuine reasons like Kryptos, Thermal and Quarter, Rajiv and the Wolf packs, Galeez Gurus, Beat Gurus and
Eastern Fare. For all those who follow music on the internet, no points for guessing that I am talking about Bangalore’s bands, and for all those rock virgins out there, the names I just mentioned earlier are all stars of the western music scene in Bangalore. My fixation on rock music began and developed the more I frequented these music hubs and Eastern Fare has clearly emerged as my favorites. So when my friend from the digital world, Pramathesh requested me to share my experiences of some of Eastern Fare’s live gigs, for the upcoming issue of his e-zine Fried Eye, I just had one thing to say “I’d be happy to”.
I reached ‘Olio – the Lounge Mix’, one of the best pubs in Bangalore, on that wintry Saturday evening to find the venue bustling with music aficionados. Taking a seat over the bar counter, my curious eyes made a quick scan of the venue. The interiors were impressive, oil paintings of Lennon, montages of other Rock and Roll Gods like Elvis and Jimmy Hendrix embellished the walls. A bunch of yuppies sipped cocktails and mock-tails, flaunting their smart phones and arm candies, the former mostly beating the latter in looks. I bit into my “on the house” starter and took a sip of coke (it’s a pity I am a veggie and a non drinker, because the food and drinks were free for someone who could pose well as a music journalist).
Eastern Fare took over the stage with Siddharth Tanti (an Assam Engineering College alumni) voicing “Wait for Sleep” by Dream Theater. A mellow start for a rock and roll gig, I thought, but the dude sure knew what the crowd wanted, because moments later, I saw the people leaving their yummy food and fine wine behind to get a closer look at the band. The show soon picked up pace as Eastern Fare dished out “Wine, Women and Song” by White Snake. The December chill was nowhere to be felt with people flocking in to jam along with the band. My cherished corner over the bar too turned into an overcrowded barn and I had to stretch my neck far and long like a giraffe to get a peek at Eastern Fare while humming along to covers like “Proud Mary” by CCR, “Cocaine” and “Layla” by Eric Clapton, “Time” by Pink Floyd and “All Along the Watch Tower” by Jimi Hendrix. I was not sure if the coke went straight to my head or was it the spur of the moment, that I sang and screamed “Have you ever seen the rain” in my ultrasonic voice (I am not the singer type, if you must know). Watching Jim (Jim Ankan Deka is a noted musician from Assam known for his efforts in western music education in Bangalore) passionately caressing his acoustic ovation over “Sweet Home Alabama” was quite a treat. Percussionist Sachin Banandur too did a tremendous job with his Djembe (although I never knew that a Djembe could actually be a part of a rock show). Suchin Ravi and Anand Pilakkat too kept the rhythm with their respective guitar and keys and bass. I really missed Faheeda, the Bahrain born singer, who was earlier the lead female vocalist of the band, before she went back to her country.
Another two hours of adrenaline rush, full on retro music followed till we could scream or sing no more. The crowd was exhilarated and undoubtedly craved for more but we knew we had to call it a night, thanks to the 11 PM curfew for pubs in Bangalore. I, for one, felt elevated, and had it not been for that stupid scene like Cinderella’s mid night bell, I would have asked Eastern Fare to go on and on. I had previously witnessed Rajiv and the Wolf
packs perform live at Kyra Theather, Galeez Gurus opening for Mr Big and I even played the Djembe with Beat Gurus (well, they were kind enough to let me hold the instrument once, that’s my extent of playing) and seen video of Thermal and a Quarter on Youtube. I had enjoyed those experiences in equal measures, but this particular gig was sincerely something different. It takes the power of genuinely good music and powerhouse performance to make people ignore their beer cans and hover all over musicians. There are some bands who sound great in the records, and there are some who prove it live. Eastern Fare sure has what it takes to mesmerize crowds. As for my answer to Pramathesh’s question, “Although my voice is still a bit hoarse from the screaming, you bet your a**, I enjoyed it like hell”. \m/
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