No Era; Rajeev’s Wolfpack; Retronome

WELL it’s been a week filled with cover songs – a pleasurable week of Pink Floyd, Toto, Grateful Dead, U2, Rolling Stones, ABBA among many other bands…the pop pantheon was plumbed, re-imagined and revived with gusto. Some ridiculously good solos were played and some highly inventive revisions improved the standards.  And I embarrassed myself several times asking “what’s this?” about classic songs that any other self-respecting music writer would know.  In my own defense I think classic rock has been like the…sonic wallpaper of my life to the extent that I rarely differentiate between this and that unless I’m really attracted to a song for some reason.  Also, and this is something I’m quite curious about, there are some classic and older bands that are quite popular here that are not as much – or not at all – popular in the States   There’s something quite fascinating about the archeology of popular music in particular places – like, why this band, here, now, and not another?  Why Toto and not Chicago, for example?  U2 and not Coldplay?  Questions to ponder further.

No Era at Kyra

So No Era played at Kyra Tuesday night, and we – me and several other presumably cricket-obtuse people – were there to see them. No Era is a retooled lineup and the frontman, Noel D’Gama, has been playing since the 70’s, while his guitarist, drummer and bassist are all in their twenties.  This band was suuuuuper laid-back, and what with their laconic (I mean that in the very best way) stage presence, mellow vocals and some intricate guitar lines they occasionally reminded me of the Grateful Dead (not just when they were covering the Grateful Dead)…but like this one live album I have on vinyl that’s basically one long continuous song and is really good to listen to at twilight after a day-long barbeque with friends and everything is winding down and it’s just mid-summer. HERE’S a video of No Era.

I might seem like I’m kind of a groupie of certain bands because I post about them a lot and actually it’s true that I have been focusing on a few bands specifically – they’re bands that fall into the four or five genres I’m focusing my research on: metal bands, cover bands, fusion bands, what I’m thinking of as “experimental” bands, and then classic-bluesy bands.   And then there is the aspect of ethnographic research that is dictated by necessity and opportunity – some bands play more often, or publicize more widely, or the venue is familiar and close to home.  Recently I’ve been looking at cover songs – and the bands who play them – quite closely.  Next week I’m going to try to see a lot of newer bands at some of the open mic-type gigs that happen around the city.

Anyway, Rajeev’s Wolfpack played at Kyra on Wednesday.  This is their fourth (I think?)  show and the last one they’re playing for a while, I guess, or that’s what I heard.  It was intriguing to see the changes from their first to their fourth shows.  There were huge differences, basically – songs were more filled in, Arjun had some other-worldy solos and intros and generally everything was tight and meshed amazingly.  Avril Stormy Unger sang on one of Rajeev’s original songs and it was a sublime addition to the song. HERE’S a video. ***EDIT*** And I’ve done it again! Apparently that’s a Robert Plant song and not Rajeev’s.  Haha, I’m some ethnomusicologist.

Retronome at Hard Rock Cafe

Retronome played at Hard Rock Cafe last night and it was packed!  And really fun!  The cricket match was playing on a big screen simultaneously but it didn’t seem to distract people from the band…or else people were just multitasking well.  Retronome is a another band, like Parousia, who are just so solid and enjoyable to to watch – the crowd sings along to favorite tunes and the whole experience of going to the show is like being taken on a merry journey. HERE’S a video. And HERE’S another.

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Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

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