hindi zombie movies and brass knuckles

OH BLOG, how neglected you are.  I’m winding down here – I’m leaving India in three weeks – and blogging is low on the list of finishing-up type things I have to do, but I wanted to post about some of the stuff I’ve done in the last couple of weeks.

Parachute XVI at Hard Rock Cafe Hyderabad

I just got back to Bangalore from Hyderabad and Mumbai – I went with the band Parachute XVI to Hyderabad where they played HRC and were great, as usual, although I was in a near catatonic state of tiredness that night, and was unfortunately photographed by some nightlife website looking as though I had come back from the dead to attend the show.  I’d say the band was valiant in the face of the somewhat stifling atmosphere of HRC.  The club does this thing where they send around a score card to rate the band as the band is playing which is TRULY THE LAMEST THING IN THE WORLD (even though Parachute, I gleaned, rated quite highly). I’d like to rate you, Hard Rock Cafe, how about.  On a scale of 1 to 10 for distasteful corporate machination and sheer plastic opposite-of-rock-music-spirit you rate a 9.5.  You get the .5 because you pay the bands at least.

eating dinner in mumbai with my new favorite book

From Hyderabad I went on alone to Mumbai to do some interviews and see some shows, but mostly got caught up in being a tourist in that weird, beautiful, carnivalesque city…I went to art galleries, ate fancy meals and drank champagne, traipsed around the waterfront, shopped in Chor Bazaar where I bought a poster of an eighties Hindi zombie movie and some “antique” brass knuckles for the boyfriend and then got heat stroke and almost passed out on a pile of gramophones. An elderly gentleman had to fan me while a kid ran and got me water. Tres dramatic.  Anyway I was glad to get back to Bangalore and, frankly, am not totes convinced that Mumbai has anything over B’lore in terms of the live rock scene.  Save perhaps the later curfew and Blue Frog.

Speaking of zombie movies and brass knuckles, there was a killer show in Bangalore last night – rockabilly/punk band No Safe Word opened for Lounge Piranha at B Flat, one of my favorite venues. I’ve written about Lounge a bunch – so, briefly: solid set, faithful cadre of fans, and can’t beat them for consistency.  To me they will always be the band I think of first when I think of Bangalore indie rock.

No Safe Word is from Chennai and this was their second show (I think) in Bangalore. Karthik from Bicycle Days turned me onto them and I was instantly smitten.  I was raised on doo-wop and Sun records (fanatically collected by my dad) and was a teenage goth and those influences combined with a liking for punk and living in southern California (where rockabilly thrives) equals me being totally in love with No Safe Word.  And as my friend Priya noted, their band name is pretty unbeatable.

Musically they’re tight and have a sangfroid that’s alluring as hell.  Lead singer Kishore shambles about the stage with an edgy magnetism, a style that’s kind of… Iggy via Screamin’ Jay via Lux Interior (minus a fetish or two) with splashes of hardcore, sixties surf rock and torch song. It’s dark and sexy music reeking of the inimitable psychobilly stench – simultaneously perversely buttoned-up and feverishly emotive. But even better, their songs are enticingly catchy. And they played a cover of Billie Jean that made it ooze like it was abusing cough syrup.  HERE’S their Myspace page.  And HERE and HERE are vids of last night.  If you missed them yesterday No Safe Word will be playing again at Hard Rock on the 17th of June.

Published in: on June 5, 2010 at 7:08 am  Comments (5)