India's very own Woodstock came calling at Delhi this weekend - The Eastwind Festival - featuring 60 bands spread over 3 stages and 3 days.
I couldn't attend Day 1 because of work and Day 3 because of exhaustion. But I did attend Day 2 and it was one heck of a trip.
We walked in to catch a little bit of Five Little Indians and they were a pretty decent band to kick off my Eastwind experience. We were sorely disappointed by Little Babushka's Grind and thought that The Gautam Ghosh Collective had a good stage act, though their music was a far cry from their pretty cool name. Then we managed to catch a larger part of Myndsnare's performance and I was simply blown away by Yasmin, their woman drummer. She is now part of my favourite drummers group and I now have a new band to follow.
We caught a pretty big part of Half Step Down's gig and they were pretty good, though they didn't really have a sound that would ensnare me. We witnessed the last bit of a very lovely sounding HFT and then settled down to listen to Soulmate. I have heard these guys before and I know they're brilliant, but they were completely in their element here. They played a fabulous gig and had the crowd shouting for another one (with the very Indian "One more" instead of the classier "Encore") at the end, which they happily obliged much to the delight of everyone present.
After that sonorous exhilaration, I quickly ran back for the dying strains of Kryptos. Unfortunately, they sounded quite off colour and I could scarcely believe that their drummer was the same I had learnt the finer nuances of drumming from nearly 2 years ago. He looked and sounded so different I could barely recognise him. But they did close with one of my favourite songs from their album - Clandestine Elements.
Menwhopause had the entire crowd's attention for almost the entirety of their gig as there were no gigs going on in the other 2 stages. After having heard so much about them, I expected great things from them. I was very let down, to say the least. I didn't like their music at all.
We then sat through some electronica courtesy Jalebee Cartel, who sounded suspiciously like a discotheque or night club, before we went to listen to a band from my undergraduate college - Galeej Gurus. These guys have been around for years and although I never really cared to listen to them in college, I wanted to here. Again, I was not too impressed.
I was biding my time waiting for my favourite band Thermal And A Quarter, and hence sat through another band which I think was Pink Noise. They were not half bad. Soon, the time came. It was TAAQ time. We went and stood right in front, up with the barricades, even before the band members had arrived on stage and we didn't move till the cops came and forced the sound to be switched off.
I kept shouting the names of the only members I really cared about in the band - Bruce, Rajeev and Rzhude. I kept shouting the names of the songs I wanted to hear. I shouted the name of my college, which Bruce was well aware of, and he acknowledged it with a chuckle. I screamed along with the lyrics of the songs. In short, I behaved like the quintessential fan; and it was the greatest time of my life.
I was amazed at how many bands in the festival sounded so alike. It really takes a head on comparison like this to realise just how shallow our music is. Sure, everybody tries to come up with clever sounding lyrics and themes, but the sound is so also-ran that interest is quickly lost. Very few bands have a truly unique sound to them, so much so that when you hear one of their songs, you immediately know it's theirs. Bands from the festival that immediately come to mind are TAAQ, Soulmate, HFT, Jalebee Cartel and Myndsnare.
A unique sound is one of the keys to recognition and success, I feel. Cases in point are AC/DC, The Who, Metallica, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Lounge Piranha from Bangalore also has a very unique sound and I was disappointed that they weren't playing at Eastwind.
My legs felt floppy, my neck was sure to hurt the next morning and I was tired, but it was all worth it in the end. A great experience.