Friday, August 29, 2008

Hard Rock Caffein

I was at the Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai for the Independence Rock Elims last nite, and wasn't overwhelmed like how people are when they debut the HRC. You know friend, this is India, so its all showbiz. The only thing I liked was the band Aftertaste.

Venue and Venetians
The whole place is so huge and lit up with floor levels to give it a bigger look, its supposed to be a mecca of rock, but it turned out that majority of the crowd were people who also go to a Hawaian Shack or Toto's Garage. On paper a pint is supposed to be 128 but they charged 160. Drunk kids on frequent tequila shots swayed to the nationwide (India of course!) "Rock revolution-resurrection-marketing gimmick-fad-coolness" factor to which the sponsors spooled their giveaways, high priced booze, et al unto a massive tendering. Most of the families, sloshed media executives, girls from ad agencies, wannabe model-celebs, college kids dowsed in the cool factor of wanna model-celebs who also listen to hard rock and sway to Backstreet Boys (yes they are very much alive!) - all of them were completely clueless to the music that was being catered to them. One good (worst!) thing that the Big Indian Rock Scene has created is that any band can get away with bad music without jeers, as long as the crowed is being catered to and serviced.
Bands with names like "Depth" and Manipest (or Manefus or Manifest who cares dood...when you gotta get drunk and gigolo dance to them while they cry back their Hits titled "must drink" "we are all wasted" "do you like what you see" - well to that NO I dont! @#$%#) and a certain self proclaimed 'music man's' band monkeyed around the roofed stage!

A Never Before Experience
You only had to be there to 'feel' it.
In between two bands suddenly the speakers started playing YMCA disco track and all the Hard Rock "boys" primarily waiters, climbed up an isle in a row and started dancing in unison, entertaining the crowd. And they were doing their periodick pelvic thursts as if it were the gay version of Coyote Ugly - if you have seen the film. The crowd went crazy andloving it wild at that. I just stood there and pondered - feeling deeply out of place.

This was supposed to be a rock show at a hard rock place!
Now there are gay bars in the world elsewhere where there are gigolo dancers and sleaze-bar waitresses on offer for cover charges and free, however for LUCRETIA's sake This is HRC! They have a bloody legacy to follow and stride ahead. The only compensatory feeling I gathered was I being a metalhead can proudly walk into HRC with my head held high and tresses abounce without having to confuse people of my kind. Often do i wonder - am I the last of my kind?
'Coz its supposed to be the only certified ROCK cafe and I believe the only way to attain ultimate peace and satisfaction for us hordes would be to travel abroad and be a part of the underground scene. This country can afford to be fake at the spending class level even on high inflation GDPs.

Last Word
After spending some odd moments trying to align with the place, I bumped into Prashant (guitarist Exhumation/ Scribe), an old friend who curiously enquired, "YOU Here? How?" It took me a while, when I then realized his amusement in surprise. As I laughed to myself on my long way back home.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

7 Countries. 3 Continents. 1 Tribe!

On the advent of Sam Dunn's second film
7 Countries. 3 Continents. 1 Tribe
with his, now distintive self-styled filming of bands and fans,
this repost would definitely try to arouse the mutual feeling
of anticipation and excitement
for any metalhead across the universe.
Aptly subheaded as ONE TRIBE!
A multitude of horns up to Dunn and Mcfayden.
It's because of you we still have hope on earth.

Finally the thing that I was waiting for, to take me off recipes. This movie is a tribute to metal; right from early classick roots to the genre-wise tracking of a sound growing heavier and intense each passing decade. A master documentary cut by the most original and real metal head I have ever come across - Samuel Dunn. An anthropologist by education, Dunn makes a likable companion in our journey through the metal underground, meeting some of the biggest stars of the genre on the way.

What makes things really exciting, is the fact that Dunn had chosen India amongst the countries to feature in his sophomore effort which is due. He was here to cover a few Indian metal bands as well as his old time favourites Iron Maiden headlining at Bangalore this year.

A head banger's journey starts off by examining Metal's roots with the long debate in regards to who was the first Metal band ever. Then, we are taken through an analysis of how metal sub-genres came to exist. Dunn also gives his thoughts about Metal's culture, viewpoints, religious standpoints, the fans and every other aspect of metal. Some of the veterans of the scene as well as some insightful outsiders give their interesting opinions to support the argument at hand. The film balances the serious aspects of Metal with some unintentional humor. Personalities like Alice Cooper, Bruce Dickinson, Alex Webster, Slipknot, Ghaal, Dee Snider, Doro, Ihsahn and many others offer their own individual thoughts in an intellectual way while bands like Mayhem make a fool out of themselves during a drunken interview.

The structure of the film follows life's most provocative subjects - Censorship, Sexuality, Death & Violence, and more. Each area is thoughtfully explored with comments from many musicians and some outside observers. From the calm commentary of Rob Zombie to the wry humour of Dio.

The most amazing moment of the film is when Dee Snider of Twisted Sister walks in the courtroom to testify; clad in hair apparent, torn jeans, ripped jacket in a room full of bureaucrats and beholders of moralistic jurisdicktion headed by Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore, circa 1984. She had run a crusade against metal during those times. And Dee in sheer deliberation pulls out his "speech" of a testimonial reads out loud for the courtroon. It was politically neat and sent sarcastic pinches for Ms. Gore while the men in suits are visually shaken with uneasy tweaks and turns all around.

There are funny moments where Alice Cooper claims to be the first one, whose music was coined as the term Heavy Metal. Then further in the course of the film he reassures that it was shock rock!

The spine chilling and appalling moment for me was when Dunn interviews Gaahl from Gorgoroth. And this behemoth of a Black Metal frontman sips his wine, pauses and with a near statue-like gaze he says "Satan", with a deep drowning voice and goes ahead to support church burnings with stark contempt towards the church.

Dunn is a true metal head. The documentary is extremely entertaining and informative. It made me proud to be a metal head. It even made me give bands I'm not too fond of another chance. Bottom line is, if you're a Metal fan you'll enjoy this from beginning to end. If you're a curious outsider, here's your chance to understand our world better and get a more defined opinion of our music. And even if you don't, well to quote Dunn at the end: "We're doing just fine without you…"