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.
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.