October 18, 2012

Live Banned in Bangalore, India

What a night!!

Would you accept an invitation when you are actually a ‘metal freak’ and get invited to a corporate party with full of ‘stinky-rich’ people? Well, I did. And here is the story…

My wife and I received an invitation to what I initially felt was to be ‘a damn boring corporate party’. Mr. Amarnath Sangawe, an employee of Artha Properties in Bangalore, extended his hospitality for this macro-event. In the beginning I hesitated as I never like going out of my premises (no I don’t have any fear or mania).  But after checking the e-mail invitation I properly found out that, apart from ‘lectures’ and dinner, a live band will also be performing for the event.

Now here is the irony – a band called Live Banned as they are  known to be, and who also call themselves ‘Mental fellows,’ were invited to perform at this corporate event. My proverbially inquisitive mind won and my wife, along with another couple, joined me to share the evening.

We reached the venue, which was known as Park Plaza and were ushered into a big auditorium. I was in my jeans and T-shirt.  As I looked around, all I could see were hoi-polloi who embodied bureaucracy, i.e, people with designer dinner jackets and suits. I was definitely the odd one out.  I tried to focus my mind on the Roland drums and the Marshall stack on the stage rather than my discomfort.

As we waited for something to start (at least), a radio jockey for ‘Radio One’, who admittedly ‘forgot to apply Fair & Lovely’, got onto the stage and fought to break the ice between the ‘patterned neckties’ and ‘Gucci shirts’. He tried his best by playing a game, and apart from few enthusiasts, others looked bored and petrified (including my friends and I) as they never had any intentions of revealing their childhood wearing Armani suits.

Live Banned - Jim Ankan Photography

Live Banned, Bangalore (Photo – Jim Ankan)

The evening continued with some ‘hmmms’ and ‘zzzzs’ when RJ Pijosh announced the band’s performance. This was the time I was waiting for as I wanted to see the combination of bald-heads and head-banging. We pushed our way through to the middle of the hall so that I could have a better glimpse of the band as well as the mass.

The lights dimmed and we could see some people resembling ‘circus clowns’ on the stage. As everybody was looking forward for a band, this was more or less the ice-breaker that the RJ had wanted in the very beginning. As we watched with wonder-eyes, the guys on the stage picked up their instruments and started tuning. More surprises followed – when they actually started playing.

Members of the Live Banned, as the name itself suggests, are Parody Music Evangelists and Entertainers. It’s a band from Bangalore, Karnataka. They play originals as well as covers. But, what makes this band different?  Well, it’s for sure that you can never take your eyes off them and you have to draw back your lips and reveal your teeth (also known as grinning) throughout the time they are on the stage playing music. The band is loud and tight and their stage presence is awe-inspiring. They play covers in their own way and the songs actually sound like spoofs of the originals. But not once will you feel bad about that. You will enjoy and to my surprise I saw some people actually tapping their foot; although they didn’t follow the rhythm.
Live Banned - Jim Ankan Photography

Live Banned, Bangalore (Photo – Jim Ankan)

The band consists of Amrit Rao (Vocals), Sridhar Varadarajan (Guitars), Siddhart Kamath (Keyboard/guitars), Dheerendra Doss (Drums) and Raveesh Tirkey (Bass).

All the band members were enjoying being on stage, though the crowd was rather more suited for ‘Ghazal Evening’. Eventually they had to applaud after every song or medley performed by the band. In fact, I witnessed a person standing and dancing to the tunes.

Now, it is not always easy to entertain a crowd whose rocking moments might be changing news channels on TV or signing cheques. But the Live Banned guys were in their full force and I never saw a single person leaving the hall.

The evening came to an end with another half an hour ‘lecture’ – typically arranged for the ‘cheque signing’ class and the lovely dinner and cocktails later. But this is one concert I might not forget for a very long time.

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Jim Ankan Deka

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