Tuesday, October 28, 2008

North and West Frontiers

BITS backstage

one more BITS backstage

between Pune and Mumbai

Hard Rock Mumbai, sound check

Hard Rock

somewhere near Mumbai

Science experiment before Pilani

Rahul and friend


Shadowplay, Pilani

Rohan, Pilani

Amps, Pilani
So the Mumbai gig did happen evetually. But Hitler's arrest did not come cheap. The Bandra court decided to keep him in the lockup for a few more days and Mumbaikars with any sense in their head knew that could spell trouble. The city was like a ghost town that night. Cabs and rickshaws were not running and everybody generally tried to stay indoors. Except us and The Hard Rock Cafe. Although we'd been expecting a big crowd to show up, the incidents of the day ensured that only a moderate amount of people walked through the door that night. Nevertheless a decent gig I think. Post gig packing up took forever and by the time we were out of there it was past 2am and by the time we all got to where we were supposed to sleep it was past 3am. And we had a 6am flight to catch. We slept half an hour and we were up again running towards the airport on our trust steed - the Going Nowhere tour bus :) By this point everyone had figured out their favourite seats and their own ways of being comfortable on the bus on a long journey. This was a short journey to the airport though. A couple of hours later our flight landed in Jaipur and we were on cabs heading towards Pilani, about 5 hours north of Jaipur. Those who could, slept intermittently. Parathas for breakfast. Definitely north India. We reached BITS by about 2 or 3 in the afternoon and after the usual set of unpredictable obstacles, eventually got a couple of rooms at the hotel and crashed for a few hours. It took a lot of effort on our part and that of the organisers to make the BITS gig possible for Lounge Piranha. Between a fickle set of people organising finances to sponsors backing out just days before the show, there were compromises made and tears shed, but I guess the important thing is that the gig happened. Thank you Varun Ramesh. The surprises never ended though. Euphoria, who were supposed to play till 11 and then make way for us went on and on till a quarter past 1. Eventually after they were done with their one million oncores (summer of 69, bon jovi etc) and rockstar exits, we got on and soundchecked - a really good soundcheck, the sound guy knew exactly what he was doing, and light checked - Archana using a multi projector setup as she often did on this tour. At 3.30am we were on. And wonder of wonders, inspite of Euphoria's carnage from a few hours ago, there was actually an audience and they actually liked what they were seeing. Super enthusiasm levels for that time of the night. It turned out to be one of the best gigs of the tour and judging by the audience reactions, we hope we'll be back there again sometime soon. By the time stuff got packed, and George had finished painting their backstage wall, the sun was up and we ate some chaat and omlettes for breakfast on the college lawns. An hour of sleep and we were back in our cabs heading for the airport for a flight to Mumbai to continue on the bus towards our last gig of the tour...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Photo Story

We're on the road. Everything we've been dreaming of for months now. It hasn't even been a week but it's so tiring. Again, everything we've been dreaming of. Bangalore at the Alliance was a really nice start, a big thank-you to the fans and friends for turning out and supporting us. On the road to Hyderabad and suddenly it was raining. Our assumption of 60kmph as an average speed were immediately thwarted. This is a mid-size bus that neither has the compact power of an SUV nor the sheer force that a Volvo can muster. 45kmph as an average speed is tops. And we don't want to push the driver either. Safety first. So we reached Hyderabad at 4am and slept a few hours before heading for lunch and a sound check. Power problems and delays. Then the management pulled one deadly stunt and decided to charge a grand at the door as cover. I talked to them, George talked to them, Vandana talked to them but they decided to stick to their guns. Not much we could do about it. The phone was ringing off the hook, fans were coming to the door and leaving. Eventually we played to like 20 or 30 people. But they stayed till the end and I think that's what counts. Why didn't the management get it? It's not about making money tonight that's important. It's about making an event a success. THAT is what's good for their pub and for the scene. Depressions and more rains. Bright and early next morning we were off to Chennai. Another late night. We showed up at 2am or more and eventually got some sleep. The next day was much nicer. Political rallies and more delays. But the show at the Unwind was AWESOME!! Big thank you to the Chennai audience for coming out like that! Back home at 3am, 3 hours of sleep and 6am we were off to pick up the band scattered around the city. Missing projector and phone calls confusion and eventually we found it and left Chennai at 11am. But now with the delay things were looking dicey. We could never reach Bombay the next night like we planned unless we did something drastic. Bansi finally had his ambitions satisfied. We drove without a stop all the way, all the way and all the way to Mumbai. 40 hours later we reached the city last night. This morning Hitler has been arrested and city is in chaos. There's some panic, some mobs, and such things. But we're gonna brave it to sound check now and hope all goes well. And I thought once the tour actually started the pressure would come down. So much for that. :) - absent

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All Our Eggs

So this is it. We started fantasizing about it in 2007. Back then we thought we'd book ourselves at various venues all over the country and travel everywhere in a train drinking chai. When 2008 came we started talking about it seriously. By then we'd already done a few train journeys and as far as doing them to play a show went, the charm was all but lost. Then we thought of driving. Then we thought about our own tour bus and that put a ssssmile on our face! We got a plan together. We talked to other people who might be able to help us. They talked and talked and talked. Budgets skyrocketed into numbers I had never heard of before. The plan expanded like a big helium balloon which simply floated off towards the sun never to be seen again. By then we were already in the studio and too busy to do anything about it. One warm August evening in Chennai, we had an album in our hands. That was the half moon whisky night. That's when we started thinking about the tour again. We went straight back to Plan A. Do it ourselves, steer clear of sponsorships, and make sure it happens this time. I always knew that planning this on our own would be a logistical nightmare and tonight I know I had it spot on. I have a headache which has been getting worse every day of the last two weeks and tonight I believe I have a temperature. Hope it's worth it. :)

- absent