• Sun, Apr 23, 2017
Reviews

The Scene feat. Until We Last, Pinocchio's Moment of Clarity, and Space Behind the Yellow Room at Blue Frog, Mumbai

gig Reviews Oct 17, 01:07pm

Minus its pedestrian name, The Scene – a series of monthly gigs organized by NH7 and Blue Frog – is a great initiative that not only helps young bands by putting them up on the big stage at the Blue Frog, Mumbai early in their lives as performing musicians, but also allows us wastrels and wanderers the opportunity to check out new music. V 6.0 featured three bands which had unusually long and weird names, so Akhil Sood, who calls himself quite the post-rock enthusiast, went to check out the gig. Here are his numbered thoughts:
 Photo Courtesy: Shalaka Pai/NH7

October 16

The Scene 6.0

Blue Frog, Mumbai

Until We Last, Pinocchio’s Moment of Clarity, Space behind the Yellow Room

1. Is there like some kind of post-rock movement happening that we don’t know about? Where are all these bands coming from? All the bands on the lineup had that experimental-post-something vibe going for them, and it’s great and I love this kind of stuff. I’m just a little sad that not enough people are aping Eddie Vedder and Metallica-Megadeth-Maiden. And Rage.

2. Space behind the Yellow Tree are not actually called Space behind the Yellow Tree. The name is Space behind the Yellow Room. Wow. I was convinced there was a yellow tree in there somewhere. It’s like when you know something all your life, and one fine day you realize that you were wrong all along, and the world just sort of crumbles around you.

3. The Bleu Frog (as the French call it, presumably) is a great showcase venue. It lacks the intimacy that a smaller pub would have by default, and the overall snooty, cliquey air about the place can be a little unpleasant at times. But purely in terms of listening experience, the acoustics and the stage design and the standing area make it a fantastic place to catch a band that you really want to hear.

4. Having said that, there weren’t enough people for this gig. That’s the drawback of being an instrument-driven post-rockish band – add a tight T-shirt and some techno-glitch-hop bloops on an Apple and watch the masses throng. But I digress. It wasn’t empty or anything, just not packed enough. And it didn’t really affect the mood or energy of the evening in any way so it’s all good. What isn’t all good was the volume. The bands on the night are best heard loud, but for some reason, the volume levels weren’t really exploding like they should have been. Standing at the bar, the emotive transparency of the music didn’t quite translate as it did near the stage.

5. Until We Last – “We are Until We Last” – is fast becoming one of my favourite live bands. Their music is fairly derivative of Explosions in the Sky and God is an Astronaut and the ilk, but they write great melodies and arrangements within those self-defined restrictions. And more importantly, they do proper justice to their own sound – not missing a note or a beat and, really, just putting up a live set that can actually be called an ‘experience’. They started off the evening, and the sheer oneness of the band was something that wasn’t heard again once they went off.

6. Their last song was the highlight of the evening. It was a long thing with lots of packed layers of melody and rhythm and what not, but the finale – a celebration of noise via squealing guitars and stumbling and stuttering patches and feedback – just added that one final footnote to end an excellent performance.

7. Speaking of last songs, Pinocchio’s Moment of Clarity (PMOC) played ‘Everything is a Fucking Waste of Time’ to close out their set. It was this complete riff-monster of a song which had a restless dynamic eccentricity to it that just sort of defined their set and their sound.

8. This was PMOC’s first gig so naturally, they did suck a lot ever so often. There seemed to be far too many people and things on stage – mics everywhere, laptop, MIDI controller, guitars, human beings. Their tones and sound levels were not clean, and they messed up a few times too, plus they seemed to project this collective nervous air about them. But those are very minor rough edges that can be smoothed over as they play more gigs.

9. What really stands out about PMOC – if you discount the above-mentioned concerns as first-gig problems that every single band goes through – is the music they write. It’s very daring, in that they aren’t afraid to stuff each song with very versatile dynamics that aren’t always that easy to absorb, but leave a long-lasting impact. Giant riff sections are frequently followed by quaint guitar doodling and electronic noise and so forth. Essentially, the roots of a lovely sound are all there – it’s just a matter of time before they find a common space.

10. Their guitarist is left-handed. Being left-handed too, this reviewer is always thrilled to see fellow members of the community being seen, heard, felt, smelt, anything.

11. Drummers should never sing. This isn’t directed at the Space behind the Yellow Room drummer, who doubles up as their vocalist too, but to all drummers out there, including that Eagles guy. As always, Dave Grohl is exempt from this.

12. Space behind the Yellow Room are the dirty punk outcasts of the post-rock world. Their very endearing and very schizophrenic sound is suitably complemented by this raw energy that they seem to carry in their pockets each time they get on stage.

13.  The soft-heavy dynamics that the band crafts – with long and lonely passages of fragile melodies and  layers of sound that are disposed off at whim with incendiary and defiant sections of raw aggression – pretty much direct their sound. It isn’t very nuanced or subtle, but it isn’t supposed to be either. The flow that Until We Last project is in deep contrast to the diffidence of Space behind the Yellow Room, so they work really well on the same bill. 

14.  To these ears, the vocals are sort of the weak element – the whole I’ll-fucking-sing-what-I-want-when-I-want works reasonably well with their sound, but very often it doesn’t. And it starts to really stick out then.

15. The drummer and the bass-player were both seen wearing kajal/eye-liner/eye-shadow. It was very worrying, so I checked with them - they aren't a part of any rhythm section cult (god help us if that day ever comes); they just happen to think they look good in make up.

15.  Most gigs these days have at least, like, 40 amateur First Name Last Name Photography exponents finding all sorts of ways to piss me off with their ridiculous poses and ability to get in my way no matter where I stand. Surprisingly, all those people seemed to be absent at this gig. Thank the lord, our almighty saviour.

16.  Food, man. I’m never going to pay Rs. 3.5 lakh for a breadstick at Blue Frog. Gigs there tend to start at 10 or so, going on till 1 AM. That leaves no time for dinner. Maybe a small stall outside selling shitty and overpriced vada pavs wouldn’t be such a bad idea. TM.

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