Mic Check: Mahindra Blues Festival 2012

Mumbai sang the blues this weekend as the Mahindra Blues Festival, in its second year, played host to some of the greatest blues musicians. I had the pleasure of not only attending, but also being able to take photos and video of the most amazing live performances I have ever had the privilege to witness. Host to international artists Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Robert Randolph, John Lee Hooker Jr., and Ana Popovic, as well as Indian bands Overdrive Trio, Blackstrat Blues, and Soulmate, the Mahindra Blues Festival is another massive platform in the fast expanding live music culture that Mumbai music fans just can’t seem to get enough of.

Buddy Guy

Taj Mahal

Robert Randolph

John Lee Hooker Jr.

Ana Popovic

More photos will be on my Behance portfolio soon. In the meanwhile, check out a taste of the weekend with this clip from ThrillPill Films:

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Mic Check: Live From The Console, 5th edn.

For those of you not in the know, I love taking photographs. LOVE. Why is this relevant on a music blog, you ask? Because this past weekend I had the pleasure of taking photographs at the fifth edition of Live from the Console, a fantastic platform for Indian musicians to perform original music (and the occasional cover) to a crowded house. And for the people of Mumbai who are starved for good live gigs to attend and discover new music, Live from the Console is a definite must-visit event each month.

Before this November edition of the Console, which featured Vernon Noronha, Spud in the Box, and Peter Cat Recording Co., I had only attended two editions and loved the performances by Medusa (now known as Sky Rabbit) and sonaluna + Tek. On November 12, however, the line-up for the Console was not only consistent in how good all three artists/bands were but was also indicative of just how much under-explored Indian talent there is that definitely deserves to be heard.

My pick for the best song of the night: Pariquel by Peter Cat Recording Co.

Needless to say, all the photographs in this post were taken by yours truly.

Vernon Noronhna

Spud in the Box

Peter Cat Recording Co.

Mic Check: Outlandish, Mumbai, 8th July 2009

Outlandish

It isn’t often that international artists perform in Mumbai, and very often the few that do so aren’t worth watching. So when I heard that Outlandish would be performing at the Hard Rock Café – a smaller and more personal venue than, say, a stadium – I knew at once it was a show I didn’t want to miss.

Outlandish are a Danish hip hop group with a twist. It comprises of Waqas (right, of Pakistani origin), Lenny (centre, of Honduran origin) and Isam (left, of Moroccan origin and my future husband). Their ethnic diversity adds cultural and global influences in their music to give you hip hop that’s in English, Spanish, Hindi, and Moroccan.

Before the concert I didn’t really know too many of Outlandish’s songs, but whatever I had heard I’d liked. So I braved the crowds (I didn’t know the Hard Rock could hold that many people, albeit quite uncomfortably) and balanced precariously on a step in a manner that ended up being quite a workout for my abs and thighs, while my sister sat on someone else’s table and my brother-in-law didn’t move from his spot all night lest he should lose it, but I have to say it was completely worth it.

Outlandish are one of those bands that are so, so much better live than through your headphones. The energy in their performance radiated through the crowd – which they know how to work – and they performed some of their best songs by mixing them up. Hindi rap over Black Eyed Peas’s Boom Boom Pow early on in the night made it evident this wasn’t going to be a run of the mill concert.

The 90-minute set even included a short tribute to Michael Jackson, complete with an amusing attempt to moonwalk, and two guys from the audience rapping with the band. Even their backup singer, Johannes/Jonas (I didn’t quite catch his name amidst all the screaming girls) had an amazing voice.

I unfortunately don’t have any clips from the concert, but you can hear their album versions of some of my favourite songs – Peelo, Look Into My Eyes, Stick ‘Em Up (they performed a much more high energy version) , Rock All Day and Aicha (a cover of Khaled’s song). I will, however, be uploading pics from the concert soon.

Said sister is a music journalist and has now met the band three times. She was nice enough to get me an autograph, else I might not like her very much right about now.