A Hard Day’s Night
Musical tributes are a tricky thing. It’s a fine balance to maintain and many tough choices are to be made depending on the artist/band/genre of music being paid tribute to. In July this year I did a tribute concert to Jim Morrison and The Doors, which was well received.
Musical tributes are a tricky thing. It’s a fine balance to maintain and many tough choices are to be made depending on the artist/band/genre of music being paid tribute to. In July this year I did a tribute concert to Jim Morrison and The Doors, which was well received. Then I was told of the series of tribute concerts that Rolling Stone was organising in the run-up to the Jack Daniel’s Annual Rock Awards that has been happening for the past three years.
The first tribute, to the Beatles, was to happen at the Hard Rock Café in Mumbai. Now the Beatles, is, as we know, a band with music that needs no introduction. But the new generation needs to be familiarised with their music for sure. So then I was asked to host the show for the evening, which I gladly agreed to. I was excited to be a part of this as I knew it was going to be a blast, for whatever it’s worth.
I was then wondering as to who the band would be, who the musicians would be who would pull this off. Would it be just another note-for-note cover band trying desperately to duplicate the artist like they do in the West? Or would it be more of a keep-the-essence-of-the-song yet bring-your-own-identity kind of bunch? When I met the band I was pleasantly surprised to find the latter.
The band was a volatile mix of musicians from about four different groups from Chennai: Panatella, Molotov Cocktail, Junkyard Groove and Mantra. These were seven immersed musicians and singers who brought great passion and reverence to the songs.
It was a long setlist, spread over almost 3 hours and spanning about 30 songs! The famous ones were there, ‘Come Together,’ ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,’ ‘All My Loving,’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love,’ ‘Yesterday,’ etc and some not so remembered ones like ‘Lady Madonna,’ ‘Oh Darling,’ ‘Across the Universe,’ ‘Dear Prudence,’ etc.
The show was to start at 9:30 pm and by 9 the place was almost full. Full with anticipation and expectation of a fun night. And so it was. I came on and spoke about the event, and introduced the band who launched into their opening song, ‘Come Together’ to a huge roar of approval. And the night had begun…
The gig featured three appearances by guests. Suraj Jaggan, from Mumbai band Dream Out Loud, sang, ‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ Suraj’s powerful voice brought great resonance to those songs. A few songs later, Shazneen Arethna, ex-singer with Zero, came on and did an Alanis Morrisette-esque version of ‘Norwegian Wood,’ which was ripping! And towards the end of the set, I came out and did a blues version of ‘Drive My Car,’ which was fun.
But the stars of the evening were the seven musicians on stage: Arjun Thomas (vocals) Siddharth Srinivasan (vocals,guitars), Sundar Vishwanathan (bass), Maynard Grant (drums), Prithvi Chandrasekhar (keys) and the stellar vocalists Kavita Thomas and Priyanka Krishnamohan. Their versions of ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand,’ ‘Helter Skelter,’ ‘Michelle’ and ‘Blackbird’ brought a new emotion to the night.
The tribute gigs will