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Gig Review: Bombay Bassment at Blue Frog, Mumbai

Mumbai-based reggae drum ‘n bass band delivers a near flawless set

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Bombay Bassment's frontman Robert 'Bobkat' Omulo Photo: Courtesy Blue Frog

Bombay Bassment’s frontman Robert ‘Bobkat’ Omulo Photo: Courtesy Blue Frog

September 6th, Blue Frog, Mumbai: While traveling to the Blue Frog in a crowded local train, I see two things – a procession that is transporting a Ganesh idol to a pandal and a Charlie Chaplin film playing on a small screen in my compartment. Both were commanding attention from a city that is usually willing to ignore most things that are thrown at it. Maybe the reason neither of these experiences was easy to ignore is because they easily incited emotion. The spontaneous emotional response is also the kind that Bombay Bassment routinely induces in their audience. I’ve seen them play a few times before and be it a festival stage in a different city or another club in their own; they can inspire emotion, celebration and some pretty intense partying from concert attendees.

Playing to an empty-ish club, the group’s frontman, Bobkat kicked off proceedings with “Bombay Blues,” building up the tempo with songs such as “Mo Faya,” “Get Down” and “Hip Hop (Never Be The Same)” along with some new material from their upcoming debut album. Drummer Levin Mendes and bassist Ruell Barretto were in great form, keeping the rhythm section exceptionally tight. Veteran Mumbai DJ Chantz, was also a treat to watch on the console as he skillfully scratched and mixed his way through the night. Overall, the band’s effortless performance and energy translated well from stage to audience, but the set was marred by a couple of duds, a particularly notable one in the form of a reworked cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sherriff.” The rest of the night saw constant foot tapping, and by the end of the gig, some very skilled movers taking over the dance floor.

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What’s impressive about Bombay Bassment is that they play just as enthusiastically to a crowd of 15 or 150. That’s probably why when the club started filling up (somewhere around the last five or six songs in the set), the dance floor got really crowded. Finishing off with set regulars “Jump ‘N Stomp” and a cover of “King Of Bongo,” a track by Mano Negra, the group set up by world music superstar Manu Chao, Bombay Bassment gave Blue Frog’s audience a good show the details of which they might not care to remember forever, but a band they’ll definitely want to watch again.

 

Key Tracks: “Mo Faya,” “Get Down” and “Hip Hop (Never Be The Same)”

 

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