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 CafÃ© 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