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Five Bands Get Together For One Midweek Gig

The Shakey Rays, The Lightyears Explode, Riot Peddlers, BLEK and Microphon3 perform at a showcase for American label head Seymour Stein

Rolling Stone India Mar 13, 2013
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The Shakey Rays

The Shakey Rays

When American label head Seymour Stein, who championed the punk and new wave movement in the Seventies, was in India last year, he told ROLLING STONE India how he saw the future of music in India. A true Indophile, Stein returned to India this month to conduct a session at FICCI Frames and also expressed an interest to check out the alternative music scene in the country. Connecting the dots was easy. Rishu Singh, founder of ennui.BOMB, who kicks off BOMB Thursdays @ Kino 108 tomorrow was more than keen to organize a showcase of sorts for Stein to introduce him to some of the brightest new talent in the country. What started off as a gig featuring two bands including Chennai alt rockers The Shakey Rays and Mumbai punk pop band, The Lightyears Explode was scaled up to include Mumbai hardcore punk band The Riot Peddlers, Mumbai punk rock band BLEK and rapper Microphon3 alongwith Alan, who goes by the stage name The Beatboxer Supreme. Said Stein, “I’d love to meet punk bands here. Punk’s my scene.” Ahead of the showcase, Stein will throw the house open for questions.

Bands performing at the gig are as enthusiastic about Stein’s presence at the gig. “It would be interesting to get a perspective about the Indian punk scene from someone like Stein,” says BLEK’s lead vocalist Rishi Bradoo, “Punk bands in India are way different from punk bands in America, so it would be great to understand what he thinks of this movement here now since he was able to identify the punk wave back then.” Adds Arun S Ravi, frontman of The Riot Peddlers, “It’s a great deal for us to meet Seymour Stein and have him as part of our audience. He has signed some of the biggest artists such as The Ramones. At our shows here, we usually think it’s always a good idea to perform something new for fans but for this showcase, since he doesn’t know our music, we plan to play some of our old songs.” The Lightyears Explode’s Saurabh Roy too doesn’t intend to bring something new to the table. “I know of him since he signed The Ramones. I don’t think we’ll play too differently but we’re psyched to play with him in the audience,” he adds.

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The headlining act, Chennai rockers The Shakey Rays tells us that they are glad to take a break from the scene back home. Besides sharing two members from Adam & The Fish Eyed Poets [bassist Abhinav Krishnawamy and drummer Prabhu Muraleedharan], the band also echoes the electro rock outfit’s frontman, Kishore Krishna’s grouse about the dormant music scene in their hometown: “Chennai is a bit of dead-end. It’s not the place to be if you want to play independent music,” says Gautham. Known for their hummable songs that mix rock ’n roll with R&B, the band’s debut album, Tune from the Big Belly, stood out for bringing fresh arrangements to vintage sounds.

For now, the band is happy not performing at Chennai’s Star Rock for “the same crowd and the same place.”  About their hour-long set, Gautham says, “We will play a lot of songs from our first album and some new ones from our second album, as well as some singles.” Unlike most bands that strive to steer off covers, The Shakey Rays have always made place for cover songs  in their setlist. This time too, fans can expect to hear their rendition of songs by R&B artist Smokey Robinson, Frank Sinatra and Brit rockers, The Kinks. “Only in the last couple of years there’s been a self conscious move to stay away from covers. But I think it’s more challenging to do covers and still sound original. We pick songs that fit in with our music. So if you track our roots, you’ll see it comes down to these songs,” he says.

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The Shakey Rays, The Lightyears Explode, Riot Peddlers, BLEK and Microphon3 featuring Alan, The Beatboxer Supreme perform at Kino 108, Andheri, Mumbai on March 14th, 8.30 pm onwards. Entry Rs 200. Details here 

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