Gig Recall: Vega Massive’s Debut Gig In London
Having just returned from the UK, Suprateek Chatterjee, guitarist of Mumbai electro rock band, recounts their gigging experience at The Dublin Castle last month
Every musician I spoke to had the same thing to say: ”˜The Dublin Castle? Oh, good on you, mate! That’s a serious venue!’
It’s a gig Vega Massive had managed to bag in late April, through a series of drunken conversations that led to email addresses being shared. Once we got the email from the promoters, we started spreading the word amongst our (extremely limited) circles in London. We were happy – after all, the band’s live act had officially only been formed in January, and we were still fresh off our debut gig at Blue Frog, Mumbai – so, to play at a venue where bands such as Muse, Coldplay, Blur, The Killers and Arctic Monkeys had cut their teeth seemed like an unlikely dream come true.
We exploited the studios at Point Blank Music College, Hoxton, and turned one of the studios into our jam room. A far cry from the rehearsal space we’re used to (That Studio in Sion), the band was split up into two rooms separated by a glass screen. Nariman Khambata (producer, band engineer, guitarist) sat in a control room with a guitar directly attached to a mixer while Sarosh Nanavaty (vocalist, occasional vagrant) and I (co-producer, guitarist, backing vocalist) stood in a large recording booth. We were missing our bass player and drummer, Rahul Pais and Rahul Hariharan. So at first, we attempted to hunt for people who could fill in within Point Blank, where all three of us were studying part-time. However, after a couple of failed experiments, we decided it would be better to go ahead with an electronic set featuring just the three of us.
Listening to yourself on headphones while you jam is disconcerting – every tiny mistake, which would’ve gone unnoticed in most jam rooms and even on PAs, is amplified right into your ears. It’s like being a studio musician, while also keeping in mind that you have to perform on stage. It helped us get tighter and do all our parts with a lot more precision than we would have back home. We used the studio thrice a week in the fortnight running up to the gig. By the end, a number of students at Point Blank a) Knew the chorus ofÂ “Awake” and “Urbania”Â by heart, and b) Tried to hit on Sarosh.
Gig day: The Dublin Castle is a nice, grungy, underground-ish venue. We walked in and the first thing we said was “Razz.” We were one of four bands on a Friday night bill, which included a French alt-rock band (who were tight as hell) and English indie rock bands. The headliner was a band called White Line Diaries, and we were first support. We reached early (a rarity in this band) and sound-checked second, drawing funny looks from the sound engineer when we told him that we’re playing without a bass player and drummer.
The gig itself? It was fun. We had crowd support. We had at least one cute blonde up in front cheering us on. People bought us drinks. That night ended at 6 am.
We can’t wait to come back and do more gigs.