Gig Review: Junkyard Groove at Vapour, Bengaluru
The Chennai rockers drunk-danced their way happily through old and new material
Junkyard Groove, September 3rd, Vapour Pub, Bengaluru: If you’ve ever seen Chennai rockers Junkyard Groove’s frontman Ameeth Thomas performing sober, you were probably at the wrong gig. Or maybe the founding member behind the band, who came together in 2005, has just been at it for so long that you can’t really tell if he’s sober or not.
When the band ”“ comprising guitarist-vocalist Thomas, bassist Sajith Satya, guitarist Joshua Mark Raj and drummer Shashank Vijay ”“ kicked off their set at the two-level venue Vapour in Bengaluru on a Thursday night, the crowd was yet to build up. Or at least tank up. Thomas was okay with singing some of the lyrics to “Imagine” on the low, almost as if he didn’t remember them.
In between the rock and roll and the occasional cover of grunge band Pearl Jam’s “Animal,” there’s a lot of self-deprecation that goes into JYG’s set. At this gig, Thomas proudly declared, “We’re a very unprofessional band,” after they nailed the dance-y “Screw Control.” Other Thomas-isms through the night included him asking the mostly-seated audience at Vapour, “How many of you came to drink a shit lot and how many came to see us?”
Without waiting for much of an answer, the band launched into their popular song “Rock n Roll.” They Â indulged fans with old favorites such as “Let You Go,” “Folk You” and “It’s Ok” off their 2009 album 11:11, which got people up from their table and to the front of the stage. At one point of the show, we couldn’t tell if Thomas was picking the beers out of fans’ hands, or they were actually being offered to him for his crazed showmanship.
While Thomas had mentioned earlier that their next EP will feature electronic sounds, there wasn’t any laptop on stage, so they were sticking to the staples.Â A bit before a break in their set, the band played their new offering, “Follows Me Down,” a bluesy track that continues the band’s varied rock direction.
By the time they got to “It’s Ok,” Thomas had broken a string on his acoustic and Satya seemed to be the only one who didn’t know, and ended up inviting his Chennai indie band Ratify collaborator, guitarist Rajan Chelliah on stage to play what was now a five-string guitar. But just as Chelliah went with it, so did the band and the crowd, singing along to every word of their best-known song yet.
Closing with an encore of “Folk You,” JYG proved they’re one of the few Indian rock bands who have retained that warm alt rock sound that gets massive along the way, and they have fun with it whether they’re playing in a club or an outdoor festival.