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Neel And The Lightbulbs To Perform Debut Gig In Mumbai

Kolkata pop rock band will play songs from their debut EP House in A Car and some new material

Megha Mahindru Mar 05, 2013
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Neel And The Lightbulbs

Neel And The Lightbulbs

Kolkata pop rockers Neel And The Lightbulbs are not likely to hit it off with Vasant Dhoble. Though the acoustic four-piece rock band hasn’t heard of Mumbai’s stick wielding cop, they do share a frosty track record with cops back home. Their latest video, “Washing Windows,” which released last month, features frontman Neel Adhikari and guitarist Subhodip Banerjee, who are seen performing an acoustic set in the dead of the night, bang in the middle of Kolkata’s Raja Basanta Roy Road, and only stop when a police van shows up. Recorded in real time, the shoot came to a halt after residents complained about the noise levels and the cops came calling for a pack up. “We did three takes and the cops came in during the last take and stopped us. We kept the third take,” says Neel Adhikari, almost matter-of-factly. 

The scene repeated itself last weekend. The band wrapped up a corporate show in Aurangabad and after a round of drinks, they decided to record an impromptu jam at Taj hotel, where they were staying. “I think it’s a karma thing. We started recording this video, and yeah, we were quite shitfaced when the security guy came out and asked us to cut it out,” says the 38-year-old vocalist, pointing to a phone recording, as he chugs beer at a suburban Mumbai restobar. The band is clearly in a cheerful state of mind considering the hard-to-miss colored bowties that all of them have taken a liking too. “We’ll probably wear them at the gig,” says Banerjee sounding quite pleased at the thought, “We just got them.”

When the band returns home after their gig in Mumbai, there’s more reason for cheer. Neel And The Lightbulbs will record two more videos to add to their video series titled Street Live, which also includes “Washing Windows.” Street Live aims to feature live recordings of the band’s music by bringing the stage [read mics, guitars, bass and drums] to the road. While Adhikari hasn’t figured locations and permissions as yet, he plans to record videos for “Broke” and “Universe” this month using the same guerilla shooting techniques. “We have a very good team in Calcutta, who are working with us just because they like us, and they are pestering us to make new videos. The next two songs will be day videos,” says Adhikari, adding, “Since I’m into production, I love the concept of recording outdoors. It has a unique sound. In most of our videos, all the music we are playing is recorded live.” The faint sound of a passing car in “Washing Windows” is proof of their claim, but the video comes with a disclaimer stating that the audio was recorded while the video was being shot. “People don’t believe it actually, so we added a disclaimer,” adds Banerjee.

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The band name hints at their penchant for recording videos too, explains Adhikari. “It was a video that prompted us to start the band,” says lead guitarist Banerjee. A supergroup of sorts, Neel And The Lightbulbs was formed barely a year ago, when the quartet was jamming at Adhikari’s place. The bedroom recording of “Lights and Tunnels,” with violinist Bhaskar stepping in as a guest artist, received over 4,500 views on Vimeo and convinced the musicians to form a band. Bassist Roheet Mukherjee, also of Ganesh Talkies, and Adhikari were previously part of another band named Five Little Indians and have been part of filmmaker Q’s notorious Bangla rap band Gandu Circus. The two met Banerjee at an open mic night in Kolkata, where he was playing with his band Ifs And Buts. Drummer Avinash Chordia of The Supersonics is a well-known name in the local music scene and also part of the band. “In Calcutta, the music scene is very incestuous, where everyone is playing with everyone all the time,” says Adhikari, whose band has also collaborated with Ganesh Talkies vocalist Suyasha Sengupta and singer-songwriter Nischay Parekh among others.

For their Mumbai show tonight, the band plans to get a few local collaborations going. Singer-songwriter Aazin Printer [ex-Something Relevant], who plays the opening set today, will join the band on a few songs. Sidd Coutto too is likely to be on stage. “We met Sidd at Windsong Festival in Goa. Our drummer couldn’t make it, so he just heard our songs in the bus and could play them,” he adds. The band that prefers to call their genre “No Nonsense Music” and their songs “a bunch of loser songs” plan to perform songs from their debut EP House In A Car tonight. Bengalis in the audience today are likely to crack up at some of their new tracks such as “Padam-para.” “It’s just a fun song about being loose and going where the wind blows,” adds Adhikari. We can tell you that it will be that and much more.

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Watch “Washing Windows” here:


Neel And The Lightbulbs perform at Blue Frog Mumbai tonight. Entry Rs 350. They will also perform at T.L.R, New Delhi on March 28th and at Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Fest on March 31st

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