This Chennai band, which plans to put out an album by year end, is waiting to connect to the North
Bands need balls of steel to face the bunch of riotous metalheads at IRock who will settle for nothing less than blood and gore. Rainbow Bridge from Chennai, who are a bunch of seasoned rock ’n’ rollers were all prepped up for IRock XXIII although the competition wasn’t really their scene. The band had its reasons. “We need to break the north-south barrier man,” says Sanjeev Philip Thomas, founder member, lead vocalist and guitarist for Rainbow Bridge. Bassist Wayne Fernandez knew from experience that it wouldn’t be easy ”” Fernandez performed with the Chennai-based metal band No Idea a couple of years ago and even got bottled at IRock. “We feel there’s a lot of bias but we’ll get through,” says Thomas. The audience close to the pit didn’t take to their sound ”” alaaps by Rainbow Bridge vocalist Benny Dayal translated to suicide on stage. Get this clear ”” 23 years on, IRockers do not like change be it rap by an Aizwal-based band or rock ’n’ roll from the south.
To make things worse, percussionist Salwin Alfred aka Alfie nursed a fractured hand and abandoned the djembe for the guitar. “You know, every one of those black T-shirted kids I met told us how we rocked. Then how come we didn’t win the show man?” asks Thomas. Though the band’s resilience paid off. Thomas walked away with the Best Guitarist title and a head filled with the contradictions that IRock places before a band.
But the band members put all this behind easily and get into Rao’s home-turned-jam-room in Chennai. The room is a smokebox. Sundays are meant for rolling and rehearsals. Come Monday and Fernandez is organising loans for international clients at his bank, Alfred is holed up at a BPO and drummer Shyam Rao is tuned into nerd central as the head of an IT division for a Mumbai-based company. Fortunately for Dayal and Thomas ”” music is a day and night job. Both recently struck gold working for composer A R Rahman. Dayal is the voice of the popular Bollywood hit ”˜Pappu Can’t Dance Saala’ and Thomas stepped in as the guitarist for the ”˜Meherban’ (instrumental) from the soundtrack of Ada A Way Of Life. While Rainbow Bridge was formed only two years ago, Rao has gigged in the US with guitarist Prasanna Ramaswamy, Thomas and Fernandez have known each other from previous bands Buddha’s Babies and Buddha Blown.
While the band’s still a little hung up on the classic American rock sound, especially on guitar and vocals which dominate tracks such as ”˜Banned,’ it’s Dayal and Selfred who bend it in ”˜Hole in Your Life’. Thomas breaks a string and curses. “You break a string during every practice and almost every gig man,” says a barely coherent Selfred. But the band isn’t wrapping up jamming yet and Thomas picks up a spare. “There are no venues to play at in Chennai man. Absolutely nothing,” says Fernandez through a haze. Explains the noisy, fiery jam that will go on into the next day.
”˜Hole In Your Life’: Rao’s skin-bashing steals the show in this wired concert starter
”˜Dead Man’: Don’t go by the name. This is one of Rainbow Bridge’s mellower tracks perfect for an unplugged gig