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Split raised the bar for bands across the city

The gig will go down our archives as one that shouldn’t have been missed by any Indian indie fan

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Lalitha Suhasini Jun 13, 2012
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Garreth D’Mello, lead vocalist of Split Photo: Meryl Sebastian

Last night, when Split took to stage  at the South Mumbai music club, Mumbai’s most talked about cop had earned several monikers including one that stuck ”“ Dhabeli. The name popped up almost every time the band introduced a track during their two-hour set. We went in expecting a regular Split night with jokes about rum and songs that sound like they were being performed on auto-pilot, but the gig was anything but regular. Split embodied punk in sound and spirit when they performed to a small audience. 

The band opened their set with “Save Me,” a song that is part of both Split and its lead vocalist Garreth D’Mello’s alt-rock side project Dischordian’s repertoire. The track couldn’t have been more appropriate. Its lines “All these politicians and preachers/Astrologers, godmen and bullshit teachers/We don’t need these motherfuckers/Two-faced, cheap, shit-selling bloodsuckers” gained renewed relevance. When they performed “My Punk Rock Days Are Gone,” Split couldn’t have been further from reality. 

The audience slowly grew in number, but never enough to pack the venue leading a fellow music fan and critic to comment: “At least, nobody can accuse the owners of overcrowding their venue.” The band also opened up the stage for The Lightyears Explode, a punk band that is almost two generations ahead of Split, to perform two tracks including “The Gay Song” and a brand new song titled “The Late Night Song.” Both the audience and the band thoroughly enjoyed the interruption, but Split couldn’t wait to recharge themselves on stage, covering their entire album save for  “60 seconds” and a couple of covers including Guns N’ Roses’ “Dust and Bones” during the gig.

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The mood of the show didn’t veer from easy and laidback until Rishu Singh, former ROLLING STONE INDIA staffer and founder of the independent music set-up ennui.BOMB that promotes indie bands, decided to shake things up a bit. Singh loves a good rant and took to the microphone like a pro to launch into a cuss word-filled diatribe against the system. Towards the end of the show, when the band was sufficiently stoked, guitarist Melroy D’Mello walked out of the green room with a roll of scotch tape and plastered Garreth’s mouth, as the rest of the band continued to play on. He then went on to tape guitarist Aviv Pereira’s fretboard. The symbolic act seemed to tread the fine line between a gimmick and a show of spirit, until Melroy smashed an acoustic guitar to pieces. The stunned audience looked on, cheering the band until the encore was done.

 

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