Under The Influence
The lovely Priyanka Chopra, now pursuing a musical career in Los Angeles, told an Indian newspaper of her choice recently that she is “very elitist” and likes “giving attention only to special people.” She added that she considers herself “intelligent” and takes “interest in things beyond my bubble.” That’s uncanny since I, too, consider myself elitist, inÂtelligent and take an interest in things beyond her bubble.
But that’s where our similarities end, alas. Priyanka went on to say, “Bono asked me if there was rock in India. I consider myself a good brand ambassador and immediately sent him Rockstar, Rock On!! and Dostana as he wanted one of my films too.” I would have given the U2 frontman a different list that would have definitely included the music of two bands I heard at the Second Ziro Festival of Music in September: Donn Bhat+Passenger ReveÂlator and Dosser’s Urge.
Musician-producer Bhat and his band were superb at Ziro, both in terms of the sound-ball bursting out of the stage as well as the pure mojo radiating. Listening-watching them belt out the heart-pumping, ska-tinged “The Fear” was like sloshing about in a tub of pherÂomones. The sheer buzz in “Was An Animal” grew into a sonic smoke as the multi-instruÂmental, multi-band membering Sankarshan Kini blew his heavy trumpet.
Listening to the studio music of this Mumbai-based band with a trip-hop-rock power is listening to the best from anywhere in the world. “Samson Delilah,” its gromp-stomp acÂcompanying the bass-line-dunked chorus of “You know you’re always there… You’re just a liar” rising from the slow swirl, isn’t something Bono should dig his ears into. It’s someÂthing for Brian Eno to be frowning with excitement about.
Then there’s Dosser’s Urge. This trio from Shillong doesn’t have the range or depth that Donn Bhat+Passenger Revelator reverberates with. But there’s some kind of enriched uraÂnium unit built into this band that makes these guys a starburst of sound. Tight as peach, brothers David and Gideon Kom along with Waldo Cronu on drums belt out pop-punkÂish gems old rock’n’roll-style. Songs like “Back to the River,” “Jinx,” “Mother” and “ExpeÂrience Love” bounced around the Ziro meadow during their afternoon set.
I pick up their eponymous EP and am astounded by the opening track, “Stale Style.” The scabby itch of a riff is as infectious as it’s head-banging-friendly. There’s an Arctic MonÂkeys buried inside the song as David, a fab vocalist-guitarist, punches out, “Every once in a while/ I’m drowning in your denial when you say everything’s okay/ nothing’s changed and there’s nothing to blame,” which unfurls into a hammering chorus.
You realise that Dosser’s Urge are still trying to find their own sound. “You’re Broke Again” sounds like a chunky Green Day formulation of anthemic faux-punk-pop. “Tick Tick” is so besotted with a melody line that it leaves lazy, blank spaces in the song. But the nifty psych-rock guitars and vocals of David Kom make these blokes at the cusp of something special.
So dunno how Bono’s taking to the stash that PriÂyanka’s unloaded on him. But I’m reckoning if I meet some inquisitive gent someÂwhere in that neck of the woods, I’ll give him some gyaan about listening to Donn Bhat+Passenger RevÂelator and Dosser’s Urge. Till that happens, I’m givÂing you that dope.Â