TAAQ and Swarathma turn it on at the JD Rock Awards at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore on October 21.
Vineet Jose was there at Bangalore’s Hard Rock Cafe on August 5. Here’s his take on TAAQ that night:
Being in college, going out to Hard Rock Cafe is something that one has weigh the pros and cons of very carefully. But when TAAQ is playing at Hard Rock, it’s a no-brainer. You know that you’re going to get your money’s worth. In fact I think it’s a steal!
Thermal And A Quarter, in my opinion, is one of the most professional bands I’ve ever seen live! Thursday night was no different. Now I’ve been to a lot of TAAQ gigs, but every show is just awesome.
You have to give it up to the band for being so stubborn about playing only original music for so long. Even their covers are ‘Thermalised’. Only TAAQ can get away with changing songs like ‘Hey Jude’ and still getting the crowd to appreciate it. Bruce asked, “You think Paul would’ve liked that?”
I’m sure Paul would reply, “It’s bloody brilliant mate!”
Now to the originals, what can one say, every single one is just a trip. TAAQ always likes to change things up. To get in Mr. Ravichandra Kulur on the flute was stroke of genius! The flute fell seamlessly into the tweaked version of ‘One Small Love’ and played its part in that sweet song. It was also nice to hear Bruce’s guitar fills for ‘Paper Puli’ on the flute. Rajeev’s drum patterns on ‘Surrender’ almost make you want to dance. I miss Rzhude a lot, but Prakash seems to be right at home with the band and puts in some really groovy bass lines. He puts in some interesting solos as well. Great to see the overall vibe of the band still being the same . But missed Jason on the keys and the backup vocals. And Bruce, is he a guitarist who sings, or a vocalist who plays guitar? One of life’s great mysteries. His guitar tone is superlative through all their songs, whether it be ‘Simply Be’, ‘Respectable’ or ‘Drunk’. He has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, with his signature witty response to random drunk comment or gesturing to the crowd to sing softly, as though turning the volume down on a radio! The two new originals were great (one was ‘Clean Up’ I think). Thanks to the band for releasing ‘Grab Me’. Perfect for bluesy nights. But please, for god’s sake come out with a new album fast! ‘Ordinary Affair’ and ‘Chameleon’ (just to name a few) are just addictive!
My favourites for the night were ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Grab Me’ and ‘Chameleon’. But I like all the songs because it’s so nice to see a band absolutely love what they are doing!
Another trademark is the smile on the face of each one of them on stage. Great job guys!
See ya at the next gig.
Samson Madella from Hyderabad writes this ringside first-person account of the night where the state had no name:
Me and Rishi, an ex-TAAQ roadie, were with Bruce in his hotel room, catching up, talking songs, gear and biting his ears with questions while he was ‘leesurely’ penning down the set list.
“Wonder how it’s gonna be… we haven’t played Hyderabad for a long time and are playing our new material mostly,” Bruce expressed with a tiny whim of uncertainty. Moments later, Rajeev and Rzhude walked in, looked at the set list, nodded… that’s all.
The aptly titled show Where the State has no Name was a stunner and a bummer of sorts to the crowd at the Hard Rock Café Hyderabad. As an ardent TAAQ devotee, I noticed 10 things… 10 things you need to know about the night and the crowd (in no particular order):
1. Pockets of musicians in the front row counting odd time signatures.
2. Guitar players gleefully fretting… ‘How-does-he-do-that-man’ over every blue note.
3. “These-guys-have changed-since-I-saw-them-last”
4. “Dude, this band is boring, why did you bring me here… gimme back my entry fee”
5. A cute girl from Dilli Oye singing almost all the songs.
6. Audience decibel levels rising from 100 db – 145db (Origami to Roxanne)
7. “The bass guitar is actually driving the band, man”
8. “Let the band guys know that there are people who appreciate their brand of music in Hyderabad too” – A brilliant local musician, Anand Paul, who left halfway through the gig
9. “Chanineese Items”…”Without Wings”…”Jupiter Café”…”Motorbyckle”… all old songs denied!
10. “Whaaat? they wrote a song for this show … what talent, bah bah bah, kya baat hain”
As men, we feel very flattered when a woman says nice things about us. So when the young and eloquent Ramya Sriram gushed about our gig at Hard Rock Cafe, Hyderabad, where we played last Thursday, we blushed. And then, without a thought, plagiarised this bit from her blog and cut-paste-posted it here.
The show was brilliant. They started off with one of my favourites, Look at Me, and by the end of the song I was already filled with that feeling only Bruce’s tu ta paraburapurooo can express. The new song, Where the State has No Name is a bluesy, catchy number and has one of those choruses that comfortably settle down in your head. A total singalong song. I really liked that they wrote this one. I’ve always believed that TAAQ is an intelligent band; from their lyrics to the structure of their songs, there’s a characteristic subtle wit that underlies. They’re classic, they’re contemporary. They reach out to the audience with songs like this one, and previously, with Keep the Promise, One Small Love and Shut up and Vote.
It was the first time I heard them play their signature cover, with its long intro (oh what tones on the guitar!) delightfully breaking out into Roxanne. At this point I glanced at the bouncer, contemplating my fate if I did get hysterical. De-arranged was anything but. I love how all the parts come together in their songs. I grinned throughout the show, and everytime Bruce went hic! during Drunk I grinned a little more.
Read it all here.
We’ll post some pics once our missing-in-action roadie with the throaty heavy-metal caller tune resurfaces with them. Meanwhile, if any of you have taken photos on Thursday, be kind enough to share them so that we can see what we looked like that night.
And here’s to all of you in Hyderabad: You made it a very memorable gig for us, no matter what you name your state. You have spirit, and you have guts for braving the bundh to watch us. Thank you!
As for ‘where the state has no name’, we’re not done making a noise about that yet!
We have a special fondness for Hyderabad because our third record Plan B was put together there at Ramoji Film City in 2004. Now, it saddens us to hear that this erstwhile princely state that has its own cricket team is turning into Jekyllabad (if you will excuse the atrocious pun), torn asunder as it is by contending claims for statehood. War-cries for new states are ringing across the country. And in nearby Puduchery (Pondicherry as we still love to call it), a new fight has erupted against statehood.
Drawing and re-drawing borders within borders… what a state for a nation to be in, we thought. Didn’t you too?
While we have time left, we shall give our fans in undivided Andhra Pradesh something to sing about. Here’s the chorus of a new bluesy number we composed just for the occasion.
Where the state has no name
Borders like boulders thrown
In a laughing god’s game
The dice fall in unkind spots
In a land of polyglots
Where the state has no name
We’ll perform this number at our concert in Hyderabad on January 21. Be there and don’t forget to sing along.
Concert details: Hard Rock Café, GVK 1, First Floor, Road No 1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. Telephone: 91-40-4476-7900
Watch this space for updates.
Yea, it’s 26/11.
But we will not be in Mumbai.
We will be in the capital, regaling you with every reason not to dunk your head in sorrow but to free yourself from paranoia and terror.
And for the occasion, TAAQ will be louder than usual, with many more voices joining in the chorus. And nearly every song will have a touch of Broadway. Be there — you haven’t seen (or heard) us like this before!
Never has a Hard Rock Cafe gig sounded so delicious (loud, yes, but good) and not in a long time has TAAQ played its four-chambered heart out like it did on Thursday night at Bangalore. And I say this as a very disgruntled photographer who found the lighting, the cross-beams and the fat railings thwarting the remotest photographic possibility. The one thing that made my night was the way these guys played, and the way the gig sounded.
There was talk of a “new PA” and the boys sounded very excited about it. But I know at least three HRCs in India to be notorious for their acoustics — for the most part, they are hollow, sepulchral places and the stages (except in Pune) are placed where most people wouldn’t care to notice the band. Which means the band usually must make most of the effort to get itself noticed.
I didn’t pay much heed to Shut Up, but right from Respectable, the quality of the sound was very impressive. Actually, that nice lush sound was a pleasant surprise and I had to keep pinching the next guy (a very unlucky Umesh) to convince myself that it wasn’t my uncharacteristic sobriety that was making me hear things.
Tripping over a very drunk couple who first tripped on the music, then on each other and then sprayed the floor with fragrant bile, I craned my neck for a decent angle and finding none, resolved to wait it out and listen to the gig for a change. A very smart decision, in the end.
There were heartbeats of an old TAAQ magic — some impromptu, loosening-up jams and evidence of visible on-stage chemistry especially from the freshly recuperated Rudolph David. Won’t Stop and Mighty Strange were followed up by a slightly muscular version of Hey Jude. Ordinary Affair was tight and Holy Jose had an extra smack of la-di-da from Jason. My favourites from the evening were Drunk and Grab Me.
More photos on our Flickr page
Yes, it’s true.
Amit Heri, Bangalore’s sensational emissary of world jazz, joins Thermal And A Quarter for a spellbinding evening that no guitar buff dare miss.
For those in the dark, jazz guitar player Amit Heri has performed at top international music festivals including the Berlin Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Paris Jazz Festival, Rome World Music Festival, WOMAD, etc. He has shared stage with Charlie Mariano, Zakir Hussain, Mandolin U. Srinivas, Ustad Sultan Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, Trilok Gurtu, Robert Miles, Salif Keita & Angelique Kidjo.
Thursday night is his first gig with TAAQ, featuring Bruce Lee Mani, Rajeev Rajagopal, Rzhude and friends.
8 PM, Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore.
Dump that Thursday evening conference call or take it from Hard Rock Cafe instead. Treat your office colleagues to the sound of at least two guitars doing their thing.
Think of it as our recession tip for a pay hike.