Gig Report: Garage Jam

Expectations are a bitch, aren’t they? Clutching on to a phone, your inbox, your horoscope if you’re so inclined; just how many times have you ended up with the proverbial egg on your face, feeling like a deflated balloon as you watch the wisps of your hopes waft by your nose, leaving behind a welter of unrealized fantasies, a recurring sequence of broken optimism to perseveringly spit back in your face? The fuck did I, shouldn’t have, wasn’t the last time enough….too late, motherfucker, sorry.

Perhaps the context would be lost on people residing out of Bangalore, but sometimes, a Rs. 300 ticket and a free beer just isn’t enough. Oh, I’ve been to plenty of these sorts, the same 3 bands playing their tired garbage, uninventive and lacking of all energy and passion, that they shove down obnoxiously obsequious, sheep-minded throats, day in and day out, objectivity be fucking damned. Willfully open mouths, maws wide in fake anticipation, agape in pretense and thrall, gulping down the last drip of self aggrandizing ejaculate that these self styled defenders of the faith have to offer.

Fortunately, and I hope cunts realize this, every now and then, something like the evening of April 27, 2013 comes around, the ultimate expression of underground music that can be found anywhere, anytime . Get this: you’re walking or driving down a busy road running through the median of the city’s nervous system, to your left is a music shop which has its garage thrown open, and you can hear loud strains of heavy metal as you go past. The entry is free, you can be who’s who, all you have to do to sample a slice is walk down the treacherous slope and be enveloped in a concoction of exquisite humidity and some of the heaviest bands this town has to offer. Fags and booze? Ha!

Four bands played this show, to the best of my addled mind. Ontologous started off with what I remember as a pretty intricate brand of technical death metal. I wish I had paid more attention, but the couple of songs I did hear well were well executed, fleet-footed and mostly devoid of the core-ish bullshit that turns me off.

Pisakas were next, and I can uninhibitedly say that this is the best brutal death metal band I have heard out of India. It’s a small sample size, granted, but these guys were ON! Plenty of mid-paced parts, but no gratuitous slamming here; the band shows  brilliant balance between much-loved old Cannnibal Corpse stylings, general old-school death metal, and more modern patterns. And the vocalist? Little bastard that he is, Pranaw, if I get the name right, has impeccable control over the sustain of his squeals and growls. I don’t know of many vocalists in India that can pull off uncupped acrobatics to any degree of consistency. This guy does. Simply superb.

On came Nauseate, another side project of Charlie and Cliffy, brothers in gore n debauchery with Abhishek on guitars and Shelton on drums, but  a venture far more aligned with conventional grindcore than has been the wont with the guys of late. Unfortunately, Nauseate got the worst sound of the evening; a minimalist setup alright, but this might as well have been a bass n drum act. Cliffy’s guitars were completely inaudible from where I was standing, and for the riff-oriented music that I know this to be, it was a considerable disappointment. Saving graces were a couple of Gulti farmers who went up, clad in lungis and head scarves, and proceeded to mosh and headbang in beat! For that brief moment in time, those fuckers were feeling it, and hey, who are we to begrudge them?

Last band of the night were Grossty who have evolved into this grinding monstrosity, easily the finest band now on India’s underground circuit. It is a band that has its sound figured out, off and on stage, who always seem to come fully loaded with adrenaline and various other nefarious substances, to give the audience, be it 50 or 500, their time’s worth. Even I, as an occasional listener, have started picking out songs like the He-Goat, She-Goat ditty or the one about the fecal propensities of television. Have you ever seen the insanity that prevails at the Obscene Extreme gigs? Grossty, ladies and gents, are the closest thing India – our shitty, lily-wristed India – has on it.

Music, money, profit margins. Yeah, yeah, who wants to lose money, ever? But sometimes, it pays to remember (not literally, mind, to all the Semendealers of the world) , and to fully enjoy why we, as listeners and as musicians, choose to listen and to play this style of music.

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