Category Archives: Music

My Worst Purchases-Bose QC 35 II

Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the Bose QC 35 II headphones, which I regretted buying.

Bose QC 35 II
The Bose QC 35 II, stellar headphones

Don’t get me wrong, the Bose QC 35 II are great headphones, with stellar sound quality and impressive noise cancellation. I just realised after buying them that I am not a “wearing huge headphones in public” kind of guy.

A bit of history, my earphones of choice used to be the Bose Soundsport Wireless, which I happily used for a few years, but lost during my last trip to Xiamen, China. I was quite devastated and for some time, considered buying the same earphones again, but couldn’t find them anywhere in Xiamen. I almost bought Apple Airpods from the Xiamen Apple store, but somehow controlled myself because of the poor audio quality.

After returning to India, I saw the Bose QC 35 II on sale at half price and I had wanted to dip my toes into Noise cancellation, so bought it.

The sound quality & the noise cancellation blew me away (Sony MX3 performs even better they say, but I was a Bose purist then). However, after the first few days of use, the novelty began to wear off. I would feel awkward walking in public with them around my ears, sitting at my desk in office. Having phone calls on them looked even more awkward so I started regretting my decision very soon.

On top of that, Apple soon launched the Airpods Pro, which had everything I wanted in the original Airpods and I was done with the QC 35 IIs.

I eventually sold them to a couple of illiterate Gym Bros via OLX at almost the same price I bought them for, so the regret didn’t last for long.

What in Satan’s name is this?

Well, I was hanging around at a club yesterday, for an office party. Office parties being office parties, I found myself distracted and veered off to the side. Soon, I found my eyes wandering towards the TV. Incidentally, it had MTV on it. I was greeted with this scene

WTF

That is Katy Perry (I think?) with fireworks bursting out of her Bosom. There was no audio (thankfully), so I couldn’t understand what caused her to contract such an ailment, but that seems to be the gist of the song. Please also note that that’s the only place the fireworks seem to be coming from.
I have avoided watching such channels for years, exactly because of such “artists”. Earlier, albums used to sell well because they had good music. These days, it’s all because of such gimmicky videos, synthesized music, skin show and something called “Twerking”.
I feel old.

Think Floyd 2012

I have written about Think Floyd many times before here, here, here and here. Really, with a busy lifestyle and bands not playing on the weekends, they’re the only band I follow regularly (apart from Indian Ocean, who don’t seem to play at Delhi anymore).
They recently announced their first gig of 2012, again at Hard Rock Cafe, Delhi. I had many things going against me this time. I had cold and fever, I had to go to office early the next day, it was the end of the month and I was short on money, but none of that stopped me. After swallowing a crocin, I reached the venue sharply at 21:30, waiting for the show to begin at 22:00.
Their on-stage lineup last night
Anindo Bose: Keyboards
Abhishek Mathur: Guitar and Vocals
Rohit Kulkarni : Guitar and Vocals
Chintan Kalra : Bass and Vocals
Aveleon Vaz : Drums  
The Guy whose name I always forget : Sax
Here’s the set they performed, with a break in between
Side A

  1. Time
  2. What do you want from me
  3. Empty Spaces/Young Lust
  4. When you’re in
  5. Set controls for the heart of the sun
  6. Have a cigar
  7. Echoes Part -1/2
  8. Lost for Words
  9. Burning bridges
  10. Learning to Fly
  11. Hey you

Side B

  1. Coming back to life
  2. Money
  3. Us and Them
  4. Any colour you like
  5. Astronomy Domine
  6. In the Flesh
  7. Run like Hell
  8. Wish you were here (Dedicated to Amit Saigal)
  9. Shine on you crazy diamond (VI – IX)
  10. Great gig in the sky
  11. Comfortably Numb
  12. Shine on you Crazy Diamond (I -IV)

Few points to note about last night’s performance

  • Chintan was sober. He didn’t space out even once. This was a first
  • Gaurav Chintamani seems to have been domesticated-post marriage and spent his time off-stage; perhaps to keep him off the reach of clawing groupies out to get him
  • This was the first time they didn’t perform Dark Side of the moon in its entirety, but the playlist did need an overhaul (and time for more songs), which it got
  • Animals were missing

The Great Gig (under the sky)

Last night was my third Think Floyd night. I have already covered how awesome the band is and how they play during my first and second gigs. This time was as awesome as ever and much better than the second time.
This time the gig was held on the terrace of Vapour bar and lounge, Gurgaon. The ambience was amazing; the best ambience I have ever seen for a live performance. There was a full moon out, there was a cool, pleasant breeze flowing and the metro would whiz by close to the mall every few minutes.
The set included more or less the same combination of songs as the last few times (Yes, Dark Side was played in its entirety).
Since this was an open venue (no entry fees or cover charges), some losers did make it to the venue. It was actually hilarious to watch them make a fool out of themselves.
Loser 1:-
Loser 1 is a short & thin guy, dressed impeccably in formals, sitting at the bar as far away from the band as possible. You can imagine that he grew up in South Delhi & when he was young, his parents didn’t refuse anything he asked for (probably got a BMW at the age of 11); which is why he turned out to be a loser. Suddenly he comes up to the stage
Loser: C’mon guys. Play some Morrison
Chintan: We’re gonna play Morrison next Thursday
Loser: But I want Morrison now
Chintan: Next Thursday
Loser: You don’t know how much money I spend. You gotta play my request
Chintan: Someday we’ll play requests
Loser: Some more fake-accented shit
Chintan: Man I’m not even listening to you anymore
Loser: Utters abuses in Punjabi and goes back to the bar


Loser 2:-
Loser 2 is with a bunch of friends, standing right in front of the stage, dancing, making rap signs and desecrating the best Pink Floyd songs. During an instrument tuning break, he gets up on stage
Loser: September 11 was worst day of life yaar. Mean worst day yaar. I cried yaar. I hate Pink Floyd yaar. I mean Pink Floyd legend yaar. I am Pink Floyd legend yaar. I cannot tell you yaar. I mean september 11 was just worst day yaar. I am the biggest legend of Pink Floyd yaar. I hate Pink Floyd yaar. I just so happy Pink Floyd come to India today yaar.
I works at Accenture yaar. I such big legend, I bunks office tonight for Pink Floyd yaar
Crowd: Fuck Accenture
Loser: You can say that
Crowd: Fuck you
Loser: I am TL!!! (Tech Lead)
With this awe-inspiring statement, he walks off the stage and goes back to dancing. His facebook update tomorrow will be about how he shared stage with Pink Floyd.
Videos (Make sure you click on HD before you start playback)

Different types of “Rockers” you might encounter at a Rock concert in Delhi

Well, going to different Rock concerts in Delhi for more than 3 years, I have noticed how peculiar the crowd is, that comes to these concerts. I have divided them up into the following categories

  1. The Posers:- These are cool Delhi dudes whose main aim in life is to impress  girls and would go to any extent to do so. They come to these concerts impeccably dressed up, cool glasses, hair done up using copious amounts of hair gel. To give themselves the “Rocker” look, they wear things like scarves on their elbows, bad-ass gloves, chains hanging from their pockets etc. To complete the wannabe impression, they talk loudly in fake accented English and address each others as bros/homies/fellow-rocker. Before the concert starts, they would keep shouting things like “We will rock tonight” and “Rock my brains out” etc. It need not be said that their idea of rock music ends at bands like Linkin Park, The Rasmus, Green Day etc. They are mostly accompanied by rocker chick(s) (to be covered later) whom they explain the band’s history in detail and the songs to look out for. They are also apparently friends with at least one of the band members and would try to meet him in front of his friends to prove this to them. During the performance, they would frequently break into fake air-guitaring bent backwards. Why do they do all this? So that they can update their facebook profiles with their photos from the concert so that everyone can know how cool they are.
  2. The Rich:- These are men in 40s from areas like Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, New Friend’s colony etc. They would come to a concert in their Mercs/BMWs/Jags, dressed in expensive suits with their socialite wives and crap-spoilt-fat children. They would keep checking and replying to e-mails from their smartphones (Blackberrys 2 years ago, Androids these days), “sit” at the back (so that no one steps on their expensive suede shoes) and pass the whole concert without any expression. The children would play games on their iPhones. They would  also look at distaste at the poorer crowd and leave some time before the concert gets over, so as not to mix with the poorer crowd.
  3. The Clueless:- These are mostly Jats & Bhaiyas with a lot of money but no culture/class/education. They would be passing by the venue (in their open air jeep) when they would see a crowd gathered and since they have no jobs or anything else to do, would buy tickets (not without haggling) and come in. Inside they would be clueless as to what is happening and would ask young folks “Yo kay chal rahya se” . Once the band starts performing, they would laugh at the type of music being played and also laugh at the headbanging audience and say ”Imme to bhoot badh gayo”. But since they paid money for the tickets, they would stick around till the end, abuse everyone and leave.
  4. The Rocker chicks:- I should start off by saying that 99.9% of Delhi girls should not be allowed to enter rock concerts at all. They are an insult to the band as well as they fans. These are upscale Delhi girls. Their idea of being a rock-chick is to apply heavy makeup and wear small clothes (or Lady GaGa T-shirts). They would let their boyfriends (see: The Posers) haggle with everyone to let them be at the very front of the crowd, have the boyfriends (see: The Posers) bring a chair and sit and watch the concert. They would frequently ask the boyfriends (see: The Posers) to muscle their way through the crowds and bring them drinks. After drinking a little, they would dance to the solo of Comfortably Numb with their fellow rocker chicks while their boyfriends (see: The Posers) keep others away lest someone touches them and derives them of their virginity. Needless to say, the sight of such women makes my blood boil.
  5. The Dopers:- These are mostly Delhi University students. They drink and dope before turning up for the concert. They have long hair (if any) and thin emancipated bodies. They are mostly dressed in black with all-star sneakers. Their favourite genre is Death Metal. The louder the music and more incomprehensible the lyrics, the happier they are and more furiously they bang their heads. Between bands, they go to the corner to smoke some more dope (hidden in their socks or underwear) and then return for some more furious headbanging. After the concert is over, they stand clueless outside the venue with no idea of how to get back home. Surprisingly, this is the least dis likable groups of all the above.

PS: Thanks to Papa tere Papa of Baytay for the Haryanvi text.

Why Delhi/NCR doesn’t deserve Metallica (or any other band)

After the Bryan Adams fiasco and concert cancellation in February, here I am, spending another disappointed night at home. Metallica’s first concert in India, one I was looking forward to for months was cancelled. I don’t agree with what most of the news channels are saying; here’re the events as I saw them myself from the venue

  1. Gates were to be opened at 3:00 PM. The security personnel/organizers didn’t anticipate people queuing up since morning. By the time it was 3:00 PM, there was a huge dis-organized crowd, almost 30,000 strong, impatient to get it. The security personnel should have started organizing people in queues from the very beginning (Hats off to concerts I have seen in Mumbai; excellent organization and obedient people)
  2. Before the gates were to be opened, the security staff shouted at the crowd that unless they get into proper queues, they won’t open the gates. A 30,000 strong crowd (especially a metal concert crowd) can’t organize themselves in a queue just like that.
  3. After failing to form a proper queue, the security personnel just opened the gates. The crowd mass directly in the front of the gate surged forward, the ones on the left or the right, sensing that they aren’t making much progress, started pushing the whole crowd. This was sheer torture. For almost 40 minutes, we had to almost suffocate in the unruly crowd and risk being stampeded if we fell down. The ground was uneven. Many girls almost suffocated and had to plead with the crowd to let them leave.
  4. During entry, the security staff failed to keep up with the massive crowd surge. Not all tickets were checked and frisking was a joke.
  5. Once in, the people right at the front rushed towards the stage, banged against the barriers separating the stage from the crowd and broke them. Slowly people settled down and the crew members noticed that the front barriers were broken
  6. Crew members politely asked the crowd to move back a little so that the barriers could be repaired. The crowd did nothing
  7. Another crew member asked the crowd to do the same. They just kept standing like they couldn’t understand what was said to them.
  8. Another crew member called the crowd ‘buttheads’. At this point, the crowd started abusing back (but still didn’t move)
  9. Another crew-member politely told the crowd that the concert cannot start unless the barricades were repaired and that cannot happen with the crowd still pushing against it. Still, nothing.
  10. This went on for some more time. They also flashed the text on the screens which said the same thing. The crowd just laughed, abused and threw bottles towards the stage
  11. The crowd waited till around 18:30 when they were told that the show was postponed till tomorrow because of technical difficulties. At this point, the people standing towards the front went berserk and passing the already broken barriers, climbed up on the stage. They broke microphones, monitors and speakers.
  12. A few people gathered a banner and set it on fire.
  13. While I decided to leave, my last view was of a group of people trying to pull a huge speaker (towards the middle of the ground) down. There was not a single policeman to witness the whole event
I think the following factors contributed to this disaster
  1. The organizers/security personnel had little or no experience of dealing with a Heavy Metal concert crowd. The failed to ensure order from the very beginning. They didn’t anticipate such an early turnout and didn’t make arrangements for queues.
  2. Press says that the organizers were facing technical issues with sound, I cannot comment on this because I don’t know this for sure, but they did goof up big time. They failed to control an already unruly crowd and kept them waiting for too long before breaking bad news
  3. I feel the crowd was the biggest factor. Most of the people were unruly, already drunk/high and very different from rock/metal crowd you see in cities like Mumbai and Bangalore.
I see reports coming in now that the gig won’t be held tomorrow either, but will instead be scrapped. I understand that a band needs some rest between subsequent gigs (Metallica has another gig in Bangalore on Sunday), but the unruly behaviour/vandalism by the crowd ealed their fate. Metallica will not risk performing before such a crowd. Here’s a video

The people of Delhi/NCR don’t deserve to be rocked by Metallica (or any big band for that matter).

Great Gig Part-2

June 30th, 2011 was a day I had waited for a long time. Think Floyd performed for the second time in Hard Rock Cafe. I had informed everyone of my absence from the other responsibilities of life days ago, as soon as the dates were announced. The concert was slated to start at 10:00 PM, we reached there at 07:00 PM, waited till 8 to get the tickets. The concert actually started around 10:30 PM.
For those who don’t know about the band, read my last post or facebook fan page
https://thescurvydawg.com/2010/05/22/the-great-gig-in-hard-rock-cafe/
http://www.facebook.com/thinkfloydindia

I had a few apprehensions on what the playlist would be like on this occasion. My minimum requirements were Dogs, Sheep, Echoes, Shine on you Crazy Diamond & of course, whole of Dark Side of the Moon.
Un-like last time, the concert started with Coming Back to Life, followed by Poles Apart and then High Hopes. Just when I was yearning for some classic(old) Pink Floyd songs, they Started with Dark Side of the Moon and played the whole album, just like last time.
While they were playing, I started looking around the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Vasundhara Vee, who sang the part last time; however, I could see no signs of her. We were all surprised when the Sax guy (whose name I never heard or forgot) played the vocal parts on his Sax. It was simply amazing and played perfectly. All in all, I can safely say that “The Great Gig in the sky” was the song which surprised me most both the times.
After this came the mandatory alcohol top-up break after which they started with Echoes, followed by Sheep, Dogs, Shine on you Crazy Diamond, finishing with comfortably numb.
A few differences from last time

  1. The show was technically more successful. Last time the Sax sound went in and out, the keyboards couldn’t be heard on many songs, but this time everything seemed good.
  2. Everyone seemed more drunk than last time. Gaurav Chintamani looked like he was almost about to throw up.
  3. Rohit Kulkarni had more role this time, did most of the lead guitar work.
Overall, a very satisfying experience. I hope they do play “Careful with that Axe Eugene” next time.

Return of the Gig!!

More than a year ago, on Thursday, May 20, 2010 something legendary happened. Think Floyd played at Hard Rock Cafe Delhi and changed our lives forever.
For people like us who would never see Pink Floyd live, this was the next best thing, and the best thing we can get ever. I covered this event on this blog a couple of days later
https://thescurvydawg.com/the-great-gig-in-hard-rock-cafe/
One reason the evening was so special was we had mediocre hopes from the concert and instead they blew us away. We didn’t expect a Sax player or Vasundhara singing “Great Gig in the Sky”.
Since then, we have all been waiting for a reprise, and after more than a year the dates have been announced. It’s June 30, the same venue at 9:00 PM (right!!)
http://www.hardrock.com/live2/eventDetails.aspx?LocationID=542&eventID=49111&MIBEnumID=3
With expectations already so high, will the band exceed expectations again or fail to live up to it’s expectations? Only June 30th will tell and we will be there.

Bye Bye Worldspace Satellite Radio!

My Mom gifted me my Worldspace satellite radio around 5 years ago, knowing how much I liked music. Though it was available in India for years before this, it was not very affordable and their receivers were huge and bulky.  My mom got mine for around 5k with a yearly subscription of around 1200 Rupees in 2006.
I took it with me to Nagpur, where, reaching at 11:00 at night, the first thing I did was install the receiver on the roof and listen to music all night long. After that, I knew which direction “South-East” was, in every house I lived. After moving to Kolkata, we went to great lengths to install the receiver on the apartment roof, run the cable down to our flat. Did the same when I moved to 2 different houses in Gurgaon.
While satellite radio might not a hit amongst the general population in India (“Who listens to Radio at home when you have TV?” or “Who pays a subscription fee to listen to radio when you can download pirated songs for free?”), it was a boon for music lovers. Almost every genre of music imaginable, spread across more than 50 channels, with excellent sound quality, it was everything a music lover had been waiting for.
My favorite channels used to be Orbit Rock and Voyager. It was on Orbit Rock that I first listened to Echoes by Pink Floyd. I had tuned in mid-way and the haunting nature of the music instantly mesmerized me. The music went on for 20 minutes and I was left with an overwhelming desire to listen to it again. Thankfully, the Worldspace India website provided a way to find out which song played when and there was also a section to request new songs.
After moving for the second time in Gurgaon, the Radio fell in bad times. I did not get to install it for almost 5-6 months, and even after I did, I didn’t listen to it much, partly due to my hectic schedule.
Then one day, I read in the newspaper that Worldspace had broadcast it’s last song in India on December 31, 2009, the company already having filed for bankruptcy in the US a year ago. I immediately turned on my receiver and as expected, there was no Pink Floyd; just silence.
I felt bad as well as nostalgic. Bad because I didn’t listen to it much during it’s last days. Nostalgic because I had great memories associated with it and there is no alternative to it in India at the present.
Still, I refused to take down the cabling and the antenna placed on the rooftop, braving rain and cold and the harsh Gurgaon summers. I was hopeful that somehow the company would be revived or there would be a different company which would launch services compatible with the existing hardware.
More than a year later, there is no Satellite Radio Service in India and while tidying up my place, I decided to take down the antenna from the rooftop and remove the cabling (due to which I had been unable to fully close my window for years).
From what I can surmise, worldspace failed in India primarily because they didn’t launch a car version of their radio. No one really listens to Radio at home when they have TV and no one would dare to pay to listen to Radio. True blue music lovers are quite scarce, not enough to keep the company afloat. They did team up with airtel DTH TV services for bundled services, but apparently that didn’t help.
However, people do listen to music in their cars. Worldspace should have taken a note from What Sirius and XM have done in the US and teamed up with car  and car stereo manufacturers to put a Worldspace module in mid and high-end car stereos.
Even if Worldspace does return, people would have a hard time trusting them with a pre-paid yearly subscription, having been cut short the last time. I myself am not much fond of Internet Radio, with the lack of dedicated Internet Radio receivers available in this country and unwilling to keep the whole computer running just for radio.
Worldspace, we will miss you. may you R.I.P!!

The Great Gig (In Hard Rock Cafe)

Thursday was one of the greatest evenings I have ever had. Me and goru headed out to Hard Rock Cafe to witness the performance of Think Floyd. Of course expectations were high as it was a Pink Floyd tribute band and we had been waiting for over a week for this. Add to that the un-certainty that we may be thrown out because we were not a “couple”. The band that night chiefly consisted of
ABHISHEK MATHUR : GUITAR & VOCALS
ANINDO BOSE : KEYBOARDS & COMPUTERS
CHINTAN KALRA : DIRECTOR, BASS & VOCALS
SUROJIT DEV : DRUMS 

NICOLAS GIORDANI : SAXOPHONES
ROHIT KULKARNI : GUITAR & VOCALS
VASUNDHARA : VOCA
LS

Let me tell you that Chintan Kalra (of Parikrama fame; pictured above) not only looks like Roger Waters but sings like one too. In fact you can think of him as a bulkier waters or a thinner Springsteen. Anyways, the guy was a showman!!
The gig was to begin at 9:30 but started at 10:30. We were apprehensive because we thought the gig starting late meant a smaller playlist (boy were we wrong). As expected, they began with Shine on you Crazy Diamond, playing all parts perfectly; complete with a Sax solo by Nicholas.
Next came Astronomy Domine. When you go to concerts with bands playing, you expect commercial Floyd songs mainly Coming back to life. Never though did I expect them to play songs from Animals. But they did!! Next came Sheep (at which point I went mad) followed by Dogs (completely Hysterical). They even played Echoes (both 1 AND 2 goddamnit!!) They followed it up with Poles apart from Division bell and the compulsory Another Brick in the wall (all parts) and mother and other songs.

Next came a short break (at which point I realize that they haven’t played a single song from Dark Side of the moon!! When they next came on stage, after a song, my ears are treated to the familiar heart beat.
They start out with Speake to me/Breathe, and play every single fucking song of the album. Time was awesome with an added solo but the greatest surprise of the evening was the great gig in the sky featuring vocals from Vasundhara. Well, I had never thought I would see an Indian woman perform this song live, but she did!! When she began singing, the crown went into hysterics. No one could believe the voice on that girl. She sang the song perfectly with her voice reaching highs and lows un-imaginable by a normal singer.
After that came Money and Us & them (again with Nicholas on the Sax), any colour you like, Brain damage and eclipse. The band finished off with Wish you were here at around 1:30 morning.
By the end of the concert, our throats were completely seized up and we were in a state of shock. Next morning, I could recollect events from the previous night like a dream. Couldn’t believe whether it was true or just a dream. All in all, it was an experience of a lifetime. It makes me shudder to think what would have happened if we had witnessed an actual Pink Floyd performance.
Turn offs: Girls wearing revealing clothes “sitting” on the front row, blocking the view and talking amongst themselves while the band performed. For me, it was sacrilege. Would prefer concerts in a less formal atmosphere, maybe at an open ground.
Another turn off – guys fetching drinks for these girls, pushing their way around while the band was playing, blocking views and disturbing the trance that we were in.
PS: We also learnt about the three “P”s in life we should all yearn to attain!!