IN THE VAULT
RAG n ROLL
5 RECORDS THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE
- The Last Verse of Madness: LOST OBLIVION/MORGOTH
- From Mars to Sirius: GOJIRA
- Das Donnerduett: DONNERGROLL
Posted on 22 June 2008 by admin
IN THE VAULT
RAG n ROLL
5 RECORDS THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
IN THE VAULT
RAG n ROLL
5 RECORDS THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE
KNOW MY GEAR
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
ARTICLE: DIGITAL CANCER
Written by: Mahendra Rai
There was a time when I found the activity of searching for music was a fun-filled adventure. I considered it as a fun-filled adventure merely due to the trouble that I personally had to go through to get hold of that particular music. It was exciting and much worthy of wasting your precious time on rather than trying to get laid. Not that sex is unimportant but you have all your life to get overdosed with sexual gratification until you don’t want it anymore. But the phase or time like this rarely comes in your life that will manage to imprint a memorable scar which you will want to fondly look back and feel nostalgic about all those stupid things that you did to get hold of that particular piece of music.
My musical journey started out similar to that of any normal kid. At first I discovered bland Nepali pop and rock bands along with equally bland and boring Western pop music. It wasn’t until I scanned through my cousin brother’s record collection that I got introduced to a much more exciting world of heavy metal and rock music. Bands like Iron Maiden, Guns n’ Roses, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam were familiar to the youths of my age. Venturing further into this unknown territory I got introduced to some of the most intense and extreme musical forms like Death Metal and Black Metal.
Death Metal and Black Metal was a new term for me and sounded interesting at the same time. Unfortunately, there was virtually little or no resource at all in Kathmandu to get hold of these materials despite the fact ‘KatShop’ played a major role in merchandising underground metal records. Still the records were not enough and getting hold of all the obscure and hard to find records soon became an obsession. What started out as a curiosity soon became a desire and I set out to find every essential underground metal record that I could. I searched different record shops around Kathmandu in despair but in one or two occasions, fortunately, it was not in vain.
I soon learned that if I was to find the stuff that I was looking for I had to resort to the Internet. Thus, I was introduced to the wonderful world of ‘P2P’ file sharing applications like ‘Napster’, ‘AudioGalaxy’, ‘WinMX’ and ‘BearShare’. Well honestly, these software were pain in the ass but nonetheless worthwhile. Imagine downloading an album at the speed of 2Kbps to 8Kbps (at maximum) when downloading a single song would take around half an hour. Furthermore, imagine the downloaded song file either having a poor sound quality, corrupted or simply not complete. The frustration was overwhelming when a downloading process halted at 90% for the rest of the week. I hated it but it was the only viable solution to get what I needed. This was all back in the early 2000s. Back in those days even the Internet was much less of a musical inventory. Finding death metal or black metal records were equally hard as it was to find such materials in a normal record shop in the streets of Ktm.
As we now move into the age of online shopping where everything is one step away from a click, we seem to be spoiled with different choices. These days all we have to do to find an album is to type in the name of an item and click. With one click you can find almost every music records, even the obscure ones. It has caused an obstruction in our behavior. With vast choices of countless musical records we have forgotten to listen to the music and explore it at the same time. We don’t listen to music anymore we scan through it as it is pointless because we didn’t go through any struggle to find it. Looking back now I wish I was once again that 15 year old kid with a huge obsession.
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
ARTICLE: TOP 5 LIVE ALBUMS
Written by: Bikash Rajkarnikar
PEARL JAM: LIVE AT BENAROYA HALL
PEARL JAM – although an outstanding band inside the four walls- shine the brightest when they perform live. Throughout the years, they have increasingly packed up their live performances with such amazing songs, talent, energy and love, that they are on the verge of being defined solely by their live shows, and Live at Benaroya Hall is the perfect exclamation mark, if it ever comes to that. Boasting a very versatile set list (as is the case with every PJ show), this supposedly ‘acoustic’ album (you cannot seriously keep McCready and his electric apart for long) is packed up with amazing versions of Low Light, Immortality (with a brilliant Mike solo), Crazy Mary and Masters of War. But the real gems of this album are Black (possibly the best live version ever with an amazing crowd singing the whole last verse), Man of the Hour (an amazing first ever ‘tearjerker’ performance), Can’t Keep (a solo Vedder performance that is moving, to say the least), and a stripped down version of Lukin. PEARL JAM at their best, when they’re sitting.
LED ZEPPELIN: BBC SESSIONS
This much awaited 2 disc live album covers the BBC studio sessions and live concerts by ZEPPELIN over a course of 2 years from 1969 to 1971. What it also does is shows how the best band in the world evolved over these two years and why they were/are considered the best band in the world. The first disc is basically the band morphing all their creative genius into these songs that would be turned into masterpieces. You can hear the ‘in-process-to-greatness’ vibe throughout the disc. Every single version of the three (!) repetitions of Communication Breakdown has its own unique presence to it. There is not a single song that is not spectacular here, with my favorite being How Many More Times, with an awesome ‘squeeze my lemon’ hookup towards the end. The second disc is mostly stuff from 1971, where you witness the band fully morphed into giants and belting out worked-up versions of Dazed and Confused and Whole Lotta Love with relentless force and an effortless ease at the same time. When in comes to Zeppelin (and to rock, obviously), this might be the ‘be all end all’ live album to have. (‘How the West was Won’ is nowhere near this album, contrary to whatever anyone else might say).
JOHN MAYALL: THE TURNING POINT
This live album recorded just after the BLUESBREAKERS had broken up shows MAYALL exploring other avenues of music, and coming up with something wildly extraordinary. With a hint of blues, a lot of jazzy progressions and even flutes and all, this live album is a far cry from the guitar/organ driven sound of the early BLUESBREAKERS records. It will probably take you a while to realize that there are no drums at all in this ‘live’ album! (Rumor is that this was a one-off gig and they didn’t have enough time to look for a drummer so they just said ‘what the hell…’ and played without one). The lack of drums gives this album an ‘organic’ feel and a lot of improvisational space for these four guys. There are some really ambitious jamming going on in the middle of the album, especially in California and Thoughts about Roxanne. The climax of the album comes in the form of Room to Move, a vibrant, up-tempo harmonica-heavy number that WILL get you rolling and shaking.
BAND OF GYPSYS
If nothing else, this album qualifies as a top 5 alone on the strength of Machine Gun. Twelve+ minutes of sonic assault blended perfectly with moments of melodic clarity. The end of this song probably gave birth to a hundred Morellos and defined ‘noise rock’. Formed after Hendrix parted way with the Experience, BAND OF GYPSYS was an awesome trio of supergifted musicians melting their experiences into the few live shows that they managed to pull off. Who knows is another killer song, along with Changes (with Buddy Miles doing the vocals) and Message of Love. What this album lacks in track number (only six songs) it makes up in content as you find Hendrix and the Gypsys venturing into uncharted sonic territories. A peek into what could have been. Also recommended is the much longer “Live at the Fillmore East” album, which has most of the songs from this album and then some.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: LIVE AT THE GRAND OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM
What do you do when you see Zach De La Rocha starting straight at you pointing his fingers with that supercrazy look in his eyes? You fucking TESTIFY!!! And testify they did, at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in LA in September 2000, where RATM played their last two shows before breaking up. If Rage songs are monsters, then Rage live is that same monster on steroids, speed and supersized at the same time. It is an overdose of adrenaline, and a hard one to listen without moving any body parts. From the starting lines of ‘what’s up Los Angeles’ fading into the intro to Bulls on Parade to the frantic frenzy of Freedom, it is one big rush of a live album. De la Rocha sounds ferocious as always, and you can almost see him doing what I said in the first line to you through your speakers/earphones. That is a scary sound/sight. But it sounds just right. RAGE! RAGE!! RAGE!!!
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
ARTICLE: BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FAITH NO MORE
Written by: Umes Shrestha
FAITH NO MORE is a crazy band (well.. was a crazy band) to define and tag into a particular genre, simply because there’s no band like FNM and nor does FNM’s music sounds like any other music. FNM’s music is a fusion of everything that we know from metal to rock to rap to funk to balled to pop and from straight forward to weird to eclectic to confusing to hyper imaginative to totally captivating. So many artists have tried doing this, many bands have done that however in the world of Alternative Rock/Metal, FNM were one of the pioneers, and the best there ever will be. Check any present day Alternative acts, and you would almost easy notice FNM-ness in each one of them.
I wish I did not have to use such hyperbolic adjectives but its FNM’s legacy and music that demand adjectives which are rare yet simplistically general. I am a FNM-holic and for me FNM is the supreme band in this world.. period. So this text will obviously be filled with subjectivity and a whole lot of puffery.
I would like to write this guide just the way I got to listen to FNM. So if you guys are interested, you guys would want to check the albums in the following order, and please do so with the lyrics in front of you, without which your conviction on the band will be blury and incomplete.
First listen to:
ANGEL DUST (Year: 1992)
“You’re perfect, yes, it’s true
But without me you’re only you
Your menstruating heart
It ain’t bleedin’ enough for two”
THE Best FNM line up and THE Best FNM album. Angel Dust has to be the most heaviest of all the FNM albums. Not only that, this album reaches the height of eccentricity and supreme weirdness.
I was religiously into METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN, LED ZEPPELIN, AC/DC and such standard and predictable bands but FNM simply knocked me off my perceived notion on metal, heaviness and overall music.
One of the key elements in the album is Mike Patton’s vocal style. Lord Patton demonstrates how almost ridiculously talented he is in using his awesome range to perfectly execute the essence of the songs. Lord Patton does not sing, he is not a singer at all. He is an instrument on his own that shapes and transforms the normal composed songs into divinity.
Angel Dust consists of songs like “Land of Sunshine”, “Smaller and Smaller”, “Caffeine”, “Mal Practice” etc which are the heaviest songs in the album and in songs like “Midlife Crisis” and “Kinder Garden” FNM reveals how adept they were fusing a little bit of rap and a whole lot of funk with keyboard laden heaviness. The last song “Midnight Cowboy” is a perfect closure for the album, which is so anti-everything the album till this song was all about.
Almost all of the songs are so different and diverse and instantly recognizable – which is in fact the strongest of FNM’s aspect. Lyrics are equally unusual, written totally differently than a normal song format.
Then listen to the “Nascent” masterpiece:
THE REAL THING (Year: 1989)
“Surprise! you’re dead!
Ha ha! open your eyes
See the world as it used to be when you used to be in it
When you were alive and when you were in love
And when I took it from you!”
“The Real Thing” might be the most accessible album for anyone who wants to experience the ultimate FNM-ness. Fresh and mildly heavy with a lot of “cheerful” energy abound the album. This is FNM’s third album but the first one with Lord Patton who brought a lot of new ideas in vocal patterns and lyrics writing.
“To touch the roots of experience
The most basic ingredients
To see the unseen glitter of life
And feel the dirt, grief, anger and strife”
Another thing that’s starkly evident through out the album is Lord Patton’s vocals which are usually an octave higher than in the later albums. Patton sounds a bit pitchy and deliberately sings out with his now legendary “nasal” tone.
And to another classic:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR (Year: 1997)
“This is getting old and so are you.
Everything you know and never knew.
Will run through your fingers just like sand.
Enjoy it while you can.”
The first thing that’s so amazing is the ultimate arrogance of the album title. Who else would have devised the title! Well, it did not win any Grammy Awards but was it the album of the year – it was one of them, I would say.
This “last” album by FNM was no different from the Patten-era stuffs however they had a new guitarist in the line up and that added a lot of dark brooding melodies which were rarely present in the earlier stuffs. Quirkiness of “Angel Dust” and funkiness of “Introduce Yourself” were totally gone and replaced by the eminent darkness that was surrounding the band in their last days. Despite that, they still had some moments of early FMN-ness in the songs like “Mouth to Mouth” and “Got that Feeling”. This album also consists of an absolute master piece in any anti-love theme ballad “She Loves Me Not”.
“It won’t begin until you make it end.
Until you know the how the where and the when.
With a new face you might surprise yourself.”
FNM broke after this album. It was one of the saddest news I had to read, however what they left behind was so enough for my whole life to ponder up and enjoy.
With a little caution:
INTRODUCE YOURSELF (Year: 1987)
This album is also a very intimate part of the FNM journey, so it’s a must listen as well. Young, energetic and quite interestingly FNM had a black singer, Chuck Mosley. I hated Chuck Mosley’s vocals at the first listen however after some listens I realized that his style was definitely different – had a slobbering, nerdish yet powerful vocals, almost childlike, goofy and playful.
They even sang “We Care A Lot” mocking the Live Aid, which was the nicest thing any “intelligent” band could do that time.
Lastly listen to:
KING FOR A DAY, FOOL FOR A LIFETIME (Year: 1994)
This album, to me, still remains one of the hardest to understand and adjust to because of constant mood changes, which again reflects the turmoil the band was facing. It is guitar dominated (great work by Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle) and keyboard parts are few and rarely stand out. However, when one becomes addicted to FNM, this album will naturally creep inside until you are forced to love it.
“Don’t look so surprised
Blow that candle out,
We’re gonna kick you”
Like I said, no single FNM song is alike. And with songs like “Evidence”, “Star AD”, “Caralho voador”, “Ugly in the Morning”, etc FNM show their ever quirkiness in innovation. And another absolute masterpiece – “Take this Bottle” – one of the most “beautiful” depressing FNM moments you will ever experience.
Not for a casual listener.
Other stuff you might wanna check out as well:
FAITH NO MORE (1990) Live at the Brixton Academy
MR. BUNGLE (1991) Mr. Bungle
TOMAHAWK (2001) Tomahawk
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
REVIEWS: CARPATHIAN WOLVES – GRAVELAND
Genre: Black metal
Reviewed by: Roshan K.C.
While many listeners continue to argue “Carpathian Wolves” as Rob Darken’s one among his many hoary creations, still there may be plenty like me who never gets fed up of the rawness and originality that “Carpathian Wolves” bears.
A strong reason for which may be due to the fact that it is GRAVELAND’s first venture as a full length studio album. Though the music is not always so ‘very fast tempo-ed’, in overall the album sounds as if it is building an un-restful and chaotic atmosphere where the listener may feel the utter restlessness and haste to obliterate everything under the sun.
The album as an output can’t be called perfect on account of its production (rarely anything is perfect). But at the same time no serious listener would miss-out on GRAVELAND’s this first full length musical treat just whining about its production and whatever.
The ‘intro’ provides a perfect warm-up for an abstract journey that awaits with this highly inventive Polish black metal band. The ambience that Darken wants to create and maintain throughout the album is almost understood after you hear his keyboard
works, one of the darkest of that era. Second track “Barbarism Returns” is one hell of an experience with its melodically fluctuating pace and beats plus occasionally
returning background keyboard riff only to intense the musical ambience already maintained through rhythm guitars.
Drums (done by Capricornus) may be deliberately or may be not – is powerful and liberal (better say spontaneous) with a sound like that of drumming for a marching with lots of take offs from the beat during the tempo change, but who cares as long as I find it raw and even more intriguing. Karcharoth seems efficient on bass guitars in maintaining the intensity and ‘melodic drive’ of the release; despite his “mental disease” in Darken’s words on account of enmity between the two. About Darken’s raspy vocals I have nothing to say except its pure fucking evil, just like his keyboard. Though it was extremely difficult to choose one track out, for me Gem of this album is “At the Pagan Samhain Night” because of its great (yes! great) epical melody and drum beats. It can get hypnotizing and scary at the same time with buzzing guitars and a few womanly screams, clearly audible only through a good headphone set. So if you want a quality dose of highly epical, evil and raw old school black metal music then I think you got the answer now..!!
“At midnight blood is more precious than gold
In the Northern Carpathians…”
Recommended for the Fans of:
Darkthrone,Blut Aus Nord,Nocturnus, Xasthur(esp.. A gate through Bloodstained mirrors), Burzum (esp..ASKE), Nargaroth etc.
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
REVIEWS: BARBARIC REGULATION – EPITAPH
Reviewed by: Umes Shrestha
I remember the first time I saw EPITAPH play, it was at 2004’s Metal Mania -3 gig, held at Station Pub, Thamel. “Slayer cover garcha ray hai yo band le,” one of the attendants was saying. That gig, EPITAPH played a couple of Slayer songs, may be a Sepultura song too and they played “Murda Ko Desh”. I exclaimed – “oh ho, yesto fuchey haru le pani babbal garyo!”
Now some years later, with more gigs and live experience, EPITAPH has released their debut album “Barbaric Regulation” just a couple of months ago. Produced by the band and recorded/mixed in Vinapa Studio, the album is an absolute thrash death monster, which contains eight beautifully crafted songs ranging from mid paced controlled aggression to groovy thrashy assault on the political and social system of our country.
I would not say this is a very well produced album, however there lies the charm. It sounds raw, primitive and almost evil. One little glitch is that the drums are mixed high and the hi-hat is more prominent than required. Vocals should have been upped a little too. Otherwise, the overall sound is just brilliant.
In case you are wondering, it’s the hand of evil clutching the whole Nepal – country which is messed up in violence, terror and political turmoil. The artwork goes perfectly with the album title. Today, may be our country is heading towards some peace and positivity but the situations still remain dark and hazy just like the cover art and the lyrics portray so meaningfully.
Standard death metal vocals, deep gruffy growl and Khagendra [vocalist] also tries high screams in a song.
Absolutely love the riffs and the guitar tone! Yes, riffs are generally old SLAYER inspired however the guitar solos are sweet and full of melodic swings and turns. The mid paced intro riff to “Murda Ko Desh” is the best one. It makes me imagine some one stabbing a huge knife into the throat of another guy – again and again.
Even though not audible clearly most of the times, it is pretty evident that the bass is providing massive chunks of rumbling low notes. Runs perfectly along with the riffs.
Again, the mixing worries me a lot – especially the level of hi-hat. It gets a little annoying on the half-beat parts but this certainly does not take any credit from the drummer’s ability to play controlled and standard double bass patterns. And it sounds natural as they have used a real live drum kit in the studio rather than relying on programmed drums.
Is this album anything new? No but Yes. EPITAPH has not tried to do anything new that has not been done before especially now that most of us have access to internet and get to listen to more and more of foreign metal bands. So, it’s the same riffs, the vocals, drums and the patterns everything has been done before. However, the significance of this album lies in the fact that this has to be the first of its kind in Nepali Metal Scene. A full length thrash-death album that symbolizes the passion and perseverance of the young musicians totally immersed into the world of metal and underground.
Get this album.. BUY it. Support EPITAPH and Support the local scene and never miss this band play live.
Recommended for the Fans of:
(early) Slayer, (early) Sepultura
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
REVIEW: MELT – BANANA
Reviewed by: Anurag (error)
Date: Jun 28, 2007
Bands: MELT-BANANA, opened for by THE SHOW IS THE RAINBOW
Venue: Sokol Underground, Omaha, Nebraska
I don’t usually go to concerts. Not because I don’t enjoy them. I’m just always too busy or I forget or I just feel like I can’t be bothered (they also call this lazy) being pushed and shoved and maybe kicked a few times just to see the band a few miles away, jumping up and down like fleas, the view intermittently blocked by the back of the head of the asshole in front of me. So it’s safe to say that I have never really been to a show in a long time. And at least not in the US. Not to any good shows anyway. After the profound experience that came from watching a Jackyl show one year (they had an amazing song called “She Loves My Cock.” The whole band would sing the chorus.) I thought things would stay that way for a while until the day when, like the people that go to Scorpions concerts today, bald and half-blind, I would finally make my way to see whichever of my favorite bands would have managed to sell out long enough to accompany me to old age. Probably THE ROLLING STONES, who are going to outlive everybody, until another species of animal inherits the Earth. Not that I’m into the Rolling Stones THAT much, for the record.
So by the time I get to the MELT-BANANA show in Omaha, Nebraska on Jun 28 of 2007, it is safe to say I am a little excited. MELT-BANANA is a Japanese band who plays a brand of music that has been labeled many things, my favorite of which has been spazcore. They play a very hyperactive blend of crazed out punk and thrash that is very abrasive and loud and can also sound like a speeded up CD at times. The guitars are explosively sharp and usually played through a whammy pedal, a mindblowing frenzy of riffs played so quickly you barely have time to catch them and run through such a series of effects that when guitarist Agata starts hammering on his guitar with his slide, he puts Tom Morello to shame. But to compare Tom Morello to Agata Ichirou is irrelevant for whereas Tom Morello is a stuctured outburst of noise, Agata is pure chaos. Bassist Rika holds down the rhythm section with whichever drummer dares to stick with the band at the moment. MELT-BANANA’s rhythms are punctuated with a drum section that thumps and rolls at such a frantic pace that it resembles a schizophrenic on the loose, murdering and pillaging, held in control by Rika’s thundering basslines. All of this high speed thrash is conducted by Yasuko O. (also known as Yako) and her singing, which could very well be the most controversial voice in rock and roll since Billy Corgan said “The world is a vampire”. Yako’s singing defies description, if it can even be called singing. The lyrics are not important, or not important in the sense that a MELT-BANANA song is not meant to be sung along to. Yako delivers her words in short and very sharp series of yelps which has progressed into moments of actual singing in later albums, but still retain the mind-blowing quality of a CD that has somehow gone haywire. Her voice is meant to be viewed as a musical instrument, a percussion item, if you will, where the sound the instrument produces is more important than the conventions it is meant to follow. For many listeners, Yako’s vocals will be the deciding factor in their dislike or appreciation of the band. Keep in mind however, that if you feel that Yako’s vocals are not suited to the band, you are completely missing the point of MELT-BANANA.
We arrive at the Sokol Underground in Omaha about half an hour before the show. Myself, my wife Jessy, her ex-boyfriend Todd and my friend Gavin. A twelve pack is rolling around quite nicely in my head and the one hotdog I’ve eaten in two days is making me feel a little strange. There are very few people there and no one looks like they have heard of MELT-BANANA. What does someone who has heard of MELT-BANANA look like, you ask? Well, a little like me at that point, dilated pupils, huge dumbass grin and also half-drunk. We clear the entrance where no one checks us for cameras or drugs or a bazooka. I mentally kick myself for not bringing a camera like the guy whose pictures I am ripping off in this review. As soon as we’re in, Gavin disappears for a minute and reappears with beers which are downed with much gusto. I buy a MELT-BANANA t-shirt which I put on. We are watching three men set up the stage. It appears that they are soundtesting. There is one guy on a synthesizer, a guy on a drumset that includes, of all things, butter containers held together with electrician’s tape and another guy on a microphone run through a series of analog effects (hell yeah!). They soundtest with a series of ambient sounds while the drummer bashes out very surreal sounding drum rolls. Gavin and I are standing in front of them wondering if these aren’t the coolest soundcheck guys in the world when the three guys stand up and introduce themselves as LWA an unbilled ambient noise band that has actually opened up the show. Before I know it, the beers have been refreshed, we are standing in front of the stage and THE SHOW IS THE RAINBOW is about to perform.
[LWA setting up. Check out the drums]
It is at this point that I begin to slam back the beers I am holding. It is also at this point that I begin to black out.
THE SHOW IS THE RAINBOW is a band that hails from Lincoln, Nebraska. The brainchild of frontman Darren Keen, THE SHOW IS THE RAINBOW used to be an actual band but now tours as a solo outfit, with Darren Keen singing along to his songs through a laptop and his trademark style of having a projector screen behind him that shows imagery relative to the songs he is performing. I actually like The Show Is the Rainbow, whose music is a combination of tripped out techno backed by Darren Keen’s jacked up, ferocious rap which targets the ideals of mainstream music, the problems an unattractive and unsociable musician can face even in the supposedly all-inclusive independent music world and the mainstream-indie (yes it is possible) bands of Omaha’s famous Saddle Creek scene, most notably the band Bright Eyes, which has even gone so far as to call Keen a “big fat idiot” because of his refusal to conform to the status quo of the normal indie band – good-looking, watered down rock and good-looking. So while I do enjoy Keen’s music, there is no telling for why I am about to act the way that I am. Perhaps it’s the fact that I read that Keen has a penchant for attacking audience members during shows (not cool if your audience is there to see MELT-BANANA and not you), perhaps it is the fact that this is the first “real” show that I have been to, for a band that pretty much revived my interest in music since sukya_paat (a ktmROCKS forum member) forwarded me a link for a MELT-BANANA album, or perhaps it is the fact that I am
fucking drunk off my ass. But what follows defies logic.
As Darren Keen is setting up, I shout out to him.
“Darren!” I shout.
Darren plugs in a cord into his laptop.
“Darren!” I shout again. People are looking at me now.
And so is Darren Keen.
I smile at Darren and flash him a thumbs up. Darren smiles back. Then I open my mouth.
“You suck!” I say.
Darren stops smiling.
A few more beers are downed. There are now a few beer bottles at the front of the stage where Gavin and I are standing. By the time Darren takes the stage, there is a pile.
Darren Keen has a very unusual performing style, very reminiscent of cabaret jazz. Darren talks to the audience, asks them questions, asks them to respond. Periodically, he jumps off the stage and runs through the audience. It sounds like a lot of fun. But it can be trying when you are there to see someone play music and they keep jumping off the stage and ramming into you. As Darren rips through songs from both his Radboyz Only!!! and Gymnasia albums, the room has begun to fill up and people are starting to groove. Gavin and I are cheering after every song and every time I finish a beer, I find another cold one in my hand, begging to be drunk. Darren Keen runs by Gavin and me and we both push him.
Darren Keen plays an explosive version of “Safe Art”, a very hilarious and brilliantly honest song about Darren Keen’s stance on indie bands and “Bright Eyes” in particular. Various clips of bloody walls, surreal art and the words “FAT FUCK” play across the projector screen. Darren jumps back on the stage, sweating, about to jump into the next song, when I open my mouth again.
“Darren! Play Safe Art!” I shout.
The whole room falls silent.
“Are you serious?” Darren asks me. “I just played that song, man. I JUST played Safe Art.” Darren is looking at me like he wants to kill me.
Did I mention that Darren looks quite a bit like Michael Moore?
Darren finishes out his set to a hearty round of applause, me included. Darren Keen is an awesome songwriter and showman, and his ethics more than make up for the disappointment of watching a guy sing to a laptop. There is a little bit of confusion when someone steps on Darren’s microphone cable as he is running through the crowd, causing a few minutes of confusing silence. No one knows who it is, but when that person is found, punishment will be served.
[Darren Keen of The Show Is the Rainbow on the right]
The lights go out. Beers are refreshed, the pile at the front of the stage grows larger. People with black hair begin setting up instruments. I look at each one of them and notice Rika, the unnamed drummer (who turns out to be: SURPRISE! the guy I bought the t-shirt from) and Agata. I think about telling Agata I love him and decide to wait. Then I see Yako and another beer is gone.
“Yako!” I shout.
Yako does not look at me.
“Yako!” I shout again. She still does not look. Maybe she talked to Darren backstage…
Then Gavin steps in and leans over to talk to Yako and the next thing I know, I am on stage, Yako is next to me, we’re both making the evil-eye at my crappy cell-phone camera and Gavin has snapped a picture. I am ecstatic. So ecstatic I notion over to my wife to supply us with a fresh set of beers. While I stare at the stage glassy-eyed, Rika walks out, puts on her bass, and the opening bass riff to “Shield For Your Eyes, A Beast In the Well On Your Hand” begins rolling out and all hell breaks loose.
[MELT-BANANA blows us away. See if you can find my Mexican face in those pictures]
For the record, “Shield For Your Eyes…” is one
hell of a
holy hell of a
holy fucking hell of a
show opener. I’ve included a link to the song at the bottom of this review. “Shield For Your Eyes…” opens up mid tempo with an addictive bassline that adds the remaining instruments to it, building up to amazing tension, before it explodes into all-out thrash with the entry of Yako’s vocals. The entire crowd starts moving. A girl next to me screams “Oh my god!” as the song speeds up. I am headbanging left and right, the word gravity only a myth. The music is gloriously loud and I mean LOUD. A few people actually move back and the rest of us laugh at them. Yako’s yelps, Agata’s screaming guitar, Rika’s teeth-jarring bassline and the unnamed guy’s thrashed out drums have all been mixed perfectly, adding to the notion that MELT-BANANA is a band meant to be viewed in a small venue (check Tool chatboards for what happens when they aren’t and also for what happens when a bunch of dumb rednecks in Disturbed t-shirts watch the best live band in the world in their podunk redneck towns). As MELT-BANANA rips through songs from Cell-Scape, Teeny Shiny, Charlie and their latest: Bambi’s Dilemma, Gavin and I start shoving each other, building up a mosh pit that will eventually consume the entire room. I down another beer and start crowdsurfing. Crowdsurfing feels like getting a massage by fifty different people at the same time. I’m dropped every once in a while. At one point, when I am dropped, I just lay there, my head spinning, soaking in the sounds of “Heiwaboke Crisis”. It is at this point that I must commend the general niceness and absolute positivity that MELT-BANANA’s attitude and music seems to impart upon audience members. Each time I hit the floor and lay there, there are people, actual cheeseburger-guzzling, Iraq-invading, white Americans picking me up, patting me on the back and asking me if I am ok. I hug at least five people in the audience. At one point, while MELT-BANANA pounds out “Circle-Jerk (Chase the Magic Words, Lego Lego)” I have my arms around two women I have never met before and we are all headbanging together. I break a beer bottle and other people help clean it up, but not before I have completely lacerated my right hand, spitting blood all over myself and other people http://www.myspace.com/meltbanana123 pays testament to this). I scream “Agata”, “Rika” or “Yako” after each song and people join me. Then I crowdsurf, hit the floor, jump up, hug some people and the cycle continues. Pure energy. Pure chaos. Pure noise. Pure fucking MELT-BANANA.
[Yako freaks out. There I am again!]
The band even honors my requests for a few of my favorites, including “Ether Twisted”, “Excess” and even “Giggle on the Stretcher” before their set closes. The crowd looks demolished. We are all sweaty, sore, full of alcohol/whatever drugs we may have ingested in the privacy of our own homes but we still want more. And thank god. For MELT-BANANA walks out on stage for an encore.
After the show, people hang about, asking for autographs, chatting with the band. Most people address them from the floor. I jump on stage and hug them all. Rika looks slightly startled, but nothing more at this point. I tell the band that I am a huge fan of their music. I think I try to explain the whole tired-of-music-until-I-got-sukyaa’s-link story to them but what I say and what they understand may be two different things. I shake hands with all of them and walk back to my wife, whom I have not seen since the start of MELT-BANANA. My wife is ecstatic too, claiming that she was wrong to dislike the band and that that was the best show that she has ever seen (coming from her that is a HUGE compliment as her concert scrapbook is fatter than Santosh Pant’s head). We are about to leave when Gavin tells us he got into the backstage area.
[Rika greeting members of the audience. And are you fucking kidding me? It's me again.]
Cut to backstage. Agata has a set of guitars unlike I have ever seen. That he left all those guitars unattended “backstage”, which at the Sokol Underground means a crappy ass enclosure behind the stage that ANYONE (and I mean anyone, even Sabin Rai) can gain access to without being noticed, is testament to MELT-BANANA’s generally positive attitude and sweet naiveté. People are getting their albums and t-shirts signed. Gavin and I have nothing. We tack our brains and come up with the perfect idea. The next thing we know, Yako has signed our chests, laughing with us, even though she must have been tired enough to just pass out on the moldy couch that the Sokol likes to offer its performing artists. I tell the band that I love them again before we head out.
Or do we.
For once again, after we are all seated in the car, listening to MELT-BANANA, I have disappeared back into the Sokol. My wife follows me inside to see me, once again, hugging the band and telling them that I love them. Agata is the coolest person in the world, in between the chaos of reoccurring musical accessories he just laughs and complies. Yako looks worried and my wife has to actually explain to her that I am
2. easily excitable
3. a huge MELT-BANANA fan
She brings back the comment that Yako is one of the coolest people she has ever met. Only Rika looks slightly bothered for which I don’t blame her. Rika plays the bass much like Krist Novoselic of NIRVANA did. With completely unadulterated fury. I bow to the band a few times, saying “Arigato” and once again, MELT-BANANA’s awesomely resilient attitude has cowed me. Not a word of reproach or frustration. The band humored me with such reverence that to this day I am in awe. How many of these mainstream assholes that we accept as “legends” without thought would have put up with such behavior? If you read this MELT-BANANA, the crazy guy from Omaha says thank you, sorry and I really hope you come back to Omaha. You made an insurmountable number of fans that day and I promise I’ll be more sober.
Life went back to its boring routine after that. I couldn’t move my neck for a week after and my fingers took some time to heal but the cathartic effect of the show was too genuinely awesome to refute. Seeing MELT-BANANA live was one of the best experiences of my life and I fully recommend anyone that gets the chance to go see them live. You will not fucking regret it. And if you do, register for an account at the ktmROCKS forum if you don’t have one already and come have a talk with me.
One last thing though, remember how I told you that some asshole, some blindingly drunk and belligerent asshole stepped on Darren Keen’s microphone cord during his set, causing him to lose signal for a few moments? Well check this out:
Now THAT ladies and gentlemen, is why you should get so ditheringly wasted AFTER the show, otherwise there will be no rainbow.
Thank you for your patience.
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
REVIEW: EARTHQUAKE EVE JAM
Pics/Reviewed by: Pramithus Khadka
Date: 21st June 2007, Thursday
Venue: MPC, Terrace.
Ticket: Absolutely free.
Lineup: HMG MINISTRY OF ROCK, PRALAY and a Super Jam session.
As the almighty Trishul Baba Ji predicted, an earthquake was about to trigger. So as we all were about to die the next day, HMG MINISTRY OF ROCK and PRALAY decided to organize a jam session at MPC Sports Club along with some guests. The drizzle was about to ruin the jam but just as the time for some music approached nearer, the drizzle finally stopped. Encountering with the usual problem of getting power supply at the terrace, the jam finally started.
PRALAY opened up with SANTANA’s Black Magic Woman. PRALAY, nowadays is absolutely phenomenal. They continued with some very ramailo numbers such as THE JET’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl, COLLECTIVE SOUL’s December to name a few. After setting the mood right, they left the stage for HMG MINISTRY OF ROCK. A band consisting of super star lineup, they exploded with 70’s and 80’s metal. They owned the stage and despite of being confused sometimes (due to the dose of booze they had poured inside them), they were able to put up a very tight show.
[Almoda - HMG MINISTRY OF ROCK]
After a short break, PRALAY took the stage one more time and started doing some IRON MAIDEN covers. I think in today’s context, PRALAY does the best Iron Maiden covers. I really wanted to hear their originals but although after already releasing an album, they didn’t do a single original. I was disappointed.
A fight broke loose between Almoda and Ram Kumar (Guitarist of Fallen) for some personal reasons they know about and after a few spills of blood it was settled and the jam continued.
[Hari Maharjan, Deep Rana]
It was now time for the most awaited moment of the evening, the Super Jam session. First taking the stage were Hari Maharjan (NEPTHYA) on guitar, Iman Shah (HMG-MOR) on guitar, Deep Rana (HMG-MOR) on bass and Nikhil Shrestha (NEPATHYA) on drums. They started with a modulated chord progression in which Hari Maharjan mesmerized the audience with his sublime guitar skills. Iman Shah was equally impressive on the rhythm and the short solos section. Deep Rana gave a steady and solid bass line and Nikhil’s drumming was a glance of perfection. They did few instrumentals which didn’t seem like a jam at all. It just gave the idea about the quality of musicianship that these guys possess.
It was already 10:45 so we had to leave the terrace, with fine music still playing along. The jam continued with some established and upcoming talented musicians. It was awesome but would have been better if it started a little earlier so that people who have curfew in their homes after 8 or 9 o’clock could also enjoy the music. The turnout was also quite a big one as it was notified only a day or two ago. I can only hope that this kind of jam would be more often.
Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin
REVIEW: INTERNATIONAL MUSIC DAY
Reviewed by: Pramithus Khadka
Pics by: Dipesh Gautam
Date: 21st June 2007, Thursday
Venue: Khulamanch, Ratnapark
Lineup: LOOZA, COBWEB, ELEKTRIX, STROPHIKUS, STRINGS, ANUPRASTHA and many more.
A free concert to mark the international music day was held Khulamanch. It was a part of two different shows taking place simultaneously but differentiated into different genres of music. There was a concert taking place at Patan Durbar Square which had some famous classical artists performing and an analogous concert taking place at Khulamanch which was based on rock genre featuring some of the mainstream rock bands along with some upcoming rock bands of the country. Certainly one of the big names performing on that day was LOOZA along with COBWEB.
The concert started about half and hour late with the band comprising students of Suvatara School got things started. They open up the gig with EVANESCENCE cover. The girl guitarist did a pretty good job. They also did some covers of GREEN DAY. Next on the stage were the students of Nepal Sangeet Vidhyalaya. They did an original which was an instrumental. It was pretty impressive.
I don’t remember the bands after that as it was a torture to sit in the midday sun with the summer heating up. We deliberately missed a couple of bands and went for food hunting. When we returned there was this band called STROPHIKUS. The folk rock Nepali original was quite impressive. But it all went in vain with the Summer of 69 cover. Then ANUPRASTHA took the stage. This band is known for its Nepali mainstream cover songs and they did quite a set of popular tracks such as Bhul ma Bhulyo originally done by ROBIN AND LOOZA and Taal ko Pani by NEPATHYA. Somebody please crown them the title – “Best Cover Band of Thamel”. However, the overall performance of the band was boring. Nevertheless, the “free concert” crowd was enjoying their set raising as much dust as possible in the open ground of Khulamanch.
The highlight of the show has to be THE ELEKTRIX. They were simply amazing. The band line up was impressive comprising of Prabhat Manandhar (Ex-ELYSIUM) on guitar, Deepak Shakya (Ex-CRUENTUS/NIGHT) on bass, Dipesh Pasa on drums and two new members which were up to the task. They did an all original set starting with Freedom and continued with some improvised instrumentals. As their name suggests, they played a very long tranc-y, almost futuristic electric rock music with weird bass and guitar effects. It was simply mind blowing. It was time for LOOZA to come on stage but we left the venue as it was time for the Earthquake Eve Jam at MPC.
Boring gig except for THE ELECTRIX!