November 09, 2013: Nestled coyly in One India Bulls Center, Lower Parel, D’Bell was the venue for the latest rendition of the VANS Fresh Off The Wall, and you gotta admit, it’s probably the most undercover venues in the city. Featuring Spud In The Box, The Dirty Strikes and Laxmi Bomb, the gig was one with many memorable moments and a whole lot of madness.
Spud In The Box was the first band on the bill, and damn, did they deliver! The alternative pop-rock act performed perhaps the most perfect they could have, and from their first song to the last, the energy surged, the melody flowed and the musicality shone. There were a lot of brilliant things about their set, but above all else was the symphonizing between the two vocalists, Ankit Dayal and the uncannily Jack Black-esque Rohan Rajadhyaksha. The melding of their voices provided the mellowness in the slow parts, and ripped the hapy-go-lucky tone of the band apart during the jumpier parts of their set. Their set also saw some wicked keyboard play. The band played two new songs, Hold Your Horses, Closer and If You’re Looking To Put Up A Fight. The best song for the night, however had to be the super lively grand finale, Mannequin.
The Dirty Strikes from Imphal were the second band to take the stage. Unfortunately, a power outage meant a twenty break during a gig that was high on the energetic set the previous band played. That however, did little to dampen the band’s spirit and they played possibly the most relaxed set for the night. There’s no two ways- the band was nowhere as close to tightness as they normally would be, and like the vocalist Kennedy Heigrujam kept informing, their three day train journey seemed to have sapped them of their energy. However, the band played to a crowd yearning for good music, and that’s what they provided. Their set may have not seemed as professional or perfect as most other bands would play, but it was definitely a fun sneak peek into post punk jam of sorts! Their best song for the night was the popular Good Damaged Girl, and to not mention Rishu Singh’s spirited singing of “Good Damaged Girl” would be plain wrong!
Mumbai’s very own sensual babe, Laxmi Bomb was the final band for the night, and the trio was joined by Ruell Barretto on bass for this particular set. Their music is a concoction of a lot of different sounds and genres. There is the electro bit; then there is the element of pop, and punk and even that austere bit of indie to their sound. That’s what makes the Mumbai band so local- cosmopolitan in its sound, the band encompasses different elements of music and a feel as heady, unique and in-your-face as the city itself. What made their act even better was the vocalist Keegan Pereira’s ability to be not just a singer but a storyteller of sorts, emoting as much as would require to get the audience and the band on the same plane, the same page of the story. Close attention to their music reveals not just a pattern in the lyrics, but also the almost subliminal spirit of the city that everyone comes to love and hate in time. And for any band to manage that in their music is simply brilliant.
Pictures - Sushant Sawant