We're now back home and rested after performing what were to be our first ever international shows in Bangalore, Mumbia and Delhi. We had an amazing first trip to India and just loved meeting and playing for the audiences out there. Read on for a brief run down of what we got up to in the East!
So after a nine hour flight from a bitterly cold London (On which we headed to the the sounds of 1969's 'Lord Sitar performs The Beatles' to get us in the mood) we arrived in Bangalore very early morning, just before dawn. It was great to ditch our winter coats, Even in the cooler air of the night, India was indeed hot, And the further North we went it got even hotter again, Roll on our Indian Summer!!
We then got our first glimpse of India during our Taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. Just as the sun rose in the sky, Tall palm trees, Rolling green fields and farms gave way to bustling traffic, Tuk Tuks, Colourful Markets, Crowds of people lining the streets, Wandering Cattle, Lavish ornate shrines and temples, delapidated buildings, Shanty Towns and finally in the distance the Billboard strewn, high rise city scape at the heart of Bangalore, We'd Arrived!!!
A hefty day of taking in the sights ensued, Sampling the local cuisine (SPICY!!!!) and an epic mash up at 'Jimi's Bar'(yes, That Jimi) (A 'Hair Rock' Club where classic rock vids blast out on big screens non stop, Where Beer and nachos are served till you drop!).
Our first show took us to the first of the NH7 Festivals, The site was an hours drive outside of Bangalore centre to much greener part of the city. After an early morning soundcheck, we were scheduled to play that evening so had time to kill, but would you believe it, Despite being clear sunshine all morning, the heavens suddenly opened just after soundcheck and and non-stop heavy rain ensued... all day... We'd brought our weather with us it seemed!!! So our slot on the uncovered 'Other stage' had to be canceled and was rescheduled to the following day and we'd been relocated to the one of the bigger Main Stages.... Boom! And on that day, The blazing sun shone bright in the sky as we stepped on the stage to perform. And even though our music was largely unfamiliar with most of the festival goers, It went down great! Most folk seemed to need a good chill down after hearing many hard rock/metal bands that day, And our set did just that. We met and chatted with lots of our audience after the show, We felt immediately at home in such a good atmosphere, We were followed on stage by our fellow travellers 'Dry the River', We watched them perform an awesome set before heading home. Big thanks to all that came to watch us play and to say hi. Bangalore was a great place/gig to start the trip! One down, Two to go...
Our first internal flight took us to Mumbai (or Bombay, As the local hipsters still insist on calling it). From the locals in Bangalore we learned that this place was a different ball game altogether, They were not wrong... Bombay was a shock to all the senses! It was Bangalore x 10, More people, More traffic, more buildings, more noise! We counted 7 people (yes 7!) clinging to a small Tuk, Tuk going flat out on the motorway, 11 people crammed into a tiny fiat panda sized car (they even smiled and counted for us as we passed).Every car journey we took was like 'The Wacky Races' and we loved it! Never a dull moment! And our drivers were always great guys, Full of info and witty tales. Once the initial shock wore off, We found Mumbai to be a city bursting with life and now we had a good chance to do some exploring, So we checked out some amazing places such as The Gateway of India, Mahalaksmi Temple, Marine Drive, The slum Laundries (alarming yet a truly amazing sight) and the former home of Mahatma Gandhi which gave us much food for thought especially when we spent some time chatting with some street kids outside. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Even the poorest locals are kind and high spirited even when they have so little. We headed back to the hotel armed with cool trinkets we'd bought from the street kids, Each one with a memory of the cool little character we'd bought them from. Everyone we knew who'd been to India assured us we'd fall in Love with the place and by now we had. Especially the people. That night we headed to the stunning venue The Blue Frog for our next show. We'd heard great things about the venue and it didn't disappoint. It's sound system and acoustic design was incredible! This was a free show and the locals trickled in, by the end of the night the venue was packed out. Our set provided a nice mellow start to the night and by the end our indie rock/post punk fellow travellers and UK exports 'We were promised Jet Packs' and 'So I watched you from Afar' soon turned the place into a Mosh Pit. Bombay was a place we'll never forget!
Last stop on the trip, We flew to New Delhi, we had a few days to kick back before the next show so the festival organisers took us off for a group trip to the Taj Mahal. We arrived just as the Sun was about to set behind the building having past through Agra, a town where Monkeys run riot in the street, locals hussle for trade and luxuriously decorated Camels lead colourful wedding processions.It was the India of the old movies, Picture books you read as a child. And getting nearer in the distance stood majestic silhouette of the Taj Mahal. It was great seeing the Taj in the flesh for the first time, We got a few great pics of the whole group of us outside. It really is a wonder of the world, We'd love to make a record in there the acoustics are incredible!
We spent the next few days, well... partying... Then recovering, Then Partying...so forth, Some epic hotel room lemon fights under the influence of tequila is all we can remember...oops...hic.., However we did recover in time to perform the last live date at NH7 Dehli. The festival site was the at the F1 Track and looked great as we drove up to it in the distance. With a much bigger site and attendance numbers, We knew we were gonna have a great show. We finally got to appear on 'the Other Stage' just after Bollywood Star Kailash Kher and just before the spectacular headline show from 'The Manganiyar Seduction' by Roysten Abel, The music that night was so varied and eclectic. We'd never seen performances like it, The Indian folk sure know how to put on a show! Our own set went fitted between the two brilliantly and we finished up with a powerful rendition of 'Buffalo Crow'. Again big thanks to audience for joining us. And so that was that for our trip to India, Untill (hopefully) the next time!!!
At NH7Delhi we were introduced to Hope Monkey a charity raising money for all kinds of projects. After meeting the kids in Mumbia we were taken by a project aimed at raising funds to educate street kids and give them a meal. Please feel to checkout Hope Monkey and Donate if feel you'd like to.