Unlike the previous years, this year’s SITEX holds the credit of not going for typical mono-lingual bands (like Fossils, Prithibi etc.). Instead, we were given the promise that we will be given the chance to see the performance of ‘Underground Authority’, a newly formed band from Kolkata, the members of which like to call their genre as ‘Alternative Rap Rock / Protest Poetry’.
Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer (alias/aka : Epr) – Vocalist
Adil Rashid (alias/aka : Iago – The Invincible) : Guitars and Backing
Kuntal De (alias/aka : Storm ) : Guitars, Effects and Backing
Soumyadeep Bhattacharya (alias/aka : Bubbla): Bass and Backing
Sourish Kumar (alias/aka : the Sheikh) : Drums and Backing
The effects of a gig as enjoyed as this one can only be evident when you sit down in front of your text editor to write a review. Underground Authority, as a piece of information, is quite a new band in the music scenario of the country, being formed in the earlier part of last year, i.e. 2010. And frankly speaking, that made us apprehensive enough regarding what actually we were going to enjoy (if at all).
To start off, these guys took an insane amount of time to set up the stage for themselves, including the sound-check et al. I remember many of the students complaining to us regarding the nearly-an-hour time the drummer himself took to check the sound. Leave alone the rest, followed by the guitarists, who surprisingly were fast enough for us hungry souls.
UA (as they fondly call themselves, I think from the ‘India’s got talent’ days itself) started with a bang, so to say. Good guitar-licking sounds, with the awesome DJ-ish guitar playing by one of their ‘Guitars and Backing’ guy. I was going through the Facebook page of this music group (they even took out some time to advertise to their prospective fans about their FB page), and was startled about how they tend to describe themselves. No wonder they are a new band, and hence, like to bring in some difference in the otherwise too-much-used cliches. Example? Their genre reads ‘Alternative Rap Rock / Protest Poetry’, their members’ credentials read ‘The Poet’ and also they have a well-defined off-stage and technical support group. All these were not much surprising to me, but I could already imagine the rather unequals who will be awestruck thinking how much ‘different’ this band is going to be, and how much ‘revolutionary music’ they are going to churn out for the audiences.
If only that actually happened! Sigh!
After all the near-to-two-hours performance that this band gave, reviews were pretty diverse, as expected. And I think the guys running the group also expect the same, given that they have very few original numbers (at least tonight they performed one only) and what all they do is to take up some popular Bollywood numbers (and that too the ones which are popular enough to be chartbusters) and mix and remix and again mix and remix those very numbers and give out something which they call a performance. Yeah, not everyone can do so. Certainly not the bands we normally see around these days, because these mixing and remixing needs a likeliness and deep understanding of the music they are going to churn out by themselves. And they are sure enough clear about the same. UA knows who their target audiences are, and am sure they will be elated to know that I can quote people watching their today’s performance saying that ‘this one may be one of the best performances ever seen by them’. Notice: I didn’t add the blah, blah after the quote.
UA tends to like A.R.Rehman much, and I like their using of ‘Mr. Rahman’ title in this context. I was surveying few of the attendees of the gig regarding what was common among the Bollywood numbers if they at all noticed? Few could not find anything common, and few made out that all of the Bollywood numbers covered by UA are the ones with A.R.Rehman’s name written under their ‘Music Director’ part. Such is their obsessiveness about the man, and this is one point that am too happy about!
They covered ‘Kabhi Kabhi Aditi’, ‘Maa Tujhe Salam’, ‘Urvashi UA version 3.98’ from A.R.Rehman’s numbers and ‘Dabangg UA-Scratch Demo’ and ‘Munni Badnaam’ from the others. Personally I liked few, did not much like the rest. but I can say that the audiences were all over the auditorium, dancing and headbanging like hell!
I liked the tempos and rhythm of their songs, and also how they mix-matched the rap introductions and middle fiddles among the songs. I liked their performance on stage – say it the vocalist, the drummer (who really was too good!), and the guitarists, UA gave power-packed performances through the entire long close-to-two-hours time.
The highlight of the gig will definitely be the power-packed performance by this band, about how impressively synchronized each of the members were with each other – gives out how well-managed and well-practiced music group they are.
Overall, they gave us extravagance during Extravaganza, which can never be forgotten.
As is expected in this age, this guys are also omnipresent all over the internet.
If you want to be a fan of their Facebook page, your destination is: Underground Authority (India)
For serious music lovers, find UA in Myspace here: Underground Authority India
In Reverbnation here: Underground Authority
In Purevolume here: Underground Authority