Last week, God's own country was in all its glory with the monsoon lashing out in its annual fury. Overflowing rivers, newly sprouting greenery, enchanting backwaters, cloud covered hill tops..it was heaven. A perfect atmosphere for the naadanpattu(country song) to add flavour to this already heady mix. But instead, Kerala rocked to the immortal tunes of a man who breathed his last 38 long years back. 'Break on through to the other side', a tribute concert to Jim Morrison, the enigmatic frontman of the legendary band 'Doors', took place at Taj Residency hotel in Trivadrum on Sunday evening.
The idea of a tribute to Morrison in Trivandrum was frowned upon by many, as revealed by the organisers. But those were not enough to deter a bunch of inspired youngsters who soldiered on relenlessly under the name 'Magic bus'. The concert served as a successful debut for this event management company with big dreams. As I walked into the Taj, an unlikely venue for a concert, I could see all those familiar faces there, the leading lights of the Trivandrum rock scene. The concert started by about 8.30 and by that time the hall was almost filled up. That proved the fact that all the apprehensions regarding 'Morrison in Trivandrum' were misplaced.
The opening band was 'Kali', who did a decent version of 'Light my fire' to start off the proceedings. The words 'Come on baby, light my fire..Try to set the night on fire' were enough to fire up the proceedings. It was time for the main acts to take stage. Guitarist Rex and drummer Mithun from Avial came in alongwith Nithin, the lead guitarist of 'Rage'. 'Avial' bassist Benny and keyboardist Yakzan were the common factors for the whole show. Vivek, the vocalist of 'soulburn' sang the first 5 songs. The blast started with the 'Alabama song' asking for the way to the whiskey bar. Vivek's deep voice fit well to the mood of the doors songs. He also sang that highly energetic classic song 'break on through'. Nithin, who was back on stage after a pretty long time, slipped back into the groove as he revealed many flashes of his old legendary brilliance with 'rage'. Rex, Mithun and Benny, the avial team didn't have any problems in blending together seamlessly as always. Mary singing 'shaman's blues' was a refreshing touch to the evening. Its an irony that the actual song is in the form of plea by the shaman to his lover.
The much awaited entry of 'Motherjane' Baiju happened with 'L.A Woman'. The vocal duties were taken up by Sujith from 'Udaan'. The song which contains the famous anagram of Jim Morrison's name, 'Mr. Mojo Risin' was taken to another level by Baiju's individual brilliance. There were minute length solos amply supplied with his trademark carnatic flavour. The crowd which stayed back for the first few songs were now right in front of the stage. Particularly standing out was one sweet little girl from UK who was dancing around for all the songs. 'Chaos' JK announced his arrival with the most recognised and most played Doors song ever-'Roadhouse blues'. His good grounding in heavy metal meant JK's rendition gave some more raw energy to this great song. Also, appreciable is his ability to take the crowd into his hands from the minute he get on stage. Baiju blazed another killer solo in between this song. JK's 'maggie mcgill' was another notable performance of the evening. Amidst all this, there was Rex unassumingly delivering killer solos and precision rhythms. All through the show, he was the one who peppered it all up from the background. Not to forget, Benny's bass play. And, then there was Yakzan who handled the keyboards, one of the standout elements of Doors songs.
Trivandrum's own grand old man of Blues, Johny paid his tributes to Morrison with 'People are strange', one of the first doors songs I fell in love with mostly because of its simple lyrics. This short song was followed up with 'Love me two times'. 'Avial' Tony got 2 songs which best matches his usual onstage mannerisms- 'Riders on the storm' and 'The ghost song'. He was doing dance steps reminiscent of the legendary 'shaman's dance'. He also had this small bell like thing which he put to good use. JK was back again alongwith 'motherjane' John to finish off the tribute with 'changeling'. And to top it all, there was a surprise tribute to the one and only Michael Jackson at the end. Naomi took up the keyboard and singing duties joined by all the singers on stage to give a beautiful rendition of 'Heal the world'. It was a perfect end to a beautiful evening with the whole crowd singing along in respect to a true legend.
It was an one of a kind night in Trivandrum as some of Kerala's best rock artists ever came together to give us all a memorable evening. It was a true team effort wherein the absence of even one of them would've made the show paler for sure. For this day, they just put their busy schedules in the dustbin and dedicated to many days to practise. Special mention must be made of guys like Sabareesh and Rohit from 'magic bus' and 'rage' Nithin who tirelessly worked behind the stage to co-ordinate the whole event and make it a success of this scale. Bringing together such high profile artists, co-ordinating their schedules etc are no mean tasks. And this is just the start. More is in store, like tributes to Pink Floyd, Grateful dead etc already in the pipeline. This indeed is a new beginning in the Kerala rock scene. Best of luck guys!
More pics are uploaded in the picasa link here
your crusader Praveen