Porcupine Tree: Live in IIT Bombay  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

Steven Wilson- 'way out of here'

Note-All pics taken in my LG mobile cam...

Porcupine Tree is a band which I fell in love with 2 years back, after my old band's bassie Mahadevan handed me a cd of all their albums till date. Me being a heavy metal addict and not much of a progressive rock fan, I never heard even the name of this band before that. But that day changed it all. Once I finished with my first set of 20 odd songs, I was sure that those who classified them as progressive rock was not giving full credit to the band. Most of their songs were so refrshingly different that each of them could find mention under different genres. Though am not much of a genre classification fan, I would say they are turely genre benders. Last year, I added their name amongst bands which I wanted to see live. And so when IIT Bombay announced that PT is gonna headline this year's annual fest, I was sure I'll be there.

So, we 4(me, Raja, Nikhil, Sabarish) set out from Bangalore on Dec 18 Friday and reached Mumbai on 20th night after a short trip of Pune and Lonawala(detailed photo posts on those trips coming soon). Unlike usual rock fests, this one was on a monday, thus making sure that I maintain my zero leave balance. We got into the venue after some serious adventures and altercations with the organisers, about which I'll write at the end of this post. Thanks to a strict rule, I had to keep my camera outside in safe custody of my friend Meenu, who's studying there. And thanks to her, we could fill up our stomachs as we waited in the long queue. By the time we got in, all the opening bands had got over and Parikrama was half way through their set. My sincere thoughts on them is that the vocalist Nitin Malik should refrain from opening his mouth when he's not singing. He has this quality of rubbing the crowd the wrong way with his tongue(no pun intended :P ). The crowd which was waiting for PT had welcomed them with 'BC,MC' chants. It was understandable and he should've kept his cool. Anyway, thanks to the brilliant violinist Imran Khan and guitarist Sonam Sherpa, they did put up a good show. By the end of their show, we were slowly moving ahead in the crowd. Dead centre front being our destination..(special mention-Guitarist Sonam sherpa's T shirt with SC-ST printed in AC-DC font)

Time flies

Wilson at arm's length...no zoom used..

The venue was very small for a concert of such magnitude. And the crowd also numbered to less than 7000, partly owing to it being a monday. But the crowd that had turned up was no less in spirits. Chants of 'PT, PT' and 'steven, steven' were heard from all around and we also joined in. As expected everyone wanted to be in the front and this resulted in many people being jammed against the front barricade. The atmosphere was heating up with anticipation as the stage was being setup for PT. And then suddenly it all went dark and the crowd let out a loud cheer. The strains of 'occam's razor', the opening track of Porcupine Tree's new album 'The Incident' were heard. In came Steven Wilson and his band of British rockers. Magic was set in motion. They followed it up with the 2nd track from incident 'Blind house'. For a minute, we thought they are gonna play the whole album in its entirety. The next song 'The sound of muzak', describing the fall in standards and the hypocrisy prevalent in modern music, put to rest any such thoughts. The old classics began to flow. And then there was this funny scene of the organisers unnecessarily unleashing cops amongst the crowd. They behaved like jokers there and normalcy settled in once they left. 'Hatesong' was going on then.

Then came 'Time flies', my favourite from the new album. Wilson perched himself on a chair and strummed on his acoustic. As the lyrics went 'I was born in '67, the year of sgt. pepper', we realised this guy's 42. But he looked so young that he could pass off as a college student. 'Lazarus' was one of the highlights of the concert with almost the whole crowd singing with him. It was heaven to listen to those sublime keyboard work from Barbieri. A little known fact is that opeth's vocalist mikael akerfeldt has sung backing vocals for the original track. As the song concluded, my friend remarked, 'i was tripping on the song'. It couldn't have been said better. A writeup on this concert is not complete without a mention of the visuals in the background. Some songs had visuals exclusively made for concert and some had the actual music videos projected on the screen. The most notable among the videos was the one of 'way out of here', about 2 gals who were fans of porcupine tree and got crushed under a train while they were taking pics on the rail. Many of the videos were mysterious and confusing but just watching those were sheer pleasure. The only problem was concentrating on the artists and the video at the same time. By this time, we were right in front, hanging on the barricade. Steven wilson was at a hand's length as he came right to the edge of the stage a couple of times. His eyes glowed like those of a saint's as he sang those profound lyrics. Infact, lyrics is one of the highlights of the 'PT' experience. Also suprising was the scene of him playing barefoot.

Most of the familiar songs like 'blackest eyes', 'open car', 'start of something beautiful' and 'russia on ice' were played. Two stalwarts whom I didn't mention till now are drummer Gavin Harrison and bassist Colin Edwards. Precise,complex,thumping...these are words that fit both of them. But they were at their unassuming best and all happy that Wilson was in the limelight. Rhythm guitarist John wesley also did a great job. In between the old classics, the band mixed some more new tracks like 'octane twisted' and 'the seance'. I was surprised that there were many who sang almost all lyrics perfectly, especially one beautiful girl standing behind me. At the end of these songs, they stopped abruptly, said thanks and left. And as expected they were back for the encore, which was surely THE best part of the concert. As Wilson played the evergreen 'Trains', the crowd roared in delight. It was followed up with a mindblowing rendition of 'halo'. And that was the end..Impressed by the crowd, Wilson said they'll be back pretty soon. Yes, we are waiting... If you still haven't listened to porcupine tree, do it right now...

about the organisers- Frankly speaking, I haven't seen a more arrogant bunch of organisers at any of the rock fests in India. We reached there at 4 15 PM to exchange our print outs with tickets and they coolly told us that they wont let us in since we are late. They told us about their rule that passes wont be given after 4PM. This, after we had already paid money online for 3 tickets, thats 3000 bucks. We begged to him, telling him how we came there 1000km away from Bangalore after taking 2 leaves. The arrogant guy asked us such stupid questions like, "why cant you take more leave and come early?", "if you love the band so much, why cant you sacrifice your time for them", "we gave you enough time". For about 30 minutes, we had a big fight. He even went to the extent of saying that we wont even get our money back. Losing all my temper, I called him an MF. But as it happens usually when you are losing your temper, it all came out in malayalam. Anyway, he got the message and he was shouting to the security to throw me out. Thankfully they didn't. More losers of his ilk showed up to tell us we wont be let in. By then, more people having the same problem gathered there. Then the main organiser, an young lady tried to cool down the situation by offering to sign in all the sheets and let us in. And, there comes another bloody loser advising her not to jump into trouble. After so many such negotiations, they let us in late through the VIP entry. A big thanks to those sensible souls among the organisers. And a big finger to the bespectacled guy wearing an Iron Maiden t shirt who seemed to have shitted his senses off during his last visit to the loo. Guys, its ok if you dont respect your guests. But atleast dont mistreat. These are the things you should learn in nursery, not in IIT. Better take some of those lessons now. To end it all, thanks to those wonderful guys at IIT Bombay who made this landmark concert happen. Barring this ticket fiasco and the late admission of the crowd, it was a well conducted rock fest.. CHEERS!

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Monday, December 28, 2009 at Monday, December 28, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


@Praveen: Lucky that mofo in Malayalam does not sound like racist animal names! :P
The post reminds me to start listening to the PT discography I downloaded nearly an year back!

3:21 AM
Peter Davies  

Why did you only take photos of Steve Wilson? Was there no one else in the band?

9:14 PM

hehhee..the harbhajan dialogue, rite?:P
yea..do dust up that discography and plunge in to the magic..

@peter davies
really I wanted to take pics of all members...but thnks to my poor mobile phone camera and the spotlight which was almost always on him(u can make it out in the pics), I could get decent pics of him only...I wish I could take my cam inside:(

12:32 AM

IIT Mumbai really sucks. They don't know crap about organizing a show. A two hour wait in the queue and they friggin smellin you with their stupid nose for a breathalyzer.

They wudn't let you in if you even had a whiff of booze on your breath. wtf is that? its like making ppl do a piss test before they get into a Greatful Dead show!

IIT Mumbai SUCKS!!

5:28 PM

aha !! thats an interesting article ..as i am not a rock fan , i havent heard any of thier songs ..but on your recomendation , i shall do that ..

11:48 PM

cool it man...lets be happy that we got to watch PT :D

yea, do chk them out for sure...

12:47 AM

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