Thursday, November 15, 2007

The best young band in Kolkata

After seeing this band for 3 whole shows...
After checking out most (if not all) of the young rock bands in the city - some of whom left me absolutely flabbergasted (why do these kids bother to play anyway?)...

The last man standing. Without a doubt - CRYSTAL AND THE WITCHES.
They are the real McCoy.

A short intro - this is a young band with roots in the North East. The vocalist/lead guitarist Diwash Rai, and the bass guitarist Tenzing Louden Bhutia are from Sikkim. The drummer Shubhro Ganguly is originally from Assam. And I dont know where their keyboard Arthur Gomes is originally from
They play metal (more of the old school stuff) - they are heavy, they are very good musicians and extremely tight, they have excellent stage presence and they can certainly get the crowd going. This band hasn't been on the scene for too long but their fan following is enormous (as per Kolkata standards) - most of their shows consist of a huge number of rock/metal lovers from St. Xaviers (since I believe 2 of the band members are currently students there) and also a gigantic number of young ppl from the North East... a conglomeration of mongoloid music lovers (that wud include me as well I guess) who would headbang any metal lover to shame. The energy both on and off stage is absolutely intense... and if you are a genuine lover of music attending their show is an absolute treat. Granted, you may not be a fan of the heavy metal genre, but just watching these young men perform on stage is an awesome fun-filled experience. Try them out - I recommend this band 1000%.

The lead singer/guitarist Diwash was a former member of the top Sikkim band STILL WATERS (if you know anything about the current Indian rock scene then you must have heard of them) - and his experience with that band certainly shines through during the gig. Clean vocals, screeching, growling - he does it all. And also an excellent impersonation of Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH) as well, as was evident in the Megadeth cover that they play - SWEATING BULLETS

The keyboardist Arthur does an excellent job of providing rhythm and balance to the metal sound that this band performs. And he gets the crowd all charged up when the guys start out with their opening track - a NIGHTWISH cover (Crimson Tide)... yes Nightwish, you read right - now when have you ever heard Nightwish being played @ SPE???

Tenzing on the bass is fantastic - a very talented bassist. And its not just about his playing. You can see that he's having fun on stage especially when he's dancing around with his guitar. With the kinda space constraints on stage @ SPE, its a miracle he doesnt trip while doing so Awesome young musician.

Subhro - an absolute monster on the drummer. The most unassuming drummer you would ever find. And the most improved as well I must say. The 1st time I saw him perform I wasnt very impressed. But not anymore. Kolkata has its fair share of good drummers in the circuit... and pretty soon he's going to be joining that club.

Are this band all about covers btw?? NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
Hell, I wouldnt be raving about them if they were just a cover band. Crystal And The Witches have an excellent repertoire of originals - originals that have won them accolades in quite a few rock contestants in the college circuit. And they are also the current East Zone "Campus Rock Idols" champions, just to let you know.

Holes, Resurrection, Black Roses, M.I.U. are some of their compositions (I might have some of these names wrong btw) amongst many others. Originals that are mainly heavy (old school thrash oriented) - but which also consist of power ballads. Megadeth is a major influence as is evident from some of their compositions... the resemblance is sometimes a bit too uncanny - but hey, no complaints, they are good quality originals I give you that. In fact I believe they have enough compositions to fill up an entire show. And some songs like M.I.U. are major crowd pullers.

And oh ya, Crystal & The Witches play a fair share of covers as well:

Megadeth (Sweating Bullets), Metallica (For Whom The Bell Tolls), Iron Maiden (Dream Of Mirrors), Nightwish (Crimson Tide), AC/DC (TNT), Deep Purple (Perfect Strangers), etc. etc.

Does anyone see a nice pattern here? No?
Well, so you wanna listen to Metallica eh? But they dont play "Enter Sandman" - its old school Metallica for you. You want Deep Purple? Well thank god they dont play "Highway Star" or the tremendously over-played "Smoke On The Water"!
And how many people would expect an Iron Maiden cover from one of their lesser known albums "Brave New World"?

If anything else their covers set-list shows how intelligent this band is. The songs they cover arent your run-of-the-mill, a million-times-over-played songs, which is extremely refreshing to say the least. And they also dont always do a cover note-for-note - they add a little extra to make the song a bit more interesting.

For example - take their cover of Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" - during the middle of the song Diwash suddenly does a little guitar solo of the popular Bollywood tune "Tujheh Dekhah Toh" from the film "Dilwaleh Dulhania Leh Jayengeh" - the innovation is positively brilliant. And total fun.

Another interesting cover is Leo Sawyer's "Love You More Than I Can Say" - a sudden break in the tempo in their gig from the ferocious headbangers that constitutes 90% of their set-list.

During the show one of the many headbanging amigos out there happened to mention to me, that after CASSINI's DIVISION, Crystal & The Witches were the only band that had managed to get the crowd @ SPE going.

And despite my well-known bias and preferences I am inclined to agree with him.
Not too many bands have managed to do that in recent times.

Hate them or love them - you would be a moron to ignore Crystal & The Witches.
Yes you might hate heavy metal but if you are broad-minded then please check out their live gigs - you will not leave disappointed.

1 comment:

kumar said...

Hai,
im interested to sing in a band like u i have a little knowledge of singing the band kind of song

please feel free to contact on 9830019686
sujit@natwidepackers,com
truly
sujit kr das