Thursday, November 15, 2007

The end? Not quite...

I was one of the few people who knew about Cassini's Division and Someplace Else getting divorced before the official announcement, so I had time to let all of this sink in.

That I am disappointed is an under-statement.

I have been an SPE regular for many a year and I have seen all the bands here perform. I have also seen the crowds SPE has been drawing over the years. And I guess some things wont ever change.

SPE - Kolkata will always be a classic rock and blues hub, where people celebrate the technical excellence of musicians covering songs. Where people will have a few pegs and keep on asking a band to play The Doors or the Beatles or "WHERE WERE YOU" by Floyd... sheesh. They cant even get the name of songs right.

It was a very brave thing for SPE and Gautam Singh to get a band like Cassini's Division to play regularly in such an evironment - CD had just managed to get a foot hold in the industry then, and asking them to play @ SPE was almost like throwing them to a pack of hungry wolves.

But history will have recorded the fact that they were more than succesful there after a few initial hiccups. They managed to shock the puritans @ SPE and gave all the established bands a good run for their money - and actually outshining most of them.

Listening to them - personally it opened my eyes to the trials and tribulations of being in a rock band, and trying to do something new. It made me believe that Kolkata finally had a bunch of musicians to be proud about, who were willing to show to the rest of the city that you could play your own songs and NOT cover FLOYD and still be able to produce good quality music. And draw huge crowds as well.

I guess its no secret that I am CD freak to the core - i am proud to be one. And I'm also glad that i am not the only one here. The Sunday ALTER JAMS brought in scores of us freaks and we moshed and headbanged for 2 hours and had the times of our lives. I'm glad no one from the Friday crowd ever came in, we'd have probably mass murdered them all and strung up their body parts in front of the stage.

But anyway this current SPE chapter is over for CD and I am sure the PARK management must be heaving a HUGE sigh of relief:

- no more headbanging or moshing or jumping down from the speakers
- no more breaking of beer bottles during crazy headbanging frenzies
- no more screaming and behaving aggressively with ppl inside SPE during the shows
- no more crowding outside in the lobby of Park Hotel after shows and having huge addas
... gosh its no wonder the ppl there are heaving a huge sigh of relief.

Well, the Alter Jams were started for a reason, and it did work out splendidly - i wud know, i missed only 5 shows on sunday evening in these last 2-3 years. But I guess SPE is going to have to close down this concept... i dont see any band even being able to garner 5 % of the crowd that CD did... they set a standard which is going to be hard to beat. Even Hip Pocket wudnt be successful - so exit CD virtually means the exit of 400 odd fans from the scene there. The numbers might not be huge in terms of paying clientele i guess, so no wonder SPE cares whether CD stay or leave. Well that's my impression anyway.

Anyway, the bottom line is this: CD were the best thing to have happened to SPE in recent times. It was a rocky alliance no doubt but i am sure something cud have been done to salvage this marriage... and its disappointing to see the end come like this.

SPE will always be the place to be as far as music goes in Kolkata, of that there is no doubt - and I will always be there for good or for worse... but I know for sure that my evenings there wont be the same again.

And SPE hasnt managed to address or acknowledge the fact that music is much more than classic rock, bidding adieu to CD kinda added fuel to my theory. Ah well - rejoice Hip Pocket fans and lovers of classic rock - SPE is exclusively yours again... and its back to my i-pod for me with my collection of metal and alternative...

And now for the show - the final ALTER JAM show @ SPE:

The Date: The 22nd of July
The Venue: Someplace Else (where else?)

Awesome show, maybe their best show ever @ SPE - and fuck all of you who think otherwise.

I will spare you my running commentary on the incident filled gig that occured this evening... if you missed their last official show @ SPE then you are a big loser. A big big LOSER.

And its not about being a CD freak or having a love for heavy music... if you are a lover of good quality original music then you should have been here. Yes you were a big loser - no doubt about that!

Dare I say (at the cost of sounding repetitive) that this is SPE's loss, big time - the kinda crowd that came in today for the show... well I'll be suprised if the Pub Rock gigs @ SPE even manage to get in that many ppl...

Ah well. Post here if you want to share your thought on today's gig. I'm at a loss for words right now (even tho I have been rambling above )... new songs, head banging galore, violent moshing, fights with bouncers, fans getting injured, me jumping off the speaker for one last time, the crowd singing so loudly that rahul stood and looked at all of us like a happy father would do when his child does well at an exam, screaming and shouting and mass hysteria... we had it all and much more.

Sad? You bet - its an end of an era @ SPE - but happy too, for the band... and happy that I got to see one of the best ever shows that SPE has hosted. And I would know... I've seen them all.

Last but not the least - a small tribute to the crowd - die-hard CD fans and music lovers every last one of them. A dedicated group of people who will never let CD walk alone...

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