Although Asmodeus has already written a comprehensive review, my $.02.
I came arouund 15 min late so they had already played two songs. As I came, they started playing Junoon's Dosti in a strange gallop, with a reggae mid-section thrown in. The sound was really bad, despite the speakers and mising console being of excellent quality on all the days. However, I really liked the blues/hard rock tone of both Azmat and the guitar player, except the wah, which was overused even more than Kirk Hammett. He then played more of his solo material, which sadly sounded exactly the same, excluding the hits Na re Na and Garaj Baras (which he couldn't even hit the high notes of). They came off sounding like a high-quality college band unfortunately. Oh, about the guitarist: I think he was an excellent, innovative rhythm player, but as a lead player he sounded like he'd been learning for around a week. Gear sighting: A TC Electronics G Major and a Marshall JMP-1 rack amp and Les Paul and Strat copies.
BTW, 2 Marshall solid state 100W heads and a Hartke head and 412 have been lying around everyday.
OK, Alms for Shanti were up next. They were super tight, with Paresh Kamath on bass, Kurt Peters on drums, Taufiq Quereshi on percussion and Rajesh (the mridangam/kanjira player from Advaita) joining Jayesh and Uday.
Ok, just my personal opinion, but I really think they are not well-versed enough in Indian music to do the fusion thing well. The songs which have overt Indian influences sound very very forced (2nd song they did, for eg, with a harmonic minor type scale) and the ones that don't ,sound exactly like Indus Creed with a tabla as afterthought. Also, Uday has a very very weak voice which is ok for playing REM etc but not Indian classical!
Anyways, they played 4-5 songs including the popular Waiting for the Mahatma and then Taufiq went into a set of gimmicky gamakas(yes I know he's not a Carnati player. But how many times does one get the chance to say gimmicky gamakas? There, I said it again) and circus act (girl meets boy, fights etc conducted through a human beat box routine). This was followed by a percussion soloing orgy, where Kurt Peters sounded very very off form and disinterested.
The high point of the evening followed, with the incredibly talented Mahesh Tinaikar coming out to play with his old bandmates. They covered Hush with a fantastic set of frenzied solos by both guitarists but IMHO, Mahesh owned Jayesh. His tone was also much much better.The show wrapped up with Kashmakash and Superbol (in which Paresh played a kick-ass, Victor Wooten-type slap-pop solo) and by the end, I had this very nostalgic feeling of being in the past somewhere in the time when Indus Creed were the BEST band in India. A very energetic and tight live act. Gear sighting: Both guitarists plugged straight into the Marshalls. Jayesh was playing a quilt top Brian Moore iGuitar (ok, what is it? Of the three guitar players so far with MIDI on their guitar, none have used it in the concert. Why bother?) and Mahesh had a scrumptious black cherry flametop Ibanez.
First off, the gig was an ha=our behind schedule, so each band only got an hour to play.Global Unity opened, with Sandeep Divecha (the guy from Advaita and someone who has played on Dave Weckl CDs) on guitar, Karl Peters on bass and Adrian D'Souza on drums.
A beautiful, tasteful bebop and smooth jazz act. They opened with a Karl Peters composition, which was very Weather Report-y. I might be committing heresy here, but what is the big deal made everywhere about Karl Peters? He was hitting lots and lots of bum notes, his tone sucked (he kept getting that nasty solid distortion whenever he dug into his strings) and his solos didn't go anywhere in particular, not even when he blatantly ripped off Jaco solos a couple of times. His amp was some tiny Stranger-looking amp. A legend has sunk in my eyes:-(.
The same, however, cannot be said for the drummer, who had a very traditional, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams type vibe, or Divecha, who blended great taste and feel with a beautiful Fender clean tone. They played a tune called Africa next up, which was very Pat Metheny and featured a fantastic unaccompanied guitar solo. The tune is still ringing in my head as I write this. There was also a song with scat vocals, which sounded suspiciously like that song Saif Ali Khan sings in the McDowells ad. Great concert.
The Eric Lohrer band from France was headlining. They had Eric Lohrer on guitar and people whose name I unfortunately could not pronounce on sax, bass and drums. A very restrained, subdued bunch of musicians who prefered to lay back and feel each note rather than play a million notes (except the sax guy, who was a bona fide shredder). They had a bunch of original tunes with influences that ranged from Tal Farlow, Grant Green, Lenny Breau to the Mahavishnu
Orchestra and Return to Forever. The high point of the evening was a lovely tune called 'Under the Stars' which put everybody in the audience in a contemplative mood . It had a sarangi solo by the bassist and a fantastic, restrained solo by Lohrer (he used a lot of volume swells throughout the gig on his chordal work). The bassist was very good throughout, though but very far back in the mix. Strangely, he was playing elec bass like an upright. The drummer was also very good, doing complex time signatures and a kick-ass drum solo where he played with his hands, a brush, those things with knobs at the end and normal drumsticks.
Another gid which I think will stay in my memory for a long long time.
Gear sighting: Gibson SG, Roland JC120, Line 6 DL4.