Four divas take the stage with their male-dominated bands (13 men in total) to celebrate being a lady doin’ music.
Sofia Jannok, Love Kamikaze, 3 Guys And A Girl and Shaa’ir + Func played the finale of the Vivanta by Taj Divas of Rock at Blue Frog, Mumbai. We were there.
Starting the proceedings was diva numero uno, Sofia Jannok who hails from the land of Ikea, Absolut Vodka and Abba, ie, Sweden. She gave the punters of Blue Frog a rendition of her traditional Lapland singing style – yoiking – which sounds like melodic yelping, trilling and quite yodel-esque. It was very similar to traditional Native American singing (example below).
Along with her band, she blended this acapella-style with a her own jazz-pop trappings. Though it was an education listening to this 29-year old Sami singer, she failed to captivate, and the novelty wore off after her first three songs.
Honestly, there was more kamikaze than love when this band performed at the Lower Parel venue. Vocalist Sudeepta Sanyal had barely a smidge of stage presence compared to the other three divas that took the stage that night. She seemed awkward, would stare vaguely in to the distance and it looked like she didn’t know what to do on stage most of the time. Her pitch was off, harmonies were weak, and at times she struggled to keep time and still sing her garbled lyrics. “Most of our songs are about love and hate and everything in between,” she chimed… oh dear, have we stepped into a Kelly Clarkson wet dream? The Divas of Rock event slipped in to a karaoke nightmare at this point.
3 Guys and A Girl
Pulling me from the brink of suicide was Shazneen Arethna, and her steaming hot compadres of cool – Sidd Coutto (Tough on Tobacco, Zero) on drummers, Vinay Lobo (Airport) on lead guitar, and Johan Pais (Tough On Tobacco, Helga’s Fun Castle) on bass. If Alanis Morrisette and Alannah Myles had a love-child, her name would be Shazneen Arethna. Mainly playing songs penned by Arethna herself, the stand-out songs of their set were power ballad ‘Stay’ (and oh yes, you obeyed), the country-blues number ‘After’, as well as their very cabaret and big band covers of ’My Favourite Things’ and ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’. Listening to this band was like being in the middle of an orgy – from Arethna’s face-melting vocals, and Coutto’s body-vibrating drumming to Lobo’s tight guitar solos, and Pais’ laid-back bass tickling – you didn’t know where to look and who to do. After an underwhelming start to the gig, 3 Guys and A Girl were the perfect foreplay to the climax of Shaa’ir + Func.
Shaa’ir + Func
After their last outing at the Lower Parel venue, Mumbai electro-rock duo Shaa’ir +Func, along with bassist Rohit ‘P-Man’ Pereira (Khiladi, Pin Drop Violence) and drummer Jai Row Kavi (Indus Creed) brought the signature Shaa’ir + Func gig experience to Blue Frog once again, with added zeal.
The band kicked off their set with our Song Of The Year 2010 ’My Roots’, from their third studio album Mantis and played almost a medley-esque first half of the set. The medley roped in popular tracks from their sophomore album Light Tribe like ’Embrace’ and ‘Light Tribe’ With an exceptional mid-set rendition of ‘Freeze You’ and surprise set inclusion ‘Hit’ (from the debut album, New Day: The Love Album), it was almost certain that this was going to be one of the best gigs we’ve attended this year. With now-regular gig closer, their excellent cover of Santigold‘s ‘The Creator’ featuring bassist P-Man on vocals, exhausting any energy the crowd had left, we were reassured yet again, why Shaa’ir + Func are one of the best live acts in the country today.
Sofia Jannok, Love Kamikaze and 3 Guys and a Girl reviewed by Mariyam Thomas. Shaa’ir + Func reviewed, and photos, by Naman Saraiya.