The good ol' blues

The good ol' blues
One has to really love the blues to play it, a fact that repeatedly manifested itself at a recent gig at BFlat by two local blues bands – ‘By2Blues’ and ‘Velvet Mojo’. 

Part of a series of gigs called ‘Blues Around Town’, the concert was a build-up to the bigger festival ‘Ode To The Blues’ (OTTB), being held at CounterCulture on April 26 and featuring artistes like Guitar Shorty, ‘Blackstratblues’ and ‘Ministry of Blues’.

An apt start to the evening, acoustic duo 'By2Blues', comprising of Ananth Menon and Vasudev Prabhu, performed a soulful set of the good ol' blues. 

Adding elements of rock ’n roll to their guitar and harmonica renditions, their set included songs like Eric Clapton’s ‘I Got The Key To The Highway’, ‘Perpetual Blues Machine’ and ‘Work In Blues’. 

“It was a small turnout and different but we always have a good time. We’ve never bothered about crowd response and that’s helped us so far,” said Ananth after the show. 

Speaking about OTTB, he added, “The CounterCulture guys and I have known each other for very long and it’s always fun playing for them. And since I love the blues, the festival is one I’m really looking forward to.”

The next band was ‘Velvet Mojo’, a blues trio comprising Sylvester Pradeep on guitars and vocals, Vasudev Prabhu on harmonica and Abhilash EK on percussion. 

Their set was energetic, rooted to the blues and the fact that they were having fun made the foot-tapping contagious among the crowd. 

Performing mainly originals like ‘Deep’, ‘Old Soldier’, ‘Hiccups and Kisses’ and ‘Everyday I Got The Blues’, they were enjoyable from start to finish. 

For Robert Johnson’s ‘Sweet Home Chicago’, the last song, the band called on Ananth, joking that the four-member act could now be called ‘By2Mojo’. 

Ananth’s vocals blended exceptionally well with the trio’s style and received a loud, well-deserved applause before the evening came to an end. 

“The more the merrier but the fewer the finer,” said Sylvester, adding that the band enjoyed ]performing more than the audience enjoyed listening to them.

For a gig of its kind, the turnout was quite poor, with the bands performing to only a handful of music enthusiasts. 

But this allowed for a more informal affair, with the artistes joking around on stage and the crowd witnessing the inner workings of chemistry between musicians. 

“I like CounterCulture’s initiative with OTTB - it’s a cool way to promote the main gig through smaller gigs around the City and impromptu busking sessions. Plus, they’re getting really good musicians to play these gigs, which makes it quite a tempting deal,” noted Chintan, an audience member. 

He added that with both bands, the uninhibited performances as is true of blues and interactions with the crowd and each other made it an even more enjoyable experience.

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