Hyderabad's nascent rock environment is filled with a bouquet of people. People with egos. People with beards. People with bad breath. People with other people. But most importantly, people with attitude. Any show at any place is filled with teenagers, 20-something college students, 30-something late bloomers and sometimes over-the-top papas and grampas. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are there to listen to various kinds of music.
Justifying this rule is Dark Star Revival. Where everyone considers talking about Slayer and Megadeth as a socially "cool" norm, DSR takes you way back to the '30s and '40s when Blues music ruled the billboards.
Dark Star Revival is Arjun (guitars), Jobin (Bass) and Karthik (drums). The trio had already been playing in bands across Hyderabad for quite some time, and it was in the spring of 2003, after regular jamming in Arjun's bedroom (a k a The Doghouse), that they decided to take their first step together. By July '03, they cut a deal with Spanish Fly
, and rocked the place with four memorable shows, one of which included an impromptu gig with Banglore-based band Aathma.
Influenced by the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, BB King, The Allman Brothers Band, Government Mule and the likes, DSR strictly adhere to their code of playing Chicago Blues, Blues Rock and Rock Jam, with a sprinkle of Jazz, too (Arjun Chandra is also a key member of Charminar Jazz Collective
In October 2003, their drummer Karthik met with an accident that seriously injured his knee. Obviously, live performances were out of the question, so they intended to make maximum benefit of this period by concentrating on their original recordings.
Does DSR see itself as a force to be reckoned with once it is back in full swing? Each band plays its own music, so competition in various places would only help the greater cause. However, Arjun seriously broods on the present scene: "It's just a matter of time before all good music becomes a thing of the past. And Hyderabad does its bit to contribute to the calamity, between the trite, pop-culture evolved by Hyderabad Times and the consequent demand for accessible, unintelligent music by the rich and beautiful elite."
He continues, "While the pop-oriented segment of Hyderabad tries to put itself on the map with lame parties and lamer partiers, the rock bands in the city (like Sledge
and Native Tongue
) ARE putting Hyderabad on the Indian music scene, competing at national-level contests and turning heads across the country. One of these days, the social structure of our city will collapse in on itself, when it realises the nation's perception of Hyderabad as an evolving rock city. With performers and entertainers as the new social elite."
No wonder they sign off with the phrase, "Into Thin Air and Back."
Psst? heard on the streets: "Ha! Dark Star, eh? Listening to blues itself is something out of the ordinary, and these guys wanna play retro-blues."