Prime Edition

ARJUN S. RAVI
OUT OF TUNE

Arjun S Ravi is the editor of Indiecision (http://nh7.in/indiecision). He believes in brutal honesty, and thinks your band sucks.

Indian bands & fans go road-tripping on the Red Bull Tour Bus

Swarathma will tour India on Red Bull Tour Bus

he folks over at Red Bull have created perhaps one of the coolest scene projects in recent years. It's called the Red Bull Tour Bus and it's a specially created vehicle that will transport bands around the country. It's got bunk beds, a lounge area, room for equipment, and will be occupied periodically by a host of emerging bands from around the country. The cool thing about it is that once it gets to its destination, it transforms into a full-fledged stage with all the bells and whistles of a club or festival bandstand.

The bus, in all its gleaming chrome and metal glory, made its first public appearance in Mumbai last week and is already on tour with Kolkata post-punk quartet The Supersonics. The band has travelled in the bus from Mumbai to Nashik and Ahmedabad, and will also perform on the bus at the Pune edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender next weekend (the bus will be a stage at the festival). In a country with a dearth of venues in smaller towns and cities, the Red Bull Tour Bus comes as a shot in the arm to the live music scene. After Pune, the bus heads to Goa, then down south for a tour of the region with the Dualist Inquiry Band (a new avatar of Sahej Bakshi's electronic project that sees Jivraj 'Jiver' Singh on drums and Sanaya 'Sandunes' Ardeshir on synth performing Dualist Inquiry's music in a live format). By the end of January, the bus would have toured the north (with Bangalore folk rockers Swarathma) and the north-east as well (with Mumbai metal act Scribe).

met The Supersonics when the bus made a scheduled tour stop in Ahmedabad earlier this week. The Mudra Institution of Communication Ahmedabad (MICA) played host to the bus, and the band performed a blistering, near two-hour-long set for the students of the college. The quartet were quite excited to be touring on the bus, and over a few drinks (Gujarat is anything but a dry state; incidentally Dry State was the name of one of the more popular bands to come out of Ahmedabad) shared some of their stories from the road. Bands in India don't usually tour by road. Depending on where they are in the Indian indie pecking order, they're either flown or booked to travel by train, with a car waiting for them at the airport/station to take them to their low-priced hotel rooms. So for these four boys to be cooped up together in a bus for hours on end travelling from city-to-city was quite a change. And one could tell, they loved every minute of it.

Now defunct Bangalore rock act Lounge Piranha toured around the country in a bus in 2008, going from city to city and performing at clubs and colleges. They went to seven cities in a minibus, took all their gear with them, and made the best of a pretty ballsy DIY move. Before that, and since then, few bands have had the opportunity to tour the country by road. For a country as vast as ours, with pockets of music scenes everywhere, to be connected by a vehicle-cum-venue could act as a crucial catalyst for these currently disconnected movements.

The Red Bull Tour Bus, with its added advantage of being a pop-up venue as well, promises to test not only how well the bands touring in it will resonate with audiences they haven't played to before, but also how well they can cope with each other on the road. It's got all the makings of a classic rock 'n' roll movie, really.

Arjun S Ravi is the editor of Indiecision (http://nh7.in/indiecision). He believes in brutal honesty, and thinks your band sucks.

 

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