Riding the Lightning

After a wait of seven long years. Seven years after I started listening to the genre of music called Metal. I can finally say that I was there. I was there when one of the greatest bands in history played for the first time in my country. And they made up for the wait that has been endured by other metal heads in the country. Some who were older than my parents. Picture this, my most favourite album has been in existence longer than I have been. That’s three generations of fans rocking out to them when they did put out a night that every one will remember.

The wait started for me with a flight trip from the Capital City Region(whose show got cancelled and I don’t want to talk about that because there has been too much negativity in here for quite some time now). Bangalore gave me a warm welcome. The friends there, @zennmaster, @notfartingpen, @barkingbegum were very generous and kind hosts. A night of expectation later, we were up and ready to head to the venue.

If there was something called waiting, this is it. Don’t tell us about how you waited to get into a movie hall for 15 minutes. Or getting stuck in a traffic jam for 30 minutes. We waited 4 hours to get in. There was an ocean of people. Some camping outside the venue since the previous night. There couldn’t be a better definition for Pilgrimage. They were the Gods and we were the devotees trying to get a glimpse.

It started, as usual, with Ecstasy of Gold. That’s the part where 90% of the crowd lost their original voices. I was lucky enough to be in a noisier section of the crowd. The rituals that were to be done during Creeping Death were done religiously. There couldn’t have been a better opening to the show. Once it got over, the remaining 10% lost their voices. Creeping Death gave way to For Whom the Bell Tolls. Rob absolutely nailed the intro bass solo. They did mess up the timing a bit, but that was one of the few occasions when we felt they were human beings after all. The lights went off. The metal heads went wild for the next one because James screamed “Give Me Fuel, Give Me Fire..” and there were 10 feet high flames on the stage as part of the pyro. If the first two songs didn’t get the crowd wild, this one definitely did. This was the part where the fans got into that zone where they were extracting every last ounce of energy left.

Then they played Ride the Lightning. We knew the night was going to be a special one, if we didn’t already. The lights went out again. James was on the elevated section of the stage with an acoustic guitar on the stand. I choked on this one because this was a song that got me hooked on the very first listen that I listened to it 50 times on loop before moving on to other tracks on the album.

Cyanide was up next. The response wasn’t much to talk about. I would’ve been happier if they played Day that Never Comes instead of this one. I was complaining before the gig about this track featuring, but once they started, I didn’t. It sounded just like on the album.

Memory Remains was a track to remember. The crowd sang along during the whole track. The “Nananana” part at the end of the song had James smiling and just look at us in wonder. That was the high point of the night for me. We just didn’t stop singing.

Sanitarium followed. They were on a classics trip and we weren’t complaining. James asked us if we wanted a heavy number and proceeded to play Sad But True.

The next four tracks proved that we were watching four youngsters on stage instead of 50-somethings. The energy that they put into it was unbelievable. All Nightmare Long is one of the best Metallica tracks in my opinion. I was grossly disappointed, however, by the response it got. They absolutely nailed it, but all the crowd did was applaud in the end. We could have put in a lot more during the song.

Pyros were expected during the intro to One, which never happened. The explosion sounds were played over the PA however. It was an absolute delight to listen the double bass from Lars and Kirk do THAT solo live. One was followed by the track which is the most special track to most Metallica fans. I had trouble controlling tears and didn’t head bang to Master of Puppets. The song means something else to me.

Blackened followed, although James started out with the riff for Battery. How much energy does James have?! And like my friend @OldmonkMGM keeps asking, is there a way to clone that right hand? The downpicking on Master and Blackened was spot on.

The song that followed was the one which was the “Worth the Money” track(mind the sarcasm). Kirk started out with a clean guitar solo before hitting the 6th string. We knew what was coming and it was their most popular track. If I remember correctly, James did the solo and it was wonderful.

Enter Sandman was the last on the set list before the encore. The fireworks that went up from the roof of the stage can be described in only one word. EPIC!

The encore started out with Am I Evil?, the Diamond Head Cover. However, the next track was something that I never expected and perhaps, none of them expected it except this one guy in front of me. Battery! They played Battery live for us!

To top it off, they scanned the scene in Bangalore that night. Three simple words. Seek and Destroy. Boy, what a night. It was worth all the pain I had to go through in the recent weeks to make it to the show. The wait, a sprained neck, numb feet, a voice which bordered on the edge of a whisper, the money spent. It was all worth it. I hope Lars keeps his promise and they tour India again pretty soon.

PS : There are a lot more people to thank for making this an absolutely brilliant trip. I am not taking names because I don’t want it to look like a mass tweet that some of the folks do in the mornings.

PPS : Biffy Clyro were good too, but this trip was all about Metallica, so I skipped that part.

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Timeless sleep has been upset

If you landed on this post while on the lookout for Lovecraftian horror, apologies.

This post is about my city. The city I call home. And a discovery.

20+ years ago, yours truly started walking. And he learnt most of it on the sands of the beaches of the city. And the sands inside that mighty temple. For him, it wasn’t just another temple. It was a play area. The meeting point of elders. A place where old Maamas did their morning/evening walks. Just that their attire always had to be mundu and mel-vastram/veshti. He loved dressing up like that to get inside the place. The small storage area outside the walls of the place where people can store their stuff which were not allowed inside. No one had an issue with the arrangement and people spent the time inside in complete peace.(Even though the gossiping folks had their share of issues of international importance)

The best part he loved about the place were the festivals which used to happen twice a year. One around Diwali and the other, around April. There were a lot of exciting things about it. First, his dad would take him to the eastern entrance so that he can see the huge teakwood statues of Pandavas that are taken out during the time. Another thing he looked forward to, was the procession inside the premises, on every day of the festival. First, a caparisoned elephant carrying a drummer would pass through the huge corridor, announcing the arrival of the King and the deities. A minute or two after the elephant has passed by, a dozen costumed folks pass by, which he believes now, represented the different sections of the society.(craftsmen, soldiers etc) Once this was over. The king would lead the procession. He was followed by a few other members of the royal family and behind them, the deities, carried on palanquins. There would be three of them. This part was what he liked the most.

Because he would see his father fold his hands as a mark of respect when the king passes by. Most of the others would just stand in attention when the king is passing by and fold their hands when the deities pass by. The opposite was done by his father. He learnt more about the glory days of the kings from his father. How the democratic governments ruined what the kings had done. Most of them, works of engineering unimaginable to the modern day civil engineers. His father would also tell him about the articles made of precious metals which the kings would present before the Lord, of whom, they were supposedly mere servants. The simple lives they led. The things they did for art and science.

He took in all he could about the mighty kings, their wealth and their lives.

Fast forward 10 years, he, like all the others in the city, learnt about the precious stones used as decorations on the presiding deity. He felt proud about how it was hidden from the invaders who looted all other parts of the few 1000 odd provinces filled region known as India to them. He was happy that the gems remained in the confines of the stone walls.

Fast forward 10 more years. He finds that a few doors inside the region were being opened for inventorying purposes. What followed was the frantic cries from everywhere about how the wealth should be destroyed used for good purposes by putting a value to it. A value, which is a joke even on paper. For little do they realize that a 10g bar of gold costs lesser than a 10g necklace of gold. Or do they realize that the funds which are supposed to be used for the good purposes end up in the pockets of those who least deserve it? Charity it seems. The ones who do not spend one rupee from their wallets on charity want the wealth spent on it.

Like the MP from my city said, “It’s easier to do charity when it’s not coming from your own pockets”. I bow to the man.

The city is named after Anantha or the endless one. The city was in a timeless sleep. It has been upset.

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Pointless Post

Last week, I attended a music festival named GIR/ I missed it a couple of times due to illness and I didn’t want to miss it this time around/ Tickets were booked/ Anticipation mounded/ The two days were EPIC to say the least/ Skull crushing aggression from a very mellow band called Meshuggah and very cheerful country music group called Enslaved/

I was in disbelief about what I had seen and posted about it on Facebook/ A couple of devil’s horns later, there came a comment/ “You like Meshuggah? It was 1000 bucks if I am not wrong”/ I just replied, “I like Meshuggah” and thought it was over/

However,  Chuck of All Trades came to my defense and talked about the attitude I showed about liking what I did and with conviction/ Not really caring about what others thought about it/

That the discussion diverted from there on is another matter/

The thing is, I love metal/ And I don’t give a heck what others think about it/ I love metal the same way I love my food/ Now if someone comes and tells me that meat is not good, that animals are tortured and killed before they appear on the platter in a beautiful looking arrangement etc, I would simply tell them that I will continue eating meat/ For the record, there has been some video about KFC and PETA doing the rounds on the interwebs/ I really think that people who cook meat the traditional way in their parts are also members of PETA (People for Ethnic Treatment of Animals)/ I digress/

So the attitude/ That’s what it’s all about/ Not caring about what others think about what you like love and sticking to it/ That is what metal taught me/ The rockstars of the world taught me/ To not give a heck/

I will buy music/ I will listen to heavy metal/ I will spend pointlessly/ I will eat meat/ I will rant about this as well/

Pointless post over/

Barberians to Conquerors : The Makeover

Once upon a time, when I was still a kid,as opposed to an uncle,  I used to visit a place called “Barber Shop”, every month. I was taken to the place by my dad to make me look human(That the particular style was called by the name Monkey Crop is another thing altogether). This continued till I was old enough to head out of the house alone.

The style didn’t change for a long time. Every one who went to the Barber got the same style haircut. It was all about having the hair short and not about styles. At least, so I believed.

All of a sudden, a new style came about. Everyone was talking about it. Something called the Mushroom Cut. The hair was cut in such a way that the head looked like a button mushroom. I still stuck to the normal monkey crop, just that I asked the barber to leave some hair longer in the front so that it just did not look like a monkey’s head anymore. The barbers still did their business from Barber shops, the names of which were slowly being replaced with <Insert Fancy Name> SaloOn. The other services offered were Dyeing and the use of some machine, which blew hot air(also known as Hair Dryer). And at 50 bucks, the use of that machine after dyeing was the most expensive item on the list.

Slowly, the name changed from saloOns to Men’s Beauty Parlour. They did the same stuff there. Just that the cheapest item on the menu was 50 bucks. And yes, not to forget the different styles of haircut they offered.

My hairstyle preferences changed too. It was either long or short. When I wanted my hair to be long, I gave the monthly visits a miss for the next 3-4 months(in the worst case, it was a year and half) and when I did want it to be short, I made a visit.

Before I forget, the barber shop back in my hometown still remained one. And the best thing about the place was that it was the hub to get all the latest local news. He also doubled up as a property dealer. I digress.

Finally, all these gave way to the Unisex Salon. I still wonder what is so Unisex about it. Men’s hair is cut by the guy beautician. And ladies’ beauty needs are taken care of, by lady beautician. They needed a way to project gender equality and this was the best thing they could come up with. There was a lot of items to choose from. Apart from haircuts, they also provided some new services like spreading cake dough on the face and spreading a salad on the eyes. Aah yes. Applying bleaching powder too!

At this rate, they’ll soon take over the world.

Meanwhile, yours truly made the visit to a Unisex Salon today. All I asked for was a regular haircut. The beautician’s expression changed from Santham to Athbutham to Bheebhalsam. He expected me to get a haircut, shave, a head massage and a facial done. Meh.