Mar 18, 2014

A Dimapur night with ‘Taylor Swift’ and the Blinding rockers

The evening was insufferably pleasant, and a just-halfpants-will-do kind of weather – the kind that normally have lovers fleeing lazily into the arms of their beloved.

But one does not simply cozy up when Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga are in town. Yes, the two American pop superstars made their presence felt with their songs in none other than the city’s very own music and youth hangout, Jumping Bean, on Friday night.

Scientists agree on the benefits of reading slowly. Yes, you read right this time. Skinny Taylor Swift and that weird Lady Gaga made their presence felt in Jumping Bean. Not attended.

Anyhow, some of the commercial city’s more senior singing names and a new, a young rock outfit called ‘Blind’ performed on Friday Night in Jumping Bean a part of the state-instituted Music Task Force’s pass-the-buck music series.

While not famous for actually creating a market for music, the MTF has been running a not-so-rocking scheme that has the government paying recreational centers to host shows by local musicians. In Dimapur, Jumping Bean, and a lounge called The Upstairs are running the job for MTF.

Money matters aside, the evening saw smart men and their lovely arm candies, singers in their high-temperature apparel, and of course the usual brooding rock wildlife who battled depression instead of enjoying the music because Jumping Bean does not serve alcoholic beverages. Anymore. Cough.

As part of maintaining the Nagas’ rich cultural heritage of being late, patrons began trickling about two hours late after the scheduled time. Co-proprietor of Jumping Bean, the shy Nokcha Aier, shuffled around with a camera as she smiled back at the punctuality-challenged patrons while co-proprietor Sarah Pongen flew in and out of the kitchen.

Definitely Lima, Lenti & the singing Auditor General 

Lima Mongro (Left) of We The Giants and Lenti Aier. Photo Credit: Nokcha Aier
The first to take the stage was Lenti Aier, a young psychotherapist gifted with sugary nervousness and a voice. And accompanying her was the redoubtable Lima Mongro, guitarist for a band of 5-foot musicians called We The Giants. Mongro is also of the Clueless Attention fame. The duo announced the night with David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’. But the hardest metal in the world could not protect the lovely Lenti Aier from the shots the nerves took at her as she sang the UK #94. She creaked here and there, apparently a bit shifty from the attention? Or was it those darned lyrics she had to hold up while singing? Still, she boasts a strong range and a timbre worth in diamonds.

The Mongro & Aier duo nonchalantly took a weird turn by deciding to acousticize Miss Lady Gaga’s ‘Pokerface’. The eerie US#2 smash made a good appetizer before they launched into The Craneberries’ 1994 hit ‘Zombie’ and then Paramour’s ‘decode’. Aier was nervous and suffered some soul rock malfunction but managed to walk gracefully by in the latter songs. Mongro was the model boyfriend all the while – shut up his mouth, sat there quietly and lovingly with his guitar, and promptly rushing in whenever needed by his lady love. 

Renee James Ezung. Photo credit: Nokcha Aier
Next was Renee James Ezung, the former promising-singer-turned-Auditor-General-in-Kolkotta. After a few seasons with the local scene in Dimapur, Ezung decided that being a Top-40 musician in Dimapur wasn’t helping her economics. That’s when she landed the Auditor General’s job with the government of India. Yes, that is cool.

The time away from music hadn’t dented her voice as she performed a number of Unidentified Flying Oldies such as Stevie Nick’s 1975 magnum opus ‘Landslide’ and Michelle Branch’s self-piteous ‘Goodbye to You’ from ‘The Spirit Room’ (2001). If anything, Miss Ezung has mellowed, and sounds more mature and confident unlike her passionate – if pitchy – performances in Dimapur a couple of years ago. Taylor Swift was next with ‘All Too Well’, where Ezung perhaps showed the best side of the maturity in her voice.

Blind: New Kids on the Rock 

After the lull, came the storm – Blind, a toddler rock band that shows promise as loud as the music they play. The five-piece rock band sparks with passion, tight rhythms and bursting with rock energy that once defined old local warhorses like Akha Jamir (of prehistoric Dimapur rock band ‘XTC’) and Lichen Kichu (Divine Connection).

Blind began their set vigorously with an unidentified flying rocker that sounded like a wonderful cross between an angry marching band and a worried mother – crunchy, groovy, urban blues rock.  Their guitarist Merang has a kung-fu hairstyle that is tied into a small bun. The bun watches from his head like wise old master Shifu. Also, one of the group’s lead singers, Rosalyn, is just 2-inches tall but has a voice bigger than Arethra Franklin’s bounding 6-bit. Sadly, their second number (fortunately, the patrons forgot its title) was more of noise than music.

'Blind'. Photo credit: Nokcha Aier 
But their sins were forgiven promptly when they launched into an original called ‘Funky Flippers”, an amazing, beautifully-crafted, progressive, and crunchy 4-minute magnum opus that would knock out any crunch rocker fan’s two front teeth out.

If the song is any indication of these young rockers’ songwriting skills and team vibe, Blind could already well be on the way to becoming Dimapur’s next big rockers.  Just one small thing: get over with the nervousness and play like you don’t give a flying buck about making others feel good. That’s the rock world’s biggest success ingredient.   

Published on March 14, 2014, Eastern Mirror