Nice Weather for Ducks – Live at Lodhi Garden Restaurant

So I recently went to a gig by a friend’s band – Jester – where the opening act was a college band called ‘Nice Weather for Ducks‘, though they really could have fooled me. For a college outfit they have a really tight sound and their vocalist has some pretty decent chops. So I didn’t miss the chance to catch them again at Lodhi Garden Restaurant on Saturday, the 26th of August.

Though their set was short, it was entertaining. They played well and, all-in-all, the crowd, a majority of which was not there to listen to any live music, self-composed or otherwise, gave them a pretty decent ovation. In my opinion, if this was a TC gig, they would have walked off to a pretty decent roar.

The band bills themselves as ‘experimental’ and I suppose to some extent they are – they have elements of fusion, a little punk-ishness and some old school alternative vibes – though they wouldn’t match what most of us, or I at least, would think of when envisioning experimental rock. But this is not a bad thing.

If you haven’t heard them yet I suggest you check them out – Nice Weather for Ducks – I hear their EP is dropping soon!

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An Evening of Sufi Rock

I had the amazing opportunity yesterday to not only be around my wonderful family to celebrate my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday, witness the posthumous launch of my Grandfather Praxy Fernandes’ book “Of Vanities and Profanities” as well as take another shot at some gig photography – something I haven’t tried my hand at in a while.

It was an amazing night of music with performances by Agam, well-known Indian fusion band which had a celebrated involvement in the second season of Coke Studio at MTV. The band performed with wonderful Sufi siren Zila Khan, daughter of the legendary sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan. The combination of Agam’s dual sound with Zila’s beautiful melodies was simply masterful and I think I managed to get some decent shots out of it.

Sunny Sunday Stroll

What better way to spend a beautiful day like today than walking around London basking in the sun! So that’s what my friend and I decided to do. We began our journey at the Soho Flea Market where we briefly enjoyed a performance by duo Lilygreen and Maguire (who were quite wonderful) before getting some tasty milkshakes at Ed’s Diner. From there we meandered about Trafalgar Square, walked up to Buckingham Palace (which is a lot smaller than I remember!) and then walked through beautiful Green Park. I managed to get some nice shots so I thought I’d share them before I lie down for a nice lazy sunday siesta : )

I want Mau!

Most people tend to go home, put their feet up and maybe get some rest after taking a 8 1/2 hour flight, but not me! The second I landed in London, having just returned from a short visit back home to Delhi, I rushed over to Notting Hill Gate to my friend Leslie’s place for a home cooked meal prepared by the talented Mr. C2.

After dinner, exhausted and running on fumes, I dragged myself along with the others to this place on Portobello Road called Mau Mau Bar. Right away I have to say, I loved the vibe in this place. It had a genuine bohemian/one love/hippie atmosphere, which I have to say is rare in this city. The place was full of an eclectic mix of colorful characters – from full-on P.I.M.P.S (right down to the hats and fur coats), to friendly Rastafarians (massive dreadlocks and all) and even a few “It doesn’t matter how old I am because I’m still 18 where it counts” hippies. And then there were the 8 of us who were standing right in front of band, swaying to the beats for hours.

Mau Mau has live music most days of the week, but Sunday was really something special. It was a Jam Night and basically anyone and everyone was encouraged to come up and sing with the resident Reggae (and I dare say, by their musical style, Jazz) collective “The Hard Way”, who had some great self-composed numbers of their own. Over the course of the evening we were treated to some soulful numbers, amazing bass solos and funky reggae beats. Tired or not, I couldn’t help but get on my feet.

Last, but not least, another thing about this place that I genuinely thought was awesome was their cover charge – where other places might enforce a 5-10 Pound cover in order to ensure a profit, or maybe demand a one-drink minimum, Mau Mau Bar asks each of its patrons to bring along a can of food as a cover, which they distribute to the homeless of the city. Of course, they won’t refuse you entry if you forget to bring one along, but it is an amazing idea, and just adds to the atmosphere that the proprietors have cultivated.

I’m almost wary of sharing this experience, because the last thing I would want to happen to a special place like this would be for it to be over run by the uber-touristy crowd or by people who just like the idea of being bohemian. There used to be places with a similar vibe in my home city of Delhi as well, and over the last couple of months before I left I noticed that they became flooded with people who just seemed to want to go there because it was “the place to go”. For those who frequent such places, its hard to see them lose their character or have their flavor drowned out my noisy inconsiderate masses. But, if you genuinely enjoy a relaxed and chill out atmosphere and some nice reggae music, I recommend you check this place out. I doubt you will be disappointed.