So, finally, first show I’m covering in Pune. And to be honest with you, I didn’t know what to expect when I went for it. Going very unprepared for the interview, I reached the venue, a popular hangout at ABC Farms in Koregaon Park. And I’m not kidding, but 10 minutes into meeting the band, I knew I was in for something I’ve never seen before. Meet, The Equalisers! Abhijit Jejurikar on Keyboards, Vocals, Percussions, Max Clouth on Guitars, Anup Joshi on Konnakol, Tabla and Percussions, and Abhijeet Bhade on Drumkit and Percussions. Now, being the culturally rich country that India is, fusion is one of the most intricate forms of music that a musician can play. And to be able to do it, you need to be one HELL of a musician. And these amazing people make the cut without any doubt.
With major inspirations being musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Trilok Gurtu, Billy Cobham and Joe Juwinul and Zakir Husain’s band, Shakti, The Equalisers really did manage to find the right sound to fit India’s fusion music scene. Before I get into the details of the show, I’d like to tell you more about the band.
Sitting down with Abhijit and Max for coffee, every word that they told me left me in awe. Max Clouth, originally from Germany, came down to India in 2009 to study Carnatic music. He then went to Chennai’s Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music to study with the very well-known, Prasanna Ramaswamy. More than the guitarist, who was incredible enough, was his guitar. A custom-made semi-acoustic, the guitar was different only because of one reason. It had a Sitar Bridge fixed along with the normal bridge, and had 7 Sitar strings on it.
The keyboardist, Abhijit, is a Pune based marketing specialist, and is also in over 5 bands in Pune. An amazing keyboard player, he manages to gel with almost any genre. The drummer, also Abhijit, is a drummer who has a show EVERY single day, and not just in Pune. He travels a lot playing music all over the country. The Percussionist, Anup, was one of the most versatile and tightest percussionists I’ve ever seen live. With his percussion adding to every beat by the drummer, it was really inevitable that the music would grow on you.
Now as they were telling me all this, in my head I kept on wondering how they practiced for such a show! Apparently, they discussed all the songs they wanted to play on Skype, and did a one day rehearsal and came for the show. Amazing, huh?
NOW, onto the music! The show started at around 8PM. The music seemed to just flow into the crowd, and everyone at their tables just stopped doing whatever they were doing to listen to them. Stating out with a long instrumental, the band went into a few covers like Shakti’s “Zakir”, and Trilok Gurtu’s “Ganpati”. Let me tell you to first listen to these two songs if you already haven’t, and once you’re done with that, you’ll know how hard it is to actually cover something like this. Following these amazing covers, the band did a few songs from the Guitarist’s solo album. The first song they played was “Mustafa”. After a short break the band resumed with a percussion bit. What was surprising was to see the Keyboardist get on percussion, along with the drummer and the percussionist! Amazingly, EVERYONE gelled with each other in such a way that you would never think that he was just a keyboardist.
I think that’s what makes the difference between a keyboardist, drummer, or a guitarist, and a MUSICIAN.
Take a look at the video from the show. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
A big thanks to Max Clouth for compiling that video.
These guys you DON’T want to miss. Take my word on this.
The guitarist is playing again on the 21st at ABC Farms. I hope I get to see you there!
A special thanks to Nishanth Srikanth for the photos.