On an unconventional version (not to mention, facetious) of the clichéd list of 1001 things do before you die, watching Scribe in Calcutta (I refuse to refer to it as Kolkata) sits comfortably and peculiarly at # 337, sandwiched between ‘a truce for the Middle east nations’ (336) and ‘closure for the JFK assassination conspiracy’ (338) because it’s one of the most acausal events in the country (unlike a solution to the middle east predicament), yet it had baffling consequences (making it more elusive than the Dealey plaza blow to the Kennedy’s).
Once I boarded the flight to the city of joy, I knew that the ‘harmonious’ living was merely a euphemism for the paucity of metal or anything one can use as an egress for pent up rage. Fortuitously, three days after I landed, I happened to bump into some talk on my facebook news feed about Scribe at SPE (flummoxing, I say). After verifications from reliable sources on whether the news was true and that it was an E not an A, the fact still took some getting used to. (Dear reader, the mangled confusion with the last letter of the abbreviation was in reference to the venue Scribe had played at in the capital a year ago and not a picturesque representation of five men in a hot bath enjoying exfoliating treatment. You probably didn’t think about that and are now cussing me for putting it in your head).
2041 hours: arrive at The Park. Not a sign of the band. College kids out and about. I realize there is an opening band. Try to make small talk. Fail. Spend the next hour and a half reading .pdf files on my phone, sheer ennui. Gravy theory is up after an hour long delay. Its MJ night at Someplace Else. The band and friends are exchanging hats and maybe the odd louse. Their set length is about the same as Scribe’s (as proposed that is) and they play some alternative/ indie tunes along with the tributes to the King of Pop. Attendees seem to love their rendition of the theme song of the ‘Popeye’ cartoons. Till then, not a single harbinger of what was to come.
2307 hours: Gravy theory’s done and there’s a small exodus of sorts, adding to Scribe’s bemusement towards the crowd and its reception. After hanging out with the band for long enough, it was clear that nobody had a darn clue of what Calcutta had to offer, but we really didn’t expect much. Sound engineer supreme Anupam Roy had accompanied the band, planning to add The Park in his list conquests after a pulverization of Café Morrison, less than a week before. The band starts setting up. I ask around to know how the city takes to moshing and my infernally low expectations take a severe hit when a long haired chappy in a ‘Trivium’ t-shirt told me that as little as a shove could get one thrown out. With minutes to the start, clutching on to vacuous hopes I looked on as the quintet of Maharashtrians (that is not North India, it is South West) got ready for who knew what. Quite frankly, I hadn’t even given the people a chance at understanding the phenomenon that was Scribe. Big frickin’ mistake.
‘Bakhtawaaar’ and off went ‘ate a banana’ and with it the roof at Someplace Else. I think it was push, but I was so shocked it took me a few seconds to join the pit, A PIT IN CALCUTTA, that too in the heart of the city. Not having fully recovered from the Undying onslaught the previous Sunday, this was ETHEREAl bliss (pun more than just .intended). Right after, they went into ‘RSVP’ from their new album and I must say that a drummer like Viru (demonic resurrection) adds extra zest to the songs. Soon enough, they got into the tributes with the most popular being ‘Smooth Criminal’. ‘M-power’ was the second of the songs from Mark of Teja. The entire show was strewn with trademark stage acts from an appearance by a fan in a superman t-shirt to an emo kid busting some moves to the MJ treats. The kid didn’t call it a night after the babu MOSH-ai’s (as Vishwesh referred to the men from Bengal) were ordered to carry him (the kid i.e.) for the next track, which was the irrepressible ‘DemonPra’. After those 90 seconds (maybe, a minute) of fame, the kid, who goes by the name of Prateek, was called up and after responding in negative to whether he had the new record, was told jovially by Akshay to step off. Moving on the rabid, rancid fans of Calcutta (RSJ office is convulsing into delusions after that sentence, as we all munch on some scribble cellulose sheets), were treated to scribe’s single ‘etherea’ (blissful, anyone) and a song about their love for onions, tomatoes and well, lemons ‘I love you, pav bhaji’. The carnage continuing, they churned out ‘Pomari Begattari’ from Confect., which was free with Mark of Teja (promotions, promotions). Up next was the rebus ‘1234 dracula’ that had a pit large enough to guise itself as one from any other metro. They ended (at least officially) with ‘One wing Pencil’ from Have Hard. Will Core. but with the quality crowd present, they weren’t going to be let of easy. After an encore of ‘ate a banana’ a man, probably in his 30’s, coaxed Scribe, while they were packing up, for another gut-wrenching song and they obliged with ‘1234 dracula’.
It had everything that has ever happened in the country and the fact that it was Calcutta, only made it sweeter. With no intervention from the authorities at SPE (who incurred no losses), it’s a lesson for the rest of the nation, that there needs to be a chasm between the men in black and the boys (and overzealous girls), donning the same colour. Now whoever doubts that Calcutta knows its metal, eeo jaast ooait end ooatch (for the uninitiated, that is how most Calcuttans would say ‘you just wait and watch)