Break on Through to the Other Side

It’s my second week in Bangalore, and yesterday evening was spent at Club Cirrus. I say “evening” and not “night” because new laws in Bangalore mean that last call happens at 11PM, followed by bouncers kicking the party people out at around 11:30PM, least the cops swing by and do it themselves. So having spent the last year clubbing in NY with some scenes winding down at 5:00AM, I hesitate to describe my Bangalore evening frolics as that of the “Night”. Granted, it would be more accurate to describe activities taking place past 12:00AM as that of the morning, but that is often taken as a party no-no to even look at one’s watch past midnight, so “night” it stays until one drunkenly stumbles home in the early hours of the morning, at least in the big apple. For Bangalore it is a different story. In fact dancing is not even allowed at clubs according to this new law. But don’t let any of this government conservatism fool you, least you be beguiled in to thinking that Bangalore is the last place to grow musically. I say musically, because in my opinion (and love of electro-pop) it is crucial for music in the dance genre to grow in the soil of sweaty clubbers bouncing to strobe lights, unbeknownst of the time in a preferred inebriated state. Straight Edge folk may disagree with my last statement, but if you fall into their category and still love electronic dance music of all forms, more power to you! Now the point of this blog entry is to draw your attention to my “after party” experience while car pooling with a bunch of 20 year olds amongst whom is my cousin Sudeep. As Sudeep weaved around the near empty streets of night time Bangalore, dropping of his friends from door to door there were calls from the back seat for some tunes. I was all to quick to whip out my ipod, more than ready to satiate the appetite for a bangin beat. But to my surprise it was not a beat that they wanted, rather the age old staples— the likes of Led Zepplin. Now based on previous discussions with other Bangalore youths, I have found that a lot of kids are passionate about their classic rock; ranging from Black Sabbath, to the Beatles, to AC/DC. Of course I had none of this on my ipod (except for the Beatles) because the 9th grade is distant history. And all I could fit on my 8 gig itouch was a small collection of my favorite albums from 2010, and a few staples of my own amongst which is the entire Doors discography. Don’t ask me why I leave that on my itouch, but I just can’t seem to part with Jim Morrison: the man who showed me the light in junior high, and set in motion a life long journey of musical discovery for me. So the Doors it was, and the compromise from Led Zep was readily accepted as Touch Me was played and sung at the top of post adolescent lungs (mine included). Now there is a point to all this and it is a certain deduction I have made based on my observations and questions regarding musical tastes in the Indian youth. Lets start by saying that the mainstream radio in Bangalore plays the same billboard shit rubbish that it does in most other parts of the world. Of course there is a fair proportion of folk that listen to the charts, but there is still a greater proportion listening to their classic rock staples, more so now then it ever was even in the actual hay days of classic rock. I would even argue that you would find more Led Zepplin cover bands here in India than you would in all of the west. Now as part of my observations, I had noticed a Jim Morrison visage in the stairwell of a popular bar, Jimmy’s in Bangalore earlier in the week. I paused for a moment as I reflected upon this painted epitaph; a shrine to the late Jim Morrison, who’s words are known by heart by many an eager Indian youth 35 and under. In their time, the Doors represented new age thinking, mysticism, revolution, and some would go as far as to say anarchy. Today, the true spirit of rock and roll is honored by the Indian youth, as a new media savvy generation, growing in a globalized world understand that progress means independent thinking. It means testing the boundaries both in entrepreneurship and creativity. Generational change and evolution is evident all over the world, but none is as great as it is in India. Just as the baby boomer generation of the west changed their social constructs in their time, today, the Indian youth are being prepped for their own revolution of sorts, and it’s only a matter of time before they “break on through to the other side.” The Indian youth are awakening. And though it seems the music scene is in its infantile stages in this country, India is going to be the place to be in 10 to 15 years. Not just in terms of music; but the arts as a whole, technology, commerce and democracy. Oh and by the way, back to last nights experience at club Cirrus, (where by law dancing is not allowed) there was no doubt that over 300 people jumped and danced their butts off as the DJ blasted M.I.A to a house beat…10mins past 11:30.