Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Week 4: Books in running brooks, sermons in stones and a Mark in every season

Life at Opus, although very far from being exempt from public haunt, teaches us a lot of things. Why, after being a part of three KroaKing seasons, I feel positively wise. One can only imagine the effect all this has on Carlton, especially in light of the fact that he’s just had another birthday. Giggle. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make rather inarticulately, is about one of the biggest Kroak lessons we’ve learnt: There can be no contest if there isn’t a Mark to spice things up considerably.

Season 1 had our dear friend and local jester Mark Swaroop, Season 2 had Mark Lazaro of the (please note) erstwhile Marry Me! fame, and Season 3 seems to have found it’s share of Marks as well. We decided to go wild and get two this season. The first is Mr. Mark Rego of the Booze and Brains fame, to say nothing of the getting-friendly-with-the-microphone infamy. And the second one is him on the left in the picture, except I have to admit sheepishly that I have no idea what his surname is. We’ll know soon enough. Last Wednesday had its fair share of good singers, but when this boy came up on stage, everybody shut up. Not so much because he’s built like a bouncer, but because his voice looks like it’s going to kick some ass as well.

Adarsh came back with Alice this time. No, the song. The one with the expletive in the refrain. I don’t know if it was the song itself or the lack of whiskey, but I didn’t feel the usual pink bubbles I do when this boy sings. Bring back the bubbles, Adarsh!

Then there was Nina, who always manages to pick songs that really suit her low gravelly voice. Sheryl Crow’s If It Makes You Happy is one of those songs. Anaita was another fresh discovery with ‘Unfaithful’. She’s has that small-person-big-voice thing that I’ve said with regard to Andy, and it’s absolutely fantastic.

And now, because everyone else I have to talk about is also on my Special List, we’ll move right along.

Chickies In My Pen

Shweta Jayaram
First of all, anyone who can sing Son Of A Preacher Man, has my attention. And you have a beautiful voice that you sing it in. I drew a big flower next to your name, in my Little Red Writing Book. I’ll show you!

Mamma’s Boys

Mark Insert-Surname-Here
Where did you buy that voice, and can I have the address? OutSTANDING. And you’re such a performer, too. I can’t wait to see you in the next round.

Ravi Bhat, actually, but who’s objecting. I know you’re throwing a tantrum about coming back for Week 5. I highly recommend that you stop this with immediate effect. I will be lying in wait tomorrow, in the hope of ‘embarrassing’ you further. Dhoni! Dhoni! Dhoni!

What a song to sing, when you want to show the rest of the competitors what is what. What?
Yay. Venky. Yay!
You make me babble.

Three more in the Big List, then. Anaita, Mark III and Venky. Adarsh, Dhoni and Shweta, I still want to see you guys back tomorrow. And now I will go away. See you on the morrow.

P.S.- All apologies for the extended Will Shakespeare reference. These things happen to me on windy days and Tuesdays. Even Karen Carpenter won’t understand.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I see dead people. Walking around like regular people. And they all sound like Jim Morrison.

I’m really tired of gushing every week. See, in real life, I’m not so nice. Ask anyone. But this competition is bringing out a really irksome pleasant mushy side of me. I don’t even know myself anymore. But I sure as hell know a lot of people with a lot of talent.

The past couple of weeks have seen a very remarkable Jim Morrison revival and I can’t ignore it anymore. Between Ravi (God bless you!), Venky and Russ we cover various The-Best-Of-The-Doors collections each week. Carlton, you might want to change the name of this contest to LizardKing! Although I am still not writing about Venky, he did a deadly LA Woman. And if you read that sentence like I did, go stand in the corner and think about what a dirty mind you have. Russ outdid himself with Roadhouse Blues. I must say I love the spirit of guys like Russ and Mrs. JJ who come back every week and kick some lily ass.

But Ravi. Judges please note. Although Ravi sang an Audio Slave number on Wednesday, I am actually cheating and writing about his performance on Sunday. Because I can. Its called artistic licentiousness. First of all Ravi did one of my favourite Doors numbers. Touch Me is so euphoric and unabashedly maudlin; it just lifts the spirits of a crowd, if the spirits they’re drinking hasn’t already succeeded in that area. Beautiful, beautiful.

But enough about the many little Jims.

There were many many other fabulous singers that evening, some not even singing Doors songs. Adarsh came back with Collective Soul and more whiskey. He’s got something. Our lovely little friend from Season 2, Jude Lazaro, came back and left behind puddles of audience drool. What a charming voice he has. Another man worthy of mention is Nitin. Nitin sang a fairly common karaoke song, but there is nothing common about his voice. Every Wednesday at Opus, I make notes in a little red book, to help me with my write-up. Under Nitin’s name, I wrote, “Wooohoooooooo”.

Now that I’m done with the boys, here’s the thing that really happened last Wednesday. Many many magnificent female voices. Crawling out of the woodworks. And they all go into my special corner!

Chickies In My Pen

I love it when people who haven’t sung at Opus before appear out of the blue and wipe the floor nice and clean with every one else. So…hygienic. Shilpa was one of those voices. She sang Bubbly and had every one hushed like puppies, eating out of her palm.

Judy Das
Judy has a lovely quiet uncomplicated way of saying, 'I’m here, now back off'. Her rendition of Love Song was such a refreshing change from some of these Big Mamma types who try and sing at Opus sometimes. Wink. I personally think Judy should have made the list. Come back, Judy. Bring your brother with you.

Arti Desikan
Arti is by no means a new Opus voice. She’s probably one of the most experienced singers who made it that night; she’s done plenty of singing in the past. And you’ll know why when you listen to her voice.

Meghana Das
Extremely young, extremely talented and with alarming control and maturity in her voice, Meghana sang Before He Cheats, and made it straight to the top of last week’s qualifying list. Ladies and gentleitems. Watch out for this one.

Mamma’s Boys

Ravi Bhat
Ravi, on Wednesday when I was taking notes about the contestants, I put a curly line under your name. Girls like me, we don’t use curly lines. You have a voice that makes my lines curly and my vision blurred. AND you look like a lovely little Dhoni. It’s not fair.

So that’s that. The three who made it on Week 3 are Meghana Das, Shilpa and Arti Desikan. Since we’re on the topic of Jim Morrison today, I’d like to mention that many singers from last week have unfinished business. Judy, Nitin, Adarsh and Ravi deserved to qualify and didn’t, because we can only have three per night. Guys, come back.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go prepare a face to meet the faces that we meet tonight at Opus KroaKing Season 3, Week 4.
Be there. Jim’s coming!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Week 2: In which the writer's maternal instincts surface, and a new Venky is born

Remember I said something seemingly premature and presumptuous about how this competition isn’t going to be pretty? You thought I was kidding, didn’t you? If you weren’t there, you should’ve been.

No, I’m not writing about Venky, so you’re not going to hear a long-winded syrupy discourse on the wonders of Venky; especially not about how he makes such a beautiful little Jim Morrison. He and his cigarette politely spurned my musically-inclined advances on Wednesday, when I begged him to take part, so not a word about him. Pattooee. I spit on you.

I am not going to speak about Venky, because the times have changed. This season, ladies and gentlemen, Neville is the new Venky! I tell you. All these young boys come and sing with these big old fluffy voices. You’ve got to understand you can’t repeatedly do this to us. Women my age not only find it immensely disturbing that we are, indeed, old and past our prime, we also begin to see thousands of hitherto concealed advantages to being The Older Woman.

Then there was Adarsh who drifted on to the stage in all his skinny glory, whiskey and cigarette in hand, proving that men can, in fact, multi-task. What’s more, he sang a song that, in the vast ocean of alleged love songs, actually does something in that area. Adarsh did a decent job of Romeo and Juliet, and I clapped loudly and his whiskey smiled at me.

There was Barry with one of his mad magic mixes, which was probably the highlight of the evening. Barry alone is a stageful, but when little Jordan Menzel decided to join him on stage it was a little too much to handle. I think my womb sort of leapt on to my lap and did a little jig to remind me of my dormant maternal instincts. Mrs. JJ came back with another ironed shirt and a far better performance. Don’t Look Back In Anger suited him just fine, although he didn’t make the cut. Come back JJ! We’ll all go rounding in your car!

Then there was an overload of deadly voices, at the end of which my soul was writhing on the floor begging for mercy. Ravi with a classic rendition of Roadhouse Blues was another Jim Morrison heart-stopper. I personally think it was a little shocking that he was shown the doors. Ravi, please come back next Wednesday. I think you like, totally deserved to make it, y’know, and the fact that you didn’t, is, to quote Avril Lavigne, like so whatever.

While we’re on the topic, I think another person who should have sailed through, was Remya. Remya, you sang absolutely fantastically, and I will eat my non-existent hat if you don’t make it next week. So come back.

There was Rooshad next, and Mark Rego, who both did songs they’ve done before. There’s an obvious reason why they picked the same songs. Rooshad does a brilliant Save The Last Dance For Me. Almost makes you want to do as he tells you, if you’re the dancing kind. Mark, besides doing absolute justice to Billy Joel’s You May Be Right, also pulled off some questionable moves with a very terrified microphone. What a man. He’s got booze, brains, Billy and a belly dance.

The three who made it this week, are Neville, Mark Rego and Rooshad Garda. From what they pulled off on stage, I can’t wait to see these three in the rounds to come. But I just want to mention again, that I can’t wait to see Ravi and Remya back either. And that I’m still not talking about Venky.

Mamma’s Boys

Yay! I have so many!

I just want to say that men may come and men may go, but Tam Brahm Software Engineers will go on forever. Especially this one, with its strange mutation that hadn’t surfaced in our Tam Brahm till he came by: talent AND sex appeal. I don’t care what people say, you CAN touch this.

Jordan Menzel
The only non-singer from Wednesday to make it to this list. Jordan, I hope someday your parents show you this. I have a very weak heart, and if adorable little babies like you keep being adorable, I might just not make it through the season. You are lovely. And, err, alarmingly young for someone with so much talent.

I’ve already said everything I want to say. Come back.

Ditto. You will, of course, be back.

Chickies In My Pen

You’re the only chickie in my pen this week. You sounded absolutely lovely. I can’t think of one reason why you didn’t make it, except, perhaps, three. The ones that made it. Still. Waiting with bated breath for you to prove my point next week.



KroaKing season 2 every wednesday