Down MG Road….

And now for something completely different.

Opening the newspaper on Wednesday morning, I found an advertorial about Document:Done playing at Guru Nanak Bhavan that evening, in a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. A little later in the day, Gaurav of Phenom also mentioned this gig, and recommended going.

This I had to see, and for several good reasons:

  1. I had never seen Document:Done perform, though I had heard good things about them.
  2. I just *had* to see what a rock group would do in a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi
  3. Christopher Avinash (the lead guitarist) is supposed to teach my daughter to play the guitar at some point, through her school (Mallya Aditi International School)
  4. Santosh Gnanakan, the bassist, and I jammed at Allen Mendonca’s party a while back, and I had a great time.

  5. There was nothing good on TV ;-)

So I grabbed Sony and Shanu and headed out for the venue.

Initial omens were not good – no snackstand at the venue, and we were starving. Alliance Francaise decided it was a good day to be closed, so we headed out to Java City for some lousy coffee and some excellent Chocolate Mousse Cake, which we packed and brought back to the venue. Sony drove, and I spilled hot piping coffee all over the place.

Back at Guru Nanak Bhavan, we were immediately besieged by people who wanted to know where we got the food/coffee from. ;-)

The show started a bit late. Not too much of a crowd, but then we didn’t come to see the crowd, did we? Grabbed front and centre seats and waited for the show to start.

A few minutes later, several big booms announced the failure of some equipment. Turns out to have been some lose cables.

IAC, by 7:45pm, things started to move. A giant silhouette of Mahatma Gandhi (that looked suspiciously like a silhouette of Santosh ;) was projected on the backscreen, and the band came on.

Right, now what would you expect at a Mahatma Gandhi tribute concert? Metallica?

Nope – what we got was a narration.

Yup, ladies and germs, we were about to witness a concept concert.

(Before I continue, let me get this out of the way – the guy at the mixer desk needed brain surgery, best performed with a meat cleaver. The sound system was set up to drown lead singer Chris’ vocals, flatten Santosh’s bass guitar to go “tonk, tonk”, and blast Chris’ lead guitar in “bone penetration” mode. The fact that these guys sounded so good *despite* the nut loose behind the mixer shows how good they were. ’nuff said.)

The idea behind the gig was simple – narration about Mahatma Gandhi, with projected clips from the movie “Gandhi” (complete with Chinese subtitles ;) , and original compositions performed by the group.

We didn’t expect Pink Floyd or Metallica, but we didn’t expect All India Radio, either. What we got was an astonishingly good mix of both!

As the narration continued, and the movie clips flashed (played off a laptop right in front of us, using Windows Media Player, without the use of playlists), Document:Done rocked on stage, performing a mix of English, Hindi, soft and hard rock numbers. Weird sound effects and fills were provided by guest star DJ Dheeraj, who scratched along competently.

Other guest performers like the cute looking Preethi (with a very capable voice) and the familiar RadioCity RJ Priya (who performed on flute) joined the band on stage every now and then.

A hilarious thing was that the guy manning the laptop for the video clips usually left the mouse pointer hanging around on screen – which (when projected) kept pointing straight at Santosh’s … ummmm… family jewels. Whether this was intentional or not I have no clue, but it had us in splits! ;-)

While the music was unfamiliar (what would you expect, original compositions for a *very* focussed topic), it was pretty good – we expected to be bored at some point, but amazingly 75 minutes flew by quickly, and before we knew it, the band was thanking people for coming. During this thank you speech, Christopher revealed that the whole event was conceived, planned, created and executed in just five days! My respect for these guys rose considerably.

Sure, the crowd could have been bigger (but with only 5 days of publicity, what would you expect???) and the sound more balanced (brain surgery!!!!), but all said and done, Document:Done delivered a very capable performance, and the whole concert concept was well executed and a fabulous mix of on-topic lyrics with very “today” music. (Sony thought they sounded a bit “old world”, but you must forgive him – anything older than a month is “old world” music for him ;)

As an encore, the band played a scorching rocker called “Ctrl-Alt-Del” (I think) that seriously mocked Microsoft Windows – which of course went down very well with certain people in the crowd. I should get them to play this at Linux Bangalore/2002 as a event opener (the event closes with Phenom performing).

I’ll definitely try and catch their next performance, rumoured to be at the end of October.