Dec 19, 2009

Lost Angels: Eric Dover, John Corabi, Troy Patrick Farrell, Muddy Stardust rocks Dimapur

A totally happening bunch of ear-splitting loudness and pure white hot hard rock, Eric Dover, Muddy Stardust, Troy Patrick Farrell and John Corabi tonight left more than a memorable international beat for Dimapur – they also left hundreds of pairs of ringing eardrums that won’t be hearing the dinner bell very clearly for some time.

Performing under a pun of their home city, Los Angeles as ‘Lost Angels,’ the four rockers rocked and like any true Yankee rock tribesmen would, they seemed to be having a good time on their own for an initially somewhat clueless audience new to their brand of rock – loud blues-driven southern rock. Interestingly – and completely new to Nagaland’s crowd – the band played a purely American-size standard concert set – barely nine songs. (For a people used to the involuntary habit of expecting hundreds of songs in one concert, it was a shocker to most of the fans at the DDSC stadium.)

As usual, Dover lived up to his reputation as one of America’s briskest frontmen (after all, how many people get to front rock icons like Alice Cooper or get approval to play led guitars alongside a nasty-fingered guy named Slash?). And Troy Patrick Farrell was, as usual, fatigueless as a lion would – flailing away and endangering his drum kit with the threat of total extinction after three songs. And Muddy Stardust – in amazing vocal form – clearly caught Dimapur’s moody crowd wondering if he was a vocalist or a bassist. Then, former Motley Crue’s vocalist John Corabi made a worthy side man for Dover as he traded riffs with Dover on high-ends such as “It’s so easy” and “Under Pressure.”

After a totally meaty set from Kohima rockers OFF and a very intellectually-heavy sounding Eximious, the Los Angels switched on the evening with a rehash of the classic ‘Baba O’ Riley’ (or more popularly ‘Teenage Wasteland’ by The Who/Pete Townshend). The high-energy classic proved a worthy opener for a hard crowd like Dimapur, (in)famous for its unpredictable mood-swings.

After introducing the crowd to real time American hard blues rock, the band swooped in with the teasing ‘It’s so easy’ originally a song by former Gunner Duff McKagan and West Arkeen. (The song came to fore when Guns N’ Roses used it on their 1987 debut Appetite for Destruction.)

Then came Aerosmith’s first single on the legendary ‘Toys in The attic’ album, ‘Sweet Emotion.’ At this point, the crowd became a bit restive and murmurs floated out loudly – why aren’t they playing Bon Jovi or Guns N’ Roses or Firehouse and stuff? Or Queen’s ‘I want to Break Free’ and so on. No matter how blistering hard or loud, the tinge of hard rock set being played by Lost Angeles apparently was lost on the crowd.

The coaxing and encouragement of the charismatic Eric Dover wasn’t having that much affect as would western crowds or performers usually have responded with. At this point the confusion softened when the group launched into a rock version of Michael Jackson’s smash ‘Billie Jean.’ The discoish rocker began to thaw and the people began slipping into the fun-mode.

Then came an endearing wallop of Nagamese from Eric Dover: “Ami Bishi Bhaal Paishe!” ( 'I like it very much' or so) he shouted to the crowd. His heavily-American accent reduced whatever bit of Nagamese was left in “Ami Bishi Bhaal Paishe.” The crowd failed to get over with the heavy accent and the Nagamese liner went un-understood. Later, very gradually and slowly, did it dawn what Dover had actually said! And the crowd cheered back in equally colourful Nagamese when Dover repeated it later!

As the Dimapur crowd gradually began having fun even to songs they were not familiar with, LA cranked up on the 1981 Queen-David Bowie collaboration, “Under pressure.” It was apparent that the band was getting some vibes that the crowd was a bit clueless on the set being played and the Lost Angels were a bit under pressure too. “Troy told us Dimapur was totally crazy so let us see some of that craziness, Dimapur!” Corabi shouted. Thankfully, the crowd picked up the mood and the fun magic spread slowly.

And just in time for ‘Radar Love,’ the hit by White Lion (originally by Golden Earrings) had the crowd on their feet. The crescendo began it accent by the time the LA Guns number ‘Ballade of Jayne’ and Motley Crue’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ came. Clearly, they are international performers for a good reason – they were playing impromptu and treading, diving along with the sound. Eric’s playing was most commendable – his solos bordered on sheer recklessness yet in complete control as he left his own guitar renditions on the songs he probably didn't practice on much.

Then came ‘Sweet Child of Mine.’ Finally, a song Dimapur can sing along without confusion! The Guns N’ Roses had the crowd on their toes and throats as the night pounded away in renewed energy. The loudness followed with ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ of Bob Dylan. The crowd was loudly happy finally.

The LA kept up the tempo with ‘30 days in the Hole,’ the radio hit by 1970s British supergroup Humble Pie. After the heavy barrage of deafening and high-energy ear-blistering hard rock, the band said goodnight. And suddenly, thick silence and confusion settled on the crowd. So soon? And just that few songs? The crowd launched in unison demanding an encore. They got it.

Photograph by Caisii Mao

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