The guitar virtuoso and the indie rock sensation join The Dillinger Escape Plan, Textures, Marky Ramone, Indian Ocean, Vishal Bhardwaj, Madame Gandhi, and more at the festival’s home city.
26 September, 2017: The Happiest Music Festival added two more names to its lineup today. Guitar legend Steve Vai will make an appearance at BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender Pune (Dec 08-10). He is also performing at BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender Meghalaya (Oct 27-28). There’s more – also performing at the Pune edition are breakout indie rock-dreampop act Cigarettes After Sex.
Steve Vai and Cigarettes After Sex join an already star-studded lineup for the festival’s home city edition, joining metal bands The Dillinger Escape Plan and Textures, punk rock icon Marky Ramone, fusion pioneers Indian Ocean, Bollywood composer Vishal Bhardwaj, world music group Karsh Kale Collective, composer Ram Sampath, electronic rock act Dualist Inquiry, fusion group Thaikkudam Bridge, folk rock band The Raghu Dixit Project, and specially curated sets by guitarists Blackstratblues and Rudy Wallang. The Dillinger Escape Plan and Textures are both playing their final tours, and Textures is playing the final ever show of their careers, in Pune. Vishal Bhardwaj is doing a live show for the first time.
The Pune edition of the festival is on December 8-10, following the third edition in Meghalaya on October 27-28.
Tickets for the festival – regular and Under-21 – are available at www.insider.in/nh7-weekender
Stay tuned to the BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender website for more information on the festivals, along with more details on the artists.
A quick glimpse into what’s in store this year.
Three time Grammy-winning guitar virtuoso Steve Vai is coming to Meghalaya. Starting his career transcribing music for the legendary Frank Zappa, Vai has learnt guitar from the very best – Joe Satriani. He’s collaborated with David Lee Roth, Alcatrazz, Whitesnake, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, Tosin Abasi, The Aristocrats, and been a part of the Satriani-headed G3 Live Guitar tour. He designed the first commercially produced seven-string guitar, a fixture with metal bands today, and is known for designing the extraordinary triple neck guitar. With over 15 million albums in sales, Steve Vai is considered one of the most gifted guitar players of our generation.
Cigarettes After Sex
With 87 million views on their YouTube channel, 1.3 million monthly Spotify listeners and critical acclaim for their debut album earlier in 2017, Cigarettes After Sex is currently one of the hottest bands on the Indie rock circuit. Described as an ambient pop collective, their music is equal part dreampop, melodic and noir. Led by songwriter Greg Gonzalez the Brookyln group has been host to a number of different musical collaborators, working through a variety of sounds since inception. Their first first proper EP, I., was an online sensation. Their rapidly growing fan-base in India will see them live in Pune for their first ever India show.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Take equal parts crushing riffs, complex time signatures, incredible delivery, brave experimentation and almost unparalleled live presence – and you have The Dillinger Escape Plan. Transcending musical terrain like few metal bands have, the band is playing some of their last shows and making a stop in Pune on the way. With six critically-acclaimed studio albums and 20 years together, DEP have been an influence and source of admiration for bands old and new.
Metalheads in Meghalaya and Pune will be part of a historic tour of one of metal’s most innovative bands, TEXTURES – the iconic Dutch metal band who have inspired a generation of new rockers – are playing their Last Miles to The Moon tour, with their final show ever, in Pune. In close to 15 years, the band has garnered a massive fan following, since their 2003 ‘do-it-all-yourself’ debut, Polars. The band returns to the festival, having played to an adoring audience in Pune and Kolkata in 2013. This will be historic, poignant and brutal, all at once.
Marc Steven Bell aka Marky Ramone is an American musician, best known for the being the drummer for the legendary punk band, The Ramones. Prior to joining the Ramones, Marky played with an array of influential musicians and bands, including Dust, Wayne County, and Richard Hell & the Voidoids. Soon after recruiting Marky, The Ramones recorded their cult first album, “Road to Ruin”, following which they filmed “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”. His career with the band spanned 15 years, 1700 shows, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame induction. Marky shows no signs of slowing down as he continues to tour the world with his current band: Apart from Europe & America, he takes the Ramones legacy to new territory like Israel, Dubai, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines and now, India.
Kiran, known by her stage name Madame Gandhi, is an artist and activist based in Los Angeles. Having gained recognition as the former drummer for M.I.A. and as the iconic free-bleeding runner combatting menstrual stigma at the 2015 London Marathon, Madame Gandhi now writes her own electronic music that elevates and celebrates the female voice. Kiran holds an MBA from Harvard and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, political science and women’s studies from Georgetown University. Her recent solo EP Voices received critical acclaim when her song “The Future is Female” climbed to #8 on the Spotify Top 50 US Viral Charts in the weeks following the Women’s March on January 21st, 2017.
Paul Dempsey is an Australian singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist known to most as the frontman of revered Australian band, Something for Kate. In 2016, Paul released his second solo album, ‘Strange Loop’, playing all instruments on the album. The album debuted at No. 5 on the ARIA chart. The album is a combination of dry wit, magic hour melodies, striking instrumentation, and tenderly charged vocals, celebrating the pleasure of being alive. His debut album, 2009’s ‘Everything Is True’, also peaked at #5 on the ARIA charts, and it was nominated for three ARIA awards that year, and named iTunes Australia’s Album Of The Year. He’s played at London, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and, of course, India during the last edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender.
Colt Silvers is a French indie band made of vocalist Tristan Lepagney, bass player Nicolas Lietaert and guitarist Agnan Banholzer. The three-piece act is inspired by pop culture goodness and their sound has a strong cinematographic vibe to it. They’ve performed over a hundred shows in Europe, in the US and in Asia, and released their album Red Panda in 2013, strongly inspired by Asian music. This year, they are coming out with a new album SWORDS, co-produced and mixed by the genius Fab Dupont.
Hailing from Vancouver, the fast-rising Youngblood started as the creative release of singer Alexis Young. Their music is dreamy but insistent, lush sound anchored by electronic grooves. Heavily inspired by the French electronic retro-futurist duo Air, Young has described her music as “what the ’60s thought the future would sound like”. She sings songs of obsession, self-destruction, and romantic catastrophe. Her 2016 debut EP, Feel Alright, racked up half a million plays on Spotify, with the self-titled single reaching the No. 6 spot on the Spotify Viral Chart. In a live setting, the material takes on a powerful new dynamic and has been seen at the Canadian Music Week, BreakOut West and Australian Music Week 2016 as well as FOCUS Wales and The Great Escape 2017.
One of the legends of the Indian independent music scene, folk-fusion band Indian Ocean is a band that set the tone for many future artists. Formed in 1990, the band’s music blends experimental grooves with Indian ragas, creating a sound that is instantly identifiable. The band’s lyrics often borrows from many local dialects and folk melodies, best exemplified by live favourite ‘Kandisa’. They also have composed music for movies like Black Friday (2007), Peepli Live (2010), and Masaan (2015). They remain one of the few Indian acts to have a documentary made on them, the touching ‘Leaving Home’ in 2008. The band features Rahul Ram (bass, vocals), Amit Kilam (drums, percussion), Nikhil Rao (guitars), Tuheen Chakraborty (tabla) and Himanshu Joshi (vocals).
Formed in 2008, Delhi band Faridkot is made of IP Singh and Rajarshi Sanyal, and is one of the biggest acts to come out of the capital city. Their mix of sufi music with R&B, soul and some acid jazz makes for an engaging sound, one that captivates the audience with its smooth flow. While the band describes its music as Confused Pop, they have played shows across the board in the last seven years, and have shared the stage with artists like composer and vocalist Vishal Dadlani, folk-fusion band Indian Ocean, playback singer KK and Shaan, and many more. The band released their debut album Ek in 2011.
Karsh Kale Collective
Described by Billboard Magazine as a “visionary composer and producer”, he has produced and released five solo albums- Realize, Liberation, Broken English, Cinema, Up, along with a project in collaboration with sitar player Anoushka Shankar, called Breathing Under Water. He has also collaborated with renowned artists like Zakir Hussain, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Herbie Hancock, Sting, Anoushka Shankar, Lenny Kravitz, Norah Jones and Alicia Keys. A treat for those who can’t get enough of live music, one can always expect big things out of his set. His live band, The Collective has featured stalwarts including Warren Mendonsa and Jai Row Kavi.
A studio project that evolved into a powerhouse collaboration, one that instantly became one of the most heard metal albums in India, Skyharbor is a progressive rock / metal act featuring Eric Emery on vocals, Keshav Dhar and Devesh Dayal on guitars, Krishna Jhaveri on the bass and Aditya Ashok on the drums. Thanks to their distinct sound, the band has had praises coming in from current and former members of Lamb Of God and Megadeth. In 2014, Skyharbor was nominated in the Global Metal category at the prestigious Golden Gods Metal Awards and has performed at eminent festivals like Euroblast Festival (Germany), UK Tech Fest, Download Festival(UK), Dissonance Festival (Italy) and Graspop Metal Meeting (Belgium), and recently supported Detones on their recent tour.
Bollywood music fans, get ready – Vishal Bharadwaj’s first live performance will happen at The Happiest Music Festival! The director, screenwriter, producer, music composer and playback singer is a seven-time National Film Award winner. Music-wise, he’s most famous for his work in Maachis, Satya, Ishqiya, Kaminey and Haider. He is a critically acclaimed director, embarking on themes such as a caper thrilled (Kaminey), black comedy (7 Khoon Maaf), and an ambitious retelling of three Shakespeare tragedies: Maqbool (based on Macbeth), Omkara (based on Othello), and Haider (based on Hamlet).
Winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, TM Krishna is a Carnatic vocalist based out of Chennai. The voice behind the viral “Chennai Poromboke Paadal” song, a composition pleading to save the Ennore Creek, T.M. Krishna studied at the Krishnamurti Foundation’s The School in Chennai. A school of thought clearly reflected in his music, Krishna’s musical skills were honed under the tutelage of Vidvans Seetharama Sarma, Chingleput Ranganathan and the legendary Semmangudi Srinivasier. His compositions and lyrics shed light on issues affecting the human condition and aim to benefit others through music. His most recent book, A Southern Music, published by Harper Collins in December 2013, is a first-of-its-kind work on the Carnatic tradition.
The Ram Sampath Experience
Ram Sampath is an Indian composer, music producer and musician. He means different things to different audiences. Fans of Bollywood know him as an edgy music director, providing tunes for Delhi Belly (and it’s cult track “Bhaag DK Bose”) Talaash, Peepli Live and Fukrey. Indipop fans know him as the composer behind albums such as Shaan’s Tanha Dil and Sona Mohapatra’s Sona. Indie music fans still revere his cult before-its-time psychedelic rock album, Colorblind. He has collaborated with INXS and is also a prolific ad jingle composer. This special live performance will be a mashup of his greatest hits and favourite songs: Expect to be taken on an eclectic mix of Bhaag DK Bose, Green Day covers, and Colorblind.
The cult Kerala band, Thaikkudam Bridge, shot to fame with their renditions of old Malayalam film songs, in a medley titled ‘Nostalgia’, on the Music Mojo show on Kappa TV on YouTube. Following this, they showed their versatility with an unimagined cover of Metallica’s 1992 hit, “Nothing Else Matters”, as well as covers of Hindi film songs. To show they were not just ‘cover wonders’, the band released originals, along with the infectious ‘Fish Rock’ which remains a concert favourite. The band’s music seamlessly blends rock, reggae, Hindustani and Carnatic music, producing some profound, grounded melodies that seem even bigger when they perform live. With larger-than-life arrangements, their finely crafted sets employ powerful vocals, violin and guitar parts that make you watch in awe, even though a they often perform in a language most of the audience doesn’t understand – Malayalam.
Always charting his own path with his music, one of the most recognizable electronic musicians of India, Dualist Inquiry is Delhi-based guitarist and producer Sahej Bakshi’s live-electronica project. With colourful sounds and catchy grooves, his tracks features live guitar riffs and left-of-center-synthesized patches take listeners on a rich soundscape journey. Known for his flawless live sets, the musician honed his skills at the prestigious Thornton School of Music, LA, and has released critically acclaimed records like the Doppelganger LP (2013), Natural Disasters EP (2014) and Dreamcatcher (2016), three records that cemented his place as an extraordinary producer.
The Rudy Wallang Guitar Jamboree
The Rudy Wallang Guitar Jamboree is a unique curated set by arguably the country’s finest blues guitarist, Rudy Wallang of the pioneering Shillong band Soulmate. In this set, Rudy will be collaborating with other top guitarists from India’s North-East. As a guitarist, Rudy has been playing for over 35 years – composing, recording and touring. His band, Soulmate, is the torchbearer for the blues and blues-rock genres in the country. With multiple ‘best guitarist’ awards under his belt, he has shared the stage with guitar-playing legends like Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy and John Mayall. In 2015, he became an endorsee for Fender guitars in India. The Jamboree will feature Rudy sharing the stage with Arenlong Longkumer (Nagaland), Ztpa (Mizoram), Gytartha Phukan (Assam), Uttam Sharma (Manipur), Cornelius Kharsyntiew (Shillong), Sonam Lachungpa (Sikkim) and Takar Nabam (Arunachal Pradesh).
Blackstratblues All Stars
Often hailed as an Indian guitar god, Warren Mendosa’s music combines the essentials of blues, rock and 70s psychedelia with strong melodies. Initially a part of Zero (often considered India’s best rock band), he now performs under the moniker Blackstratblues. He is backed by equally adept Jai Row Kavi (drums), Adi Mistry (bass) and Beven Fonseca (keys). Warren can easily be called a Bacardi NH7 Weekender veteran, having played at editions 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Up till now, he has released three albums: 2007’s Nights In Shining Karma, 2009’s The New Album and The Universe has a Strange Sense of Humour in 2015. Expect songs from his latest album, The Last Analog Generation at this set. This is a special curated set featuring guest artists.
Winners of titles like Best Band at Rolling Stone Metals Awards 2011, Best Vocalist at Rolling Stone Metals Awards 2013 and many more, Mumbai band Bhayanak Maut is one of the frontrunners of the Indian metal scene. Since its inception in 2003, the band has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals in the country. In 2011, they were invited to perform at one of the biggest metal festivals in the world, the Inferno Music Festival in Norway. If that wasn’t enough, Bhayanak Maut have previously shared stages with metal and rock biggies like Textures, Lamb of God, Meshuggah and Amon Amarth.
The Raghu Dixit Project
Putting modern day Indian fusion music on the global map, Raghu Dixit’s unique brand of infectious, happy music transcends age, genre, and even language.
His tunes are strongly rooted in Indian culture, and tell stories that resonate everywhere he performs. From performing for 1,00,000+ people in his home state, to taking the stage in Glastonbury, at BBC, at the show Later … with Jools Holland, and even playing for the Queen of England and the entire Royal Family, Raghu Dixit’s music has travelled the world, winning fans wherever he goes. Today, a decade after his self-titled debut album, Raghu Dixit is unquestionably one of the leading live acts in the country and is a favourite at Bacardi NH7 Weekender’s folk stage.
COMPLETE CITY-WISE LINEUP
Meghalaya (Oct 27-28)
- Aqua Dominatrix
- Avora Records
- Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate
- Bhayanak Maut
- Blackstratblues All Stars
- Dualist Inquiry
- Goddess Gagged
- Hriday Gattani
- Indian Ocean
- Kamakshi Khanna Collective
- Karsh Kale Collective
- Khasi Bloodz
- Paul Dempsey
- Polar Lights
- Rhythm Shaw
- Steve Vai
- Tali Angh
- Thaikkudam Bridge
- The Ganesh Talkies
- The Local Train
- The Rudy Wallang Guitar Jamboree
- Triau Trackx
- When Chai Met Toast
Pune (Dec 8-10)
- Aadar Malik
- Aditi Ramesh
- Ali Saffudin
- Ankur & The Ghalat Family
- Bad Pop
- Bhrigu Sahni
- Blackstratblues All Stars
- Blue Temptation
- Bombay Bassment
- Cigarettes After Sex
- Colt Silvers
- Easy Wanderlings
- Indian Ocean
- Indigo Children
- Kamakshi Khanna Collective
- Madame Gandhi
- Mame Khan
- Marky Ramone
- May Island
- NH7 Hip-Hop Collective
- Prateek Kuhad
- Short Round
- Sid Vashi
- Steve Vai
- The Dillinger Escape Plan
- The Local Train
- The Raghu Dixit Project
- The Ram Sampath Experience
- The Ska Vengers
- TM Krishna
- Vir Das’ Alien Chutney
- Vishal Bhardwaj