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Review |  13 Feb 2017 21:05 |  By Soubir Moitra

While guitars gently wept at the Mahindra Blues Fest

MUMBAI: If you are one of those people who are awkward at clubs because you have no clue what the lyrics are to the song people are losing their mind to, you’d probably still go to a blues fest and duckwalk! If, in this new era of EDM mania, you still have Foxy Lady on full volume while you’re sipping on beer, I am sure you’re still recovering from the Mahindra Blues Fest hangover.

With two days of hardcore guitar wailing and electrifying performances from as young as a 17-year-old Quinn Sullivan to a 60-year-old Janiva Magness, the Mahindra Blues fest had it all. The fest kicked off with a breath-taking performance from Warren Mendosa’s instrumental act Blackstrat Blues that set the mood for the rest of the festival. The instrumental act played numbers from their albums and also finished off with a powerful display of vocals by Tejas Menon, their guitar player. This was followed by a supremely energetic performance by the Janiva Magness band. The Grammy nominee blues singer proved that age is just a number with her monstrous vocal abilities. Guitar player Zach Zunis would put any youngster to shame with his electrifying stage presence and control over his instrument. The band pulled off a full one and a half  hour set with numbers from their latest album ‘Love Wins Again’ and also a few of, guitar player, Garret Deloian’s compositions to serenade the evening for the audience.

The first night wrapped up with a remarkable performance by Quinn Sullivan which almost went on till late midnight. Although that was barely an issue given the food stalls had some simply delightful wraps and burgers to fill you up and a bar that was pretty reasonable on the pocket. The most awaited performance of the night was that of Quinn Sullivan’s, a ridiculously good singer-songwriter at the age of 17. “He is only half a veteran” said the emcee before the young prodigy took over and literally left people on the other side of the stage speechless. With noticeable Derek Trucks’ influences, this young lad teamed up with the legendary Buddy Guy’s keyboard player Marty Sammon only left us wondering the kind of magic he is going to create in the coming years of his career. It was an absolute joy to see this boy mess around with his guitar. People would have stayed there throughout the night had he kept on playing.

The second evening of the festival greeted the Grainne Duffy band to stage one which was named the SoulStrat Garden after the currently active Indian bands Soulmate and Blackstrat Blues. The Grainne Duffy band was arguably the best act of the evening with modern peppy blues numbers. Duffy mesmerized the audience with her incredibly powerful voice and beautifully written songs.

The second evening saw quite a large footfall with people lined up right up to the main gate of Mehboob studios waiting for the main act of the evening which featured the extravagant Billy Gibbons from ZZ top along with the Supersonic Blues Machine and Eric Gales. But before that there was the beautiful Shameika Copeland who with her pitch perfect voice won the hearts of the audience that went crazy asking for more. The night saw a memorable end to it with a classic set from the Supersonic Blues Machine who paid tribute to Walter Trout, in fact called him their “biggest inspiration.’ The band teamed up with none other than Billy Gibbons and Eric Gales gave people a reason stay back late. The event was graced with the likes of Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan. The couple was spotted shaking their heads to some classic Texas blues.

After two days of some insane music, the festival ended with an impromptu live jam session on stage with all the headlining artists which were the cherry to the cake. From ripping solos to crystal like singing, Mahindra Blues Fest had everything a true Blues lover would want under one roof. You had to be there to know what you missed.