Live review from Social Media Week Underground #2:
1. Brothers & Sisters
2. Restless Soul
3. My Girl
4. Let the Peace Bells Chime
5. Let it Be
Quasar, a light rock band fronted by Sanjeev Gurung who, as I understand, is a bit of a pop personality in his native Nepal. Over the years, I’ve seen its members come and go, I’ve even seen Sanjeev going solo on a few occasions in the past, but what I saw tonight was not anything I’ve come across previously. The lineup had Sanjeev on an acoustic guitar and vocal, and the inimitable Koya Hizakazu, their drummer, switching between an electric upright and cajón.
Often when a rock band plays acoustic, they simply do exactly the same thing but with different instruments and that approach rarely works. Quasar’s music is usually described by me as being melodic and pretty intense (more on account of Sanjeev’s voice rather than because of the volume or rhythm per se), but on this occasion, kicking off the set with Brothers & Sisters with Koya on the upright, gave the song an air of chilled out jazz not out of place in a speakeasy. That was followed by a more upbeat Restless Soul with Koya on the cajon. The rest of the set was essentially backed up by either of the upright and the cajon. The more subdued setting definitely worked well with Quasar’s music and Sanjeev’s voice was as magnetic as ever.
Knowing the bands’s regular bass player to be a superb upright player, I hope Quasar would consider doing more of this type of sets, perhaps with brushes on drums. All in all, a solid, throughly enjoyable set.
Live Review from Underground Detour 2010:
- For my Brothers, Friends and Sisters
- Restless Soul
- Anthem of Rock n’ Roll
- Let the Peace Bells Chime
- Let it Be
‘Twas a nippy and bracing December day, and those that had gathered in the Central Police Station were defying the very spirit of the place’s fabric, by having a good time there. As 6pm dawned (or should that be dusked?), the feeling was pleasant, yet buzzing – the perfect time to start the show. And what better to capture the eloquence of the moment (and get the show started too) than the uncontrived fervour that is Quasar’s music? Armed with their simple melodies and deep lyrics, the acoustic arrangements provided for interesting renditions of what are, usually, their anthemic rock almost-ballads. The added body of the double bass provided a nice foundation for the semi-acoustic guitar which, although a bit too twangy for its own good, was effective in setting up the songs’ moods. I must say, though, that it felt to me like they were holding back throughout their set – they never really ripped into the songs – and a large part of this was because the drums were somewhat underplayed (proof of the fact that there’s more to drumming than just drumming). Whenever drummer Alex did let loose, though, the songs instantly flowed, and naturally acquired the groovy good-time feel that rock n’ roll should have (acoustically rendered or not).
That said, they also have a not-so-secret weapon in the form of singer Sanjeev’s voice and singing style that can cover up almost any flaws in the sound, with its perfect rock ‘n’ roll quality and sinuous style. This made itself obvious right from the start, as the simmering revolutionarism in For My Brothers… had all the singing chops brought out. The drums crept in, in an unobvious and delightful manner, and the song was poignant without being drippy. Their set was well arranged, with the songs building up nicely, and at its height, it was evocative of good ‘ol 50s rock ‘n’ roll, much in the Bo Diddley vein. This was particularly true of Let the Peace Bells Chime and Let it Be, and the crowd joined in avidly, clearly unworried by the set’s unfulfilled potential. And that’s what it’s all about, after all, isn’t it? Let it Be had some lovely guitar solos as well, and was a great way to close the set at its high point, with the crowd building up slowly as the evening gently moved on.
:Live review from Underground 96:
1. Restless Soul
2. Anthem of Rock ‘n’ Roll
3. My Girl
4. Peace Bells
5. My Day Will Come
6. Let it Be
7. No Reason
When someone’s been described as a mixture of Dylan and Springsteen, you know they’re probably good. And Sanjeev Gurung from Quasar certainly is very good; with a voice that has the seasoned sound of the best classic rock singers. These guys were fun to listen to in the best terms of classic rock. Right from the start of Restless Soul, their epic sound filled the air, with some smooth bass, and drums that were played as hard as I’ve ever seen them being hit (seriously, the drummer was beating the crap out of those things). Strange thing is, though, they never sounded overdone, as many bands have done, always maintaining the fun that rock music from the 50s had. The songs were largely led by the vocals, but guitarist Sarad held his own, with his grandson-of-the-blues, somewhat Hendrix-ey work, as on Peace Bells.
A new song, My Day Will Come, was played with a lovely sense of sonic tension, maintained by the deliberately restrained rhythm section, topped off with some quickfire fretwork on the solo. Let it Be made me wonder if it was composed in a raga (can’t recall which one!) with its harmonic, and strangely psychedelic sound. There was even more notable guitar-work on No Reason, with plenty of great licks, and the only bass solo of the night. Finally, with the room (happily) much fuller than it was a few hours ago, the last notes of the night echoed through the air, leaving a contented haze in the air (although it may just have been the noxious collective beer-breath of the hundreds of people on the road leaking into Rockschool. Hehe.)
Message from Quasar about CD 2 Launch Party B:
“It wasn’t just another gig for me. I didn’t concentrate on singing every note perfectly,nor was I pre-occupied with a feeling of sounding tighter than the last performance. Infact,it was a very special occasion for me which was about to shape and lead my roads ahead. So obviously, I was relaxed with good feelings and elated having two of my songs released in
Underground Compilation CD 2.
Since my very first performance @ Underground 56, I’ve met a lot of good people, learned and shared my experiences and stories.
Above all,I met Benjamin Gilbert Bair ( Bass Guitarist), Joul (Drummer) ,Robert Mills ( Ex-Guitarist) and Sharad Shrestha (Guitarist) through The Underground; and together we are known as “QUASAR”.
I always have a feeling,’keep working on your dreams you believe, someone is always there to lend you a helping hand’.
The Underground team has always been one of our constant supporter and an honest friend. Our families, audiences, friends are our inspiration and encouragment to every single song we write and music we play.”
Sanjeev Gurung (Vocals/Guitars/Words/Music) -Quasar
Live Review from Underground 78:
The final act was Quasar. This was the second time I’ve seen them live and all I can ask is, “How is it that Sanjeev Gurung isn’t a huge star?” This native of Nepal is the full package – stage presence, an amazing classic rock voice and epic story songs that draw you in and demand your attention. The three members of Quasar (a fourth recently dropped out to return to university) don’t look like they’re in the same band, but their tight sound tells you otherwise – as a former bass player myself I really enjoyed Ben Bair’s melodic bass lines. One of the songs they played, “So Let It Be,” will be featured on Underground’s second CD compilation, coming out in May.
Live Review from Underground 66:
Debut of yet another HK band – kudos to The Underground for giving bands the chance to take their songwriting seriously. This band is classic rock n roll mixed with folk rock mixed with protest-rock.
Lead vocalist Sanjeev has an amazing voice – think of him as a Nepalese version of Bruce Springsteen with the angst of Bob Dylan. The Quasar’s music to be honest doesn’t sound that original but for this band, this may not be a bad thing. I’d watch them again and hope next time, their set is longer than 4 songs.