Live Review from Underground 56:
Just the lonesome Nepalese cowboy and his best bud guitar. Just a set of three songs. But it was enough to demonstrate as heartfelt and mesmerising a performance as any. What a gorgeous rich, mellow, sexy alternative country/ blues guitar vibe! It reverberated right through your very being.
Sanjeev’s voice is strong and melodic, his lyrics impassioned and thoughtful. Even though the UG crowd had become a bit rowdy – including myself…I got so excited I woo-hooed at the wrong moment and put the guy off. .. (*blushes*) – he still held his own with integrity and charisma.
The UG 56 flyer highlights Sanjeev’s political activism in the song For my Brothers, Sisters and Friends which is about one of his friends being senselessly shot dead by Maoist Communist in Nepal during a killing spree in the mid 90’s. (Nepalese modern history is also famous for that wacko prince Dipendra going off the deep end and shooting the whole royal family in 2001, which personally I have no problem with. I wish all kings, generals and dictators would follow suit.) In these times the alternative music scene is the perfect forum for the politics of conscience and social activism with such heroes as Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Billy Bragg, Gang of Four, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Beastie Boys, Radiohead and, most recently, Björk speaking out. Not forgetting also the far-reaching impact of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts from 1996 to 2001 and events such as Vote For Change and Live Earth. (BTW, a piece of Antarctica’s Wilkins Ice Shelf, 415 square kilometres in size, just shattered and tumbled into the sea under the effects of global warming (Nat. Snow and Ice Data Centre, Uni. of Colorado). Scientists are saying that about half the total ice shelf area, now 12,950 square kilometers, could be lost to runaway disintegration in the next few years. Damn.)
Back to Sanjeev…
Coaxing different colours and feelings from his Fender, Sanjeev’s sound was multifaceted as he mixed up crystalline, chiming, rich, deep and bluesy sounds. I did wonder what Sanjeev would be like fronting a whole band and surmised that it would only enrich his songs and his singing. Thanks to The Underground for giving Sanjeev a mid-show slot.
Isobel S. Saunders