Karnivool atmosphere in India
COMO IT’S always going to be an experience like no other when one travels to India and Karnivool’s third trip was no exception.
We played four shows in India and our show in Chennai was one that was full of surprises: some nice ones, some not so and some just downright hilarious.
Nevertheless, one particular day left us with some great stories to tell the grandkids.
The show took place at the IIT in Madras, a university campus located within the Guindy National Park, a beautiful area that is home to large numbers of chital (spotted deer), black buck, monkeys and other rare wildlife.
We arrived for sound check at the auditorium, which was more or less a carbon copy of the IIT University in Mumbai, where we played our first Indian show, to be greeted by an extended family of monkeys.
The monkeys scampered away in fright when we started making noise but not before a plethora of technical difficulties.
One young curious male stole a can of Coke that was sitting next to the bass rig and then ran eagerly up a rung of the stage truss onto a shade cloth directly above where we were set up.
After tasting this strange black effervescent liquid and possibly introducing diabetes into his tribe, he did exactly what we all were hoping he would not do and dropped it so that a steady stream of the famous cola ran straight into the hot valves of Hoss’s Marshall amp.
We were already down one amp from what we had requested, but luckily, after we powered it off and cleaned it, the amp was fine!
The next hurdle came when I strapped my guitar on in sound check to be greeted with a nasty earth buzz coming through my speakers.
I was already in my usual barefoot attire and when I touched the strings on my guitar, I felt some minor zaps in my feet and fingers and my lips through the microphone. Not ideal.
After trying to lift the ground in a couple of places in my rig, I tried the most obvious ground lift and put my Havaiana pluggers on. The noise and the nasty shocks disappeared.
Now as far as footwear goes, I only brought with me these thongs and some clunky boots, none of which I feel at all comfortable wearing whilst playing a set. I cannot actually remember the last time I played a show in any kind of footwear.
Benn, our tour manager, managed to find a square of black tarp to place on the stage around my effect pedals and micro-
Pictures: Roycin D'souza
phone. This provided a temporary fix for the problem, but only if I stayed within the three square metre confines of my shockfree prison.
Come showtime, of course my dancing feet wandered straight off the black tarp and on to the bare stage and I was zapped back into position.
After I alerted him, Nick, our guitar tech, managed to find a longer piece of this black tarp and run it all the way back to my amp so I had a safe runway of sorts.
The show went ahead as I managed to stay within the allotted area and what followed was an incredible feeling with a full house of intensely passionate Indian fans throwing their eager voices and energy straight back at us. I was so swept up in the dazzling lights and the show that by the end of the main set, around the time of the last riff of Roquefort, I pulled what can only be described as a bit of a d*** move.
I dropped down on one knee just off the tarp and doing so made me incapable of using any of my normal motor skills, especially involving my fingers, which I felt suddenly fuse to the strings as an alarming buzz shocked me into submission.
I buckled and fell on to the ground and landed on what was by now a very sweaty left arm while still trying to play the final riff. By this stage, I really felt the full force of the electric shock, which threw the guitar off me.
Needless to say, the riff sounded like an amateur gamer playing Guitar Hero on the expert setting. There was confusion and laughter as I walked off stage with the other guys for a break before the encore.
Slightly shaken, I walked back on with the guys to play the last couple of songs to round out what was an amazing set despite nearly being zapped to a crisp.
Bring on the next Indian experience.
Left: Karnivool perform during their infamous show in Chennai, India on January 10, 2015. Right: Karnivool members Ian Kenny, Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking sight-seeing during their India tour.
Karnivool lead guitarist Drew Goddard writes about the band’s January 2015 tour of India, a cola-drinking monkey, appropriate footwear and what it’s like trying to play a guitar while suffering from electric shock.