It’s something that I didn’t think I’d see in my lifetime. Two Caucasian men – tall, lean and cute – stood on stage and in shadow because the spotlight was on a short, wiry Indian man called Siddhartha Khosla who looked as geeky as an Indian man can look. And that’s very geeky.
On the last day of One Tree Music Festival, a band called Goldspot took to the stage and made us go all fizzy. Not only is Goldspot named after a defunct Fanta-type drink from the unliberalised India of the 80s that turned our tongues orange within three swigs, but the band’s front man is Indian. An Indian unlike Freddie Mercury who, thanks to his Parsi heritage, could almost pass off as white and shrouded his real name of Farrokh Bulsara under shiny leotards. In any case, one could argue he was from Zanzibar, really. Mr. Siddhartha Khosla, front man of Goldspot, can’t be anything but Indian and Punjabi to boot. He’s brown, loves old Bollywood songs and has the kind of proud parents that only India produces – the ones who dance bhangra to their son’s rock tunes.
Mr. Khosla Senior was right in front, looking up his son’s nostrils, and there was no way you could miss the proud parent. This is because if you were anywhere near him, he would clutch your shoulder, beam and yell, “My son!”, pointing to Mr. Khosla Junior on stage. Because I was there a little bit early – alright, I admit it, I’m a closet Goldspot groupie – Mr. Khosla pointed out to me Sidd Khosla’s mum, aunt, uncle, second aunt, fourth cousin, second cousin brother, first cousin brother’s wife, their goldfish and so on. This explained why the first two rows had an eclectic mix of waifish, wide-eyed girls, salwar kameez-clad aunties, moustachioed uncles with white hair, and me. And we were all having a bloody brilliant time. Sidd Khosla was endearingly nervous and swilling Johnnie Walker to deal with that. Once he started to do some entirely embarrassing “dancing” – somewhere between aerobics and stamping his foot as though throwing a tantrum – we knew that the whiskey had kicked in. He also demanded that everyone in the audience contribute money for a torn guitar string. “Not exactly sure how much that would be per person,” he said drily, looking out at the pretty large crowd cheering him.
There’s more to Goldspot than Siddhartha Khosla being of Indian origin, although he milked that for all it was worth by singing a guitar and drums version of patriotic Bollywood number (“Aye Mere Pyare Watan” from the 1961 film Kabuliwala – a classic) and the Hindi version of the band’s hit single “Friday”. Khosla and his boys played some great tunes from their album “Tally of the Yes Men”. Plus, they gave us a glimpse of a song from their next album which they’re recording now. It was called “Grocery Store” and when he made the crowd sing one line of the chorus, the tune seemed so simple and unforgettable. Less than 24 hours after having sung it as loudly as I could, I can’t remember how it went. Though this might have something to do with the fact that I was mildly distracted by Mr. Khosla Senior dancing around drunkenly to his son’s crooning. Son looked reasonably mortified. I’m guessing Dad didn’t prance around for their first gig in Los Angeles.
So aside from the geek appeal of a Sidd Khosla, Goldspot has a genius bassist in the roly poly Sergio Andrade. I’m surprised Disney hasn’t made a toy out of him. The man has this adorable dance move – waving his hands in the air like lazy sunflowers – and the fact that he’s tubby doesn’t stop him from doing some seriously rock star moves. Then there’s Ramy Antoun with his mad hair and unlit cigar on drums that look inordinately small, like a toy drum kit. With characters like these, no wonder we had no eyes for the regular white dudes playing guitars.