New Delhi based Indian folk metal band Bloodywood found popularity through their eclectic covers of pop tracks on YouTube, but they’ve now taken to releasing their own music and are enjoying their new found popularity.
The ‘Raj Against The Machine’ UK tour saw the band hit up a whole bunch of sold out shows in major cities, and they have a final treat of finishing their string of dates on a high at The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes.
Sole support band Armada Of Secrets  are musically a million miles away from the music that the headliners are bringing tonight, but are enchantingly infectious with their unique style of funk rock. The three piece are excellently fronted by eccentric bassist Carl Dawkins and superstar vocalist Caroline Kabera, who compliment one another effortlessly on the likes of ‘Black Dulwich’ and Bleeding Me Dry’.
The songs are fast yet colourful, and the bass is so delightfully dominant that it gives a completely new dimension to the handful of covers that the London band throw in, with ‘SexyBack’ and Portugal. The Man‘s ‘Feel It Still’ getting a top reaction from the crowd, but it’s the excellent recreation of Rihanna‘s ‘Pour It Up’ that gives Kabera the real platform to show off her phenomenal voice.
The room is sweating with anticipation (and sweat) for Bloodywood  to hit the stage, but when they finally do, there’s a delayed start due to sound issues and most of the band taking videos of the fans chanting their name. Eventually, ‘Machi Bhasad (Expect A Riot)’ crashes into the set and there’s almost collisions on stage with vocalist Jayant Bhadula and Raoul Kerr making their energetic presence known.
Bhadula screaming native lyrics, combined with Kerr‘s nu-metal rapping, gives the Dheli band such a distinctive sound that cannot be replicated, and they sound at their best when they embrace that unique side of their music. Karan Katiyar‘s flute is delicate yet the ideal hook for some of the more respectful and reflective tracks; there are huge gaps between every song tonight for the band to talk about serious issues they approach in their music, such as depression during ‘Jee Veerey’.
The best bands have a unique sound that is so quintessentially recognisable that mimicry would be impossible without being considered plagiarism. If you heard just a snippet of any Bloodywood, you’d be able to trace it back to the band immediately, and that’s why their covers are so refreshing and provided them with the following they have today. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is everything a cover should be: encapsulates the essence of the original but combining it with the attitude and aggression of Bloodywood, but it’s the metal version of Punjabi classic ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’ by Daler Mehndi,, unsurprisingly Tunak Tunak Metal, that proves to be the fan favourite of the evening.
Having only joined the band as a permanent member recently, Raoul Kerr has been surplus to requirements for the last few songs but has now returned to let us know that diversity is a gift before delving into ‘Ari Ari’: the band’s take on traditional Punjabi folk song ‘Baari Barsi’. The hit single gets a big pop from the crowd and acts as a huge crescendo at the end of the set, with Sarthak Pahwa playing the dhol in the middle of the crowd.
The sweaty aren’t content yet and persuade the band to come back for one more, and it’s a case of finishing off where you started; another rendition of ‘Machi Bhasad (Expect A Riot)’ closes the show for good this time.
Bloodywood are in such an early stage in their career, but now face the uphill battle of maintaining their originality and relevance as they establish themselves in the metal world. Tonight shows that they’re full of energy and enjoyment, and the fans in The Craufurd Arms tonight will certainly keeping their eyes firmly on what comes next.