The Riptide Movement's Diary From Delhi
Drummer Gar Byrne's firsthand account of his band's unforgettable trip to India...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 31 Oct 2012
They've spend the past few years successfully conquering Ireland's live circuit so, ahead of their huge Olympia debut in their hometown on November 10, The Riptide Movement decided the time was right to broaden their horizons. It was the Indian subcontinent that was calling, and more particularly, New Delhi. With three gigs on the cards in the Indian capital, the Dublin rockers got their visas sorted (learning from previous US escapades, clearly), bags packed and injections to avoid the dreaded Dengue fever and braced themselves for the trip of their lives. Luckily, drummer Gar Byrne was on hand to document the ensuing madness of that early October week exclusively for Hot Press. You can catch the lads next in the Roisin Dubh, Galway, on Friday Noveber 2. For now, we'll leave the tale of snake charmers, monkeys and smoking children in Gar's capable hands...
We arrive in New Delhi having flown in from Istabul and the city and its manic airport make me think of times when Man United played Galatasaray. The place is heaving with all sorts of people, including chaps holding rifles you’d take an elephant down with. It’s 5am and the whole city is covered in a dense, hazy smoke. Our driver is nowhere to be seen so we talk to a local about a lift to 27 Jor Bagh. The usual, you always get fucked on your first journey, until you grow wise…
The first sights of India are absolute insanity with roads like a constant Bastille roundabout in Paris. Horns blaring, tuk-tuks stuffed with locals, monstrous trucks, taxis and bikes all whizzing around. I see a woman getting pulled along the motorway in a wheelbarrow, a pack of dogs roaming freely, people praying on the side of the motorway, doing push-ups, a chap asleep on top of three dogs.
We arrive at our accomodation and I cover myself and my room in DEET bug spray, look for scorpions and spiders, really regretting Googling insects in India before leaving! Our singer Mal [Tuohy] immediately seems more at home, telling us at 6am, "right lads, we didn’t come here to sleep so see you at eleven!" Meanwhile, I bang two Panadol nights into myself with a malaria tablet and everything goes black for a few hours.
Jump into a tuk-tuk and head for a local market where we get currency changed in a shampoo shop. Seems legit. Then we head for eats in the ropiest place I’ve ever seen. Walking by the kitchen I look inside out of curiosity – sweet Jesus, I’ve seen cleaner portaloos! People’s voices echo around my head as our food arrives. “Salmonella, Delhi belly, Imodium, adult nappies”. Ah, fuck off!! So we go for it onion bhajis and all.