The Bombay Royale
Sounds Like: Sitars, tablas, and Hindi, Bengali, and Tamil vocals recombine with spy rock, porn funk, and spaghetti-Western strings in a colorful, contemporary update of classic Bollywood maximalism
For Fans Of: Dengue Fever, Asha Bhosle, the Village People
Why You Should Pay Attention: Masked and costumed for maximum visual impact, this Melbourne-based 11-piece crew covered Bollywood hits like RD Burman's "Dum Maroo Dum" and Kalyani-Anandji's "Theme from Don" before evolving into a self-mythologizing song-and-dance spectacle unto itself. With each member assuming an iconic B-movie persona (the Lady, the Tiger, etc.), the Royale is fashioning an ongoing, open-ended narrative from video to video and album to album — Dr. Dre meets Dr. No on The Island of Dr. Electrico, their latest. Having played everywhere from Glastonbury to GlobalFest, the group hits the road in Australia with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings in September.
They Say: "We're obviously a Melbourne band playing in 2014," explains Bombay Royale founder-saxophonist Andy Williamson, a.k.a. the Skipper, "so we're not trying to sound like a Bombay band in the Seventies. At the same time, it's a love affair and we're having a good conversation with it." How do Western audiences take to the show? "I guess I always imagined beautiful female groupies. But at one particular Melbourne club there were four Skippers dancing together in the front row, which was fairly confusing."
Hear for Yourself: The Skipper abducts the Tiger and jets to Dr. Electrico's hideout in a cliff-hanging clip for "Henna Henna." By Richard Gehr