A sea of crowd waits in anticipation,
there is a strange sort of silence onstage,
for those few moments, the world slows its speed, and we forget to breathe…
Till the resonating strums of a guitar float teasingly into the air
before drowning into the crowd’s cheers
and the world starts to spin again.
Words probably aren’t enough to capture the current of raw energy that flows
back and forth during live music performances that have come to acquire a
cult status among the audiences in Delhi. The visual appeal of gigs has
noticeably overtaken the normative option of recorded music. What better way
to entirely connect with an artist’s music than to see it performed live,
complete with all the emotions and thoughts behind the composition. Rohit Bhattacharya, bass guitarist of Guillotine and Jokes Apart, says “People attend gigs mostly for free entertainement or to see their friends perform. Genuine music lovers make up only five percent of the crowd, though the scene is always changing and creative spikes are leading to a greater interest in the music aspect.”
The gig scene in Delhi is especially widespread because of the huge number
of bands existing within colleges and schools here. Most colleges of Delhi
University have bands that perform for college fests and informal gigs all
year round, getting their presence felt in the music scene of the city. Gigs
have become an essential means of gathering a fan base and building
popularity among peers, besides keeping the bands in the limelight, ready to
be spotted by record labels and music companies.
If there’s anyone who benefits more than the musicians themselves from these
deals, it’s the venue owners. Right from pulling the right kind of crowd to
mixing the right kind of drinks, these lounges and bars make the most of the
gigs they host, hitting new highs on the popularity and profitability scale. Ajit Singh,Managing Director of Manajsa, a live music destination pub at Hauz Khas has come up with a unique concept. “We host an open college fest every tuesday where different colleges from Delhi are invited to perform covers and original compositions in a bid to promote local talent. Saturdays are kept for gigs that pay tribute to music maestros from the yesteryears. There is a lot of talent in this country and the best part is the willingness of people to actually come and listen to these performances and savour them.” he says.
Other popular gig venues include Turquoise Cottage, Café Morrison, Hard Rock Café, The Living Room Café and more. Popular outdoor venues are Garden of Five Senses and Dilli Haat, besides foreign embassies where a lot of gigs are hosted in
order to facilitate smoother inter-cultural relations.
Besides well-known bands like Advaita, Menwhopause and Half Step Down,
upcoming bands on the music scene are Guillotine, Fire Exit, Them Clones,
Five 8, Urban Rock Soundscape that dapple in a wide range of genres and are
immensely popular with the youth. Delhi is also a regular host to a variety
of music festivals like Jazz Utsav, Independence Rock Fest, Pub Rock Fest
and the Jazz Music Festival.
All in all, this rising interest in gigs is probably just a way of getting
back to basics, where live music was indeed the primary mode of musicians
and music lovers to get together and indulge themselves. Except this time
around, the leisurely, unrushed appearance has been replaced by a barely
subtle, unbridled rush of energy that flows unrestrained. Along with the
alcohol of course.
Written by Meghna Talwar