The stage was set for a perfect Thursday night. Coldplay plus reputed solo artists plus Cool Chef Café, with its zebra printed couches which would look more at home in some pornographic film from the 80s. Or the 90s. It almost seemed to good to be true. So we over-excitedly plopped ourselves on the aforementioned couches and waited for the gig to start at 9:15.
Slid deeper into the couches. Had a debate on why the Cool chef Café bouncers stamped ‘SEX’ on our wrists the last time we were there for the Modern mafia gig. Was it synonymous with the couch? If yes, then why just a cold ‘C3’ now? Why was the staff wearing black shirts with marijuana leaves printed on them?
Simran Talreja and Gaurav Jagwani warmed up by playing a couple of songs including Adele’s viral Rolling in the Deep. The seven people present in the room clapped and smiled awkwardly at each other. Coldplay couldn’t be far now.
Simran and Gaurav got done with the warm up and vamoosed. We wandered around, saw Warren Mendonsa, and got excited to learn that he was a Coldplay fan.
Klutzily asked Anoushka Lewis (Nush) just what role does a harp play at a Coldplay tribute gig. “Nothing”, she explained, “I don’t play Coldplay, silly. I’m going to play my own set before the tribute”.
Nush and her harp took the stage with Vivaan Kapoor from Spud In The Box on percussions. I think harpists are more fascinating than harps. It must take a very different kind of person to take up an instrument which has no mainstream glamour attached and place it uncomfortably between their legs.
She started with Dim lights, crooning the soft melody, her nimble fingers dancing with the strings. From there, she moved on to the Michael Jackson classic Billie Jean, turning it into a mellow ballad-y thing. People sat down on the floor comfortably, swaying with her. After Moving doors and Spilt Milk, some of her other originals, she shakily produced a paper with Blackstratblues’s Older, wise and Grey’s lyrics written down and proceeded to play it, nervously looking around for Warren’s approval.
The set took a melancholy turn as she paused and narrated the tragic story of her cousin Jonathan’s death at a party. She appealed to the crowd to help uncover the truth about Jonathan’s demise, ending it with the moving ‘Song For Jon’.
Nush ended with the familiar Bright Orange Tea Cups. Although, Anoushka did set the theme of the night, it became a teeny bit monotonous by the end.
By the time Nush got off the stage, the night was nicely juiced for some good ol’ Coldplay. We stood right at the front with our shady cameras poised. Gaurav and Vivaan began setting up.
Gaurav starts playing Wonderwall. Yes, WONDERWALL. So apparently, people still play it at places other than high-school reunions, campfires and beginner level guitar classes.
He moved on to Waiting For The World To Change, strumming expertly on the guitar, with that deep baritone of a voice he’s known for. He constantly punctuated the performance with by exclaiming stuff like “oh Vivaan is just covering up how horrible I am with his awesome skills”. Fetching for compliments much, Mr. Jagwani?
Nevertheless, Vivaan Kapoor, did stand out exceptionally. His skills as a percussionist were good enough to make up for the less desirable points of the night.
Gaurav ended his set with the catchy ‘Meri Bhabi badi Sharabi’ which had everyone screaming for encore.
Gaurav sighed and asked if we really wanted to listen to Chris Martin, and then took a 10 minute break.
Y U STILL NO PLAY COLDPLAY!?!
Finally, when we’d given up all hope of ever being hit with Coldplay at this supposed Coldplay tribute gig, it began.
The pretty Simran in blue coyly announced that they had altered the songs, so we might not be able to sing along. Call me old-school, but my heart sank right then. I wanted to scream along and listen to the original versions which make Coldplay what it is!
But at least they didn’t start with Yellow; as a consolation, they started with the beautiful Violet Hill. They continued with Lost, God Put A Smile On Your Face and other Coldplay hits.
The thing with tribute gigs is that you have fans who come with certain expectations and are easily let down. The effort was mediocre at its best. Even though they were all exceptional musicians individually, we still left the show feeling cheated, with a hollow sensibility in the pits of our stomach; what we wanted was a kickass Coldplay tribute, which somehow got lost in the transition between the foreplay and the “you-cannot-sing-along” covers.