Sea view, good music, soft breeze, b-boying boys in the background…all this was neither at an expensive holiday spot nor a tampon advertisement. We stumbled upon this at the Dadar Chowpatty on Saturday.
Bandstand Revival defines what the true essence of being a musician is. It’s to make good music and spread it around without wax or counting money. An initiative by Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it aims to bring back the swinging live band performances of the 1800’s minus the spiffy marching bands. The goal is to promote indie bands of Mumbai and offer good music to people for free at the same time.
We plopped ourselves on the steps and decided that we couldn’t possibly hate anything which came with that view. Looking around, the misconception that most of this country only prefers music which has Katrina Kaif breaking a hip was pleasantly shattered as we saw all kinds of people- families, kids, old people, making their way to the venue just for music’s sake.
And so it began…
Tejas Menon, flipping hair with casual ease that probably comes with years of practice, kicked the whole thing off with the dancy accusing Evidance (yes with an ‘a’). The jumpy rhythm with that lovely voice set the mood for a casual laidback evening on the garden steps. His next song, World Don’t Spin, drawing it’s inspiration from fragments of Bill Bryson’s brilliant A Short History of Nearly Everything, was about letting a girl know that she’s not the only one in the universe. Ouch! Way to make a girl feel special Mr. Menon.
When asked about his music, he coyly says it’s about “real things in life, like love, cats and aliens”. Cat, obviously being right at the top of the list, was the subject for his next number, aptly titled Meow, which also served as a pretty catchy chorus. Confessing that he occasionally feels like an alien in this world, he moved on to Send me home, which was about him wanting to go back to his home planet.
After a brief (and facepalm-ish) pause to hunt for his missing phone which apparently had the set list (of course), he floored everyone by crooning a song called Ruby, because the best songs are always about a girl named after a jewel…Or candy. He ended the set with Seal’s classic Kiss from a rose, which had everyone humming along and couples shuffling closer to each other. Most of his stuff seemed to be about love and various women (playyya!). Overkill you would think, but he seemed to pull them off with pretty decent music and some good ol’ flair, without being boderline cheesy. Some work on the stage presence would be cool though.
As Tejas ended his set and ran off to search for the aforementioned incognito phone, Highway To heaven took the stage.
HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN:
Whatever you say about this band, you cannot say that they don’t have enough energy. CJ, the cheery vocalist, was intent on keeping the audience on their feet (literally) the whole time, but he underestimated the collective laziness that we’re known for when we have some nice weather and scenery going on.
They started their set with Isn’t it Kool. Although it had all the elements of being a fun, peppy song, it seemed to be lacking something, and it wasn’t just the ‘c’. CJ, although great at the energy front, went off on his vocals a number of times. Some Autotune, I daresay? Darryl however, made up for it on the guitars. Beautiful Day, a crowd favourite and their next song, worked much better. The vocalist compensated for the last song and sang beautifully for the beautiful day that it was. Before we could get too comfortable, we were heckled into standing again, as their comparatively fast tempo-ed La la la kicked off.
H2H was a perfect fit for the place and the crowd. They were fun, energetic and the music was pretty polished. However, the vocals could have been much better.
The band members of Seher walked up to the stage like old veterans in the scene. Adjusting their arty mufflers (stoles? scarves?), and settling in quickly, they jumped right into the fast paced Beera. Anchal’s vocals fit the band’s sound perfectly. Although there were a number of dull moments, they were balanced by the good ones. Moving on to Junoon’s Garaj Baras, always a crowd pleaser, they had everyone cheering and on their feet, by choice this time.
Seher’s performances are gradually becoming tighter with each show. Being very Indian and yet not classical, they seem to have the perfect blend which works for a large audience. Their Originals like Piya, Tere bin and Sirf Tum were major hits.
Also, we’d like to specially mention those talented boys b-boying behind the artists. Their thing fit the situation in a strange way, even if it wasn’t planned. Some more revivals like this and we’re golden I say. Cause don’t you know, we (like always) are talkin’ about a music revolution.
PHOTO CREDITS: Priyam Bagga & Deepak Ramesh