So what is it about a music festival??
I have attended three so far and I might be hooked for life.
The First one Alt & Pepper by Aum-I Artistes.
The Second NH7 Weekender Express in Pondicherry
The latest and the greatest thing I have attended so far is NH7 Weekender (The 7th Edition) in Pune.
So this will be about the one in Pune.This one took place from the 2nd of December to the 4th.
NH7 is now 7 years old. I am not going to explain much about the history of the event, I am sure you can find information about this elsewhere. The three greatest thing about this, the sheer number of artists, some international artists, introduction to some new ones. Also, making friends from all over India, I came to this show alone, we actually started as seven people from Cochin who wanted to go to just me at the end. So after so many ruminations I decided to say, ”Fuck it, you only live once” and to just go alone. This was unknown territory for me. But then I remembered, I did move into a whole other country like six years ago. So this is not a bigger feat.
But then while planning for it, I saw a guy on Facebook talking about like minded people who are travelling alone to the festival as well. This had like 200+ people in it. So I became a part of that, which resulted in me travelling in a Tempo Traveller with like minded people and hanging out with them. We went to the events and even went to two after parties organized by NH7.I met many people , but when push came to shove only a few remains in my mind. I might have forgotten a few people, but these are the people who remain.I am not saying names,let’s just say including me we consisted of people from Kerala to Shimla.Also,just to add, art of any kind is also about the people.From the people creating it to,the people who consume it. So the art however good,depends upon the company we keep.So let’s just say I had good company.
So the performances caught by me are given below. The artists themselves are not expanded upon. You can google it. Just what I saw in the performances are expanded upon.
Sapta -This is the third show of Sapta I have attended so far, as always an energetic set. The only sad part is another of my favourites from Chennai, “Skrat” wasn’t there. Tapass, the drummer of Skrat is the drummer in Sapta as well.
Nicholson- Been hearing a lot about these guys and was looking forward to this, but wasn’t that great and was disappointed. The vocals couldn’t be heard properly. I hope this was just a technical hiccup and not a usual issue.
Kanchan Daniel & The Beards-I only caught like two songs by them, but I liked what I heard.
Dualist Enquiry-This is my second him perform and as always, it was a pleasure.
Nucleya-This is my second time with the bass monster, as always this guy knows how to run a party, plus the fireworks and stage effects were amazing.But it is starting to get a little repetitive with the ears getting used to the Nucleya sound.
Day 1 After party
The after party took place within a club “Bombay High” situated within Orchid Hotel in Pune.
The afterparty tracks were good, but went there mostly for the company. Met a few of the friends from Cochin there. Stayed there till around 2:00 AM, went for an after-after party with the rest of the gang to the house of a friend. Went home around 3 in the night because hadn’t slept over 24 hours by that point.
The F16s- I have been a big fan of and have been waiting to listen to them live, but I was sorely disappointed as the live performance was never as par to their studio recordings. Some bands sound better on reproduction I guess. And this is something I have been looking forward to all these months.
Mosko- Among the bands new to me these guys were the biggest surprise, I went in expecting nothing but came out a believer, Kavya Tehran the lead singer how to make people dance. I am not saying this just based upon her singing skills, but based upon her pure stage presence. This is one band I will be on the watch for in the near future
Secret Set- This is was seta secret and the artists was only announced after the show started. The artists consisted of Reggae Rajahs with DJ Mocity & DJ Uri. It was a good set, but nothing exceptional. Went there mostly to see what the fuss was all about the secret set. Was expecting Raghu Dixit or Indian Ocean to be frank.
Jose Gonzales- Now, have heard that this guy is real popular. But for me again not my kind of music. I almost fell asleep after two songs.
The Joy Formidable- The Joy formidable is a Welsh band. They are an English rock band. I liked their music, I wouldn’t say they were exceptional. But I liked the novelty of having listened to an actual Welsh song.
Steven Wilson- So as for the headliner, as a music fan I am ashamed to say, I hadabsolutely no idea who Steven Wilson is. I corrected that mistake, before the festival I started listening to his music, from his early stuff when he was part of the band Porcupine tree to his latest stuff. I came to the realization I am not a fan of his type of music.That is I might not be a fan of Progressive Rock in general.After listening to him live let’s just say that it did not change my opinion but I loved his performance from a technical standpoint and how much in control he was of the sound. But seriously I really wanted to see Papon who was playing at the same time, but when I subsequently tried to navigate through the crowd to reach the other stage I found that leaving though 30,000 people gathered under one stage is going to be impossible and decided to stay and watch the whole performance
Day 2 Afterparty
Went to the after-party but since Nucleya was there,there were like 1000 people there.So let after five minutes.Because dealing with the sweat and the smell of 1000 people in a space meant for 200 people wasn’t how i wanted to spend my night.
Mali- I listened to her and I liked her music, soulful and melancholy.
Imphal Talkies- These guys talk about the current political climate through their songs. But other than the novelty factor, it wouldn’t be something I would listen to for pleasure
Parekh and Singh- I absolutely love these guys music, old school Dream Pop, after F16s I was really afraid whether these guys would be any good live, but let’s just say that I wasn’t disappointed. Also loved those mustard suits.
When Chai Met Toast- As of now this would be the fourth time I am watching them live, if you want happy positive music you would want to dance and jump to, I believe there is no one better in India right now. Also their cover version of Mumford & Sons “I will be there for you” have made me a fan of Mumford & Sons. Yes, usually it’s the other way.
Rosie Lowe- This performance is something I went to watch without any expectations as I had no idea who she was, but came away surprised at how much I liked her music. I guess Singer/Songwriter mixed with some light electronica is a winning option.
NAFS- I went to watch them, because I wanted to see an acapella band in action, but unfortunately I did not find one. The NAFS are a choir band labelling themselves as an acapella group. That is they weren’t making instrumental music with their mouths. Only if they spend half the effort they took in putting on their complicated makeup, they learned what an acapella group does, that would have benefited both. So in conclusion this was the only complete failure at the festival for me.
Thaikkudam Bridge-Thaikkudam Bridge is a phenomenon on the stage. Although my personal favourite “Chathe” was played which included a jaw dropping entry by Peethambaran Menon, it was the now familiar “Fish Rock” which did make the crowd go crazy, I can say that with pride in the third day Thaikkudam Bridge was one of the headliners of the day along with DJ Premier. If not in title but by the response by the crowd.
Divine (Gully Gang)-Now these boys are a favourite of mine, this is proper old school hip hop, from the streets of Mumbai, talking about their life and challenges. Also I am a fan of Raja Kumari now who was a guest artist.
DJ Premier- So DJ Premier or “Preemo” as he likes to call himself is one of the legendary hip-hop DJs in the world, so just wanted to say the legendary status is well earned. Also even though he wasn’t performing at the main stage, I would like to think that the people who actually care about the music came to see his show instead of Anoushka Shanker or Shankar Mahadevan.
So why pay close to 30,000(including travel and residential expenses) to go to a music festival?
Let me ask you a question back.
Why pay lakhs of rupees to pay for a large house which you will never be able to use all the time?
Why pay lakhs of rupees on a car which will eventually break down?
Why pay more money on a phone when you get no phone calls from any one you actually want to talk to?
Objects will break,
Machines will breakdown,
People will disappoint you.
But memories are forever. (Unless you get Alzheimer’s, so it wouldn’t matter to you anyways)
This was a memory, which will remain with me for the rest of my life. In the end the only thing you can take to your grave are memories. The Pharaohs were buried with objects which mattered to them, but in the end the only thing they could carry were the memories of the lives they lived.
So what memories do I have?
I have memories of 30,000 people singing and dancing along with me.
I have memories of meeting people from all over India and nerding out about the music we care about.
I have memories staying awake till 4 am with friends (former strangers) in a city i have never been before.
I have memories of funny incidents which might not be totally legal to tell here.(It involves brownies)
I have memories of seeing both the spectrum of human condition.
I have memories of my faith in humanity being renewed.
People say that all of this was just a distraction, but everything in life is a distraction, your wife, your kids, your job these all are distractions are well, you will be angry and frustrated at every one of these things in your life. But sometimes you do need a buffer from the cruel world that seeks to consume your life whole. That is what a music festival is, just you and the music.
So go make some memories.
Special plug off to my home town boys Thaikkudam Bridge and When Chai Met Toast. Both made the mallus proud.
A dream dance party would be with Mosko, Madboy Mink and Dualist Enquiry.
Had planned on meeting with a couple of friends from Kochi,which did not happen due to reasons,but unexpectedly met with other friends from Kochi.
Tips for the future:-
Phones won’t work by the end of the event because the cell phone tower won’t be able to handle the sheer number of people.
Tell your friends a mutual meeting place to meet after the event is done.Would spend a lot of time otherwise searching for them.
Arrange a transportation at least from the venue,you won’t find an Uber easily.