I couldn’t cover Day 1…due to many lame reasons…I know it was stupid of me to miss day1….
It was a crazy evening at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender , never before has anyone experienced something like this , at least I haven’t. The bands were spread across almost genres that one could imagine…hence you had Hard Core metal rockers like SCRIBE playing it out with Swarathma (yes that did happen). I was writing an article on the Indian rock scene and how it’s still growing, but after being to NH7 , I think my way of looking at things have changed.
I made it to the festival thanks to the good folks at NH7 , who gave us Press entries , they impressed me with their highly organized way of running things. Airport, headed by ArijitDatta was playing then, and they were playing the new Roadies theme song when I entered .Airport does have some catchy tunes and even a drink named after them at the Festival Bar… not bad…
Airport was followed by AkurTiwari and the Ghalat Family, they are a Hindi rock act and they too have a feel good sound which in some parts reminds me of Strings, then there was Nikhil D’Souza , the acoustic guitar lad from Mumbai who as one of the other musicians said “would surely get laid tonight with that kind of music”. Nikhil played a highly vocal original composition set touching the likes of Coldplay , John Mayer and Jack Johnson all at once.
After Nikhil, (ya there were two stages side by side) so the transitions were pretty quick, Bangalore rockers Swarathma took the stage, this band actually managed to convert many hard core metal heads into their fans thanks to their easily accessible music, Anurag, one of my friends , who heard Swarathma play for the first time decided that they were his second favourite Indian band after Indian Ocean , (yes the mentors of Swarathma) This is a band that every Indian should look out for, they are the sons of the soil. Pentagram and Reverend Sound System played at the Eristoff Wolves Den but I wasn’t there for any of the gigs at the den.
So as I was setting into the Indianised version of Woodstock (pani-puris and aloo chat included), my friend AlinaGufran from The Mirror pulled me across to Hard Rock Café stage (also part of the NH 7 weekender ) where Something Relevant was doing their stuff, I must say I like their music, it’s a smooth blend of punk, jazz and ska. I was too tired to stay for The Circus set or the Shaa’ir+Func after party.
The Riot Peddlers started day 3 at the Bacardi Black Arena , the lead singer has a truly-punk hair style that goes pretty well with their hard core punk music, Barefaced Liars were next on stageand they too were pretty good but Lounge Piranha and their dedicated fan following made things so much more livelier.Faridkot, played their soft Hindi rock ballads at the Dewarists stage followed by Skinny Alley side project Pinknoise, I must say they have been able to distinguish their music pretty well , hence Pinknoise’s sound is way different from Skinny Alleys.
Am told that the Dewarists Stage had a lot of brilliant musicians ( Ashu& The Petri Dish, the English band – The Magic Numbers, The Raghu Dixit Project) I wasn’t there at any of these gigs excepting a bit of Raghu Dixit as I was at the other gigs which clashed with these. I did manage to catch a bit of DJ IVAN and a bit of Shaa’ir + Func.
Sidd Coutto is probably the most versatile rocker ever, he’s a drummer, a singer and also a very crazy on stage persona and that’s exactly what powers his drumming as the drummer of Zero ,the band reunited and played one of their craziest gigs- I loved it, or as the frontman of Tough On Tobacco, TOT is my favourite Indian Rock band by the way. Zero and TOT shared the stage with Parikrama , who played their usual gig they are known for playing ( I actually got to speak to one of the members thanks to AlinaGufran) , putting everything aside the Bacardi Black Arena belonged to the Chennai band Junkyard Grooves, who were the best on the arena, however I can’t forget the Sitar vs. Guitar war that happened during the Zero set.
The night belonged to someone else, no I am not talking about KFC , where I had escaped for dinner. While Asian Dub Foundation took away most of the crowd to the Wolves den , the true rock fans witnessed the Black Strat Blues(the solo project of Warren Mendonsa of Zero) where Warren made orgasm inducing music with his black Fender Stratocaster, he was accompanied by SIddCotto (ZERO/TOT/HellgasFunCastle/Ghalat Family) , Johan Pais (TOT) , Gaurav Gupta (TOT/Ghalat family), there were other guests too who came up on stage to support Warren. This was the best set I heard at NH 7 , it was probably the best set I’ve heard of any Indian musician (ya I know he lives in New Zealand now)
Again I skipped the after party and partied somewhere else, it was only the next day that I would realise that NH7 was over and out.
This is probably what the Woodstock was to Americans, I mean everything including comic relief
P-man (Khiladi) and his Coffee with P-Man had the fragrance of independence, independence from rules that the conformist media put on the Indian Independent music scene. And it was no westernized import, it was very Indian, the fact that the menu had pani-puris and chaat , and the sets had Indian language music and mainly Indian artists. The NH7 weekender had the balls that the Indian alternate scene needed. Sponsors like Eristoff, Dewar, Bacardi , Hard Rock café and everyone else must be commended for their support of an event such as this. I honestly can’t wait for the NH7 Weekender 2011.