Photos: NH7 Weekender Pune Day 1
What hit the spot and what didn’t on the opening day of the music fest
Bengaluru folk rock act Swarathma were definitely the heroes of Day 1 if you were sizing up the fun and “Friends” they brought to stage. The band performed without their percussionist Pavan Kumar KJ, but stepped up their game with every collaboration be it with The Supersonics or Vinay Venkatesh on “Koorane” or Shri on “Sur Mera.”
We’ve watched ViceVersa’s shows earlier this year at Live From The Console in Mumbai and were completely surprised at how much the group has evolved both in terms of showmanship and sound. ViceVersa were one of the best acts at the Pepsi Dub Station stage and managed to get the dance party started as early as 5 pm. The group’s frontman Rohit P-Man Pereira has never lacked in energy but it was Sidd Coutto’s electronica avatar that added more fire to the stage. Next up, Trilok Gurtu’s set, which was one of the most anticipated performances of the day, lived up to the hype. The master percussionist used everything from an aluminium bucket that sounded like a clanging beast to a hanging spiral cymbal that hissed like fire when struck to present a spectacular take on the five elements. Delhi’s Sahej Bakshi, who brought his solo electronica act Dualist Inquiry to the Other Stage packed in a crowd of barely legal fans, who couldn’t keep their feet on the ground.
It was tough enough for most to make peace with the fact that unlike last year, one couldn’t knock back a bucket of their favorite drink as they watched a show. All alcohol had to be consumed far, far away from the stage inside a not-so-vibrant bar area, but when sets that promised stellar collaborations end up as dull, tepid shows, there’s no escaping the buzz kill. Rock vets Pentagram did an all covers set that featured everyone from Tough on Tobacco frontman Sidd Coutto, Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy from Scribe, Monica Dogra aka Shaai’r, but we’ve seen way better shows by the band. The set dimmed in comparison to their smashing hip-hop all covers set, complete with frontman Vishal Dadlani rocking a cheat sheet, at Hard Rock Cafe, Pune, in 2010, which was the first year of the festival. The Raghu Dixit Project, who also played a set with guests that included Advaita sarangi artist Suhail Yusuf Khan, struggled with the sound set-up and were missing their usual spirit at their favorite stage, The Dewarists. This brings us back to why Swarathma stood out – they set out to revamp their show with guest artists and delivered brilliantly through the entire set.
Photos by Monisha Ajgaonkar
Go here for photos from Day 2