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The First Edition of The Barstool Project Serves Brilliant Surprises

Mumbai venue Lilt teemed with splendid performances by artists Taba Chake, Ink of Bard, Daira and Shah Rule last night

David Britto Sep 27, 2019

Mumbai rockers Daira.

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Rolling Stone India’s brand new gig series called The Barstool Project held its first edition last night at Mumbai venue Lilt. The aim of the event was to celebrate musicians, listeners and their mutual appreciation of art, in its purest form. The Barstool Project provided that and more.

Mumbai folk outfit Ink Of Bard.

The evening kicked off with a pleasant melancholic set by city-based indie-folk outfit Ink Of Bard. Vocalist Anokha S.Kumar opened things with the ukulele aided relaxed “I Love You.” As Lilt filled up Kumar was joined by her bandmates, guitarists Proteesh Ravi and Apurv Agrawal. The frontwoman also took a book on stage to read notes and explain to the audience what songs such as the gloomy “Life You Live,” the sorrowful “Dump On You,” the melodically haunting “Om Namah Shivay” and more are about. The three-piece outfit was the perfect mood-setter for the rest of the evening.

Arunachal-bred singer-songwriter Taba Chake.

Next, Arunachal-bred singer-songwriter Taba Chake took to the stage with plenty of fans in the audience chanting “Taba, Taba, Taba.” The shy but composed musician didn’t let that faze him as he broke straight into the fast-paced “In Waadiyon Mein” off this year’s Bombay Dreams. The singer-songwriter also juggled between guitar and ukulele as he performed tracks which included the blissful “Walk With Me,” the sing-along “Shaayad” and the bluesy “My Other Side.” Chake even got the crowd to join him on the stellar “Meri Dastaan” and even suggested that he won’t leave the stage if folks in the audience don’t sing louder to help him out on the cheerful “Aao Chalein.”

Daira performing at The Barstool Project.

Rockers Daira took over The Barstool Project after Chake with a spellbinding performance. The band ran through a tailored setlist for the event which included the stocky “Mahaul,” the dancey “Maaya,” the pop-rock sounding “Mohabbat Pari” and the hard-hitting “Muqadama.” Frontman Piyush Kapoor was at his effervescent best with strong vocal dynamics and some silky trumpet parts while drummer Pratik Kulgod drove the band home with solid grooves. At the end of their set, the audience begged for more but an encore wasn’t on the cards as the group bowed and left the stage after putting on an impeccable performance.

Hip-hop artist Shah Rule (center).

Closing the evening was a unique set by hip-hop artist Shah Rule. The rapper was joined on stage by Vedan Thakur on acoustic guitar, cajon player Tanmay Prashant and beatboxers Gaurav Gambhir and Roshan Gamare. During his set, Shah Rule spoke about how he grew up in different pockets around the world such as Russia, the U.K. and how for the past four years he’s made Mumbai his home. The rapper also spoke about how he used to pay to perform with a guitarist over in the U.K. and has not done a set like this ever since, as he breezed through songs such as acoustic versions of “Who?,” “Psycho,” “Default,” a surprise cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster” and his verses from “Gully Gang Cypher” which led to a b-boy dancer bust a few moves at the front of the stage which was appreciated with loud cheers.

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Shah Rule’s performance was the perfect way to cap off an evening that brought artists from varied genres together and listeners closer, creating a distinctive vibe where songs took on different identities and sonic elements. With a successful first edition of The Barstool Project done and dusted, here’s looking forward to the next one.

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