Kolkata’s Someplace Else Rings in 25 Years in Action
The club venue inside The Park Hotel calls in rock ensemble Fender Players Inc. featuring guitarists such as Ehsaan Noorani, Amyt Datta, Rudy Wallang and more
Seated in the lobby of The Park Hotel on Park Street, Kolkata, there’s only a slight buzz at one of the four clubs that are housed inside the long-standing hospitality hub. After all, it’s only 8 pm and the patrons – young and old – are yet to jauntily walk in. Prior heavy rain has, no pun intended, played wet blanket on some of the activities, but there’s a steady increase of people walking in to dance and drink their Saturday night away.
While clubs like Roxy (which plays all kinds of electronic music) and Tantra (reserved for commercial and Bollywood music) are rightly seeing a stream of people, the venue designated for rock (and in more recent years, even electronic) – Someplace Else – is seeing a crowd despite the rain canceling proceedings. The all-star Fender Players Inc. – including guitarists Rudy Wallang (from blues band Soulmate), Ehsaan Noorani, Amyt Datta, Bodhisattwa Ghosh, plus bassist Mainak Nag Chaudhury and more – were expected to perform at the venue’s 25th year anniversary celebrations, but it wasn’t to be.
While the show has been rescheduled to take place on September 7th, Someplace Else has so far hosted the likes of New Delhi rock veterans Parikrama and Kolkata rock veteran Anjan Dutt to mark 25 years in action. It’s about a 100-capacity venue, but there’s more that Someplace Else continues to have in its favor to become arguably India’s longest running club venue. Pramode Bhandari, The Park Hotels’ area general manager, looks back at the times since he joined in 2011. “The only transformation that Someplace Else underwent that I can tell you about was when the really old bands moved on. We have younger newer bands coming in and trying out,” he says over dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Zen.
Where the venue was once the launchpad for Kolkata rock bands like Cassini’s Division, The Supersonics and even The Ganesh Talkies, Someplace Else was also bullish on pleasing its older clientele who come in for classic rock delivered through tribute nights and cover bands. Even as newer music venues are slowly opening in the city, Someplace Else sticks to its brand, adapting ever so slightly. Bhandari says about the current operations, “We start with a DJ at Someplace Else, which is retro music and you build it up to the live bands. They’re mostly playing rock or classic rock. Staying relevant, now we’ve added Amnesia following the band.” Amnesia is an electronic music property, which recently hosted DJ-producer Kohra, as a move to keep the younger audiences attached to the venue.
Even then, The Park as a whole does make good business with its legacy value, cover charge and rules that allow it to stay open even past 2 am. People move from one club to another, making the hotel lobby a bustling place to be. Bhandari says every club and every outlet of The Park is treated as a separate unit that has its profit and loss analysis, but assures that Someplace Else “has not let us down in terms of customers and numbers.” He adds, “At the end of the day, we’re in business so we have to make business sense.”
With the old-school blues jams imminent this weekend, it’s the start of more at Someplace Else. Bhandari says, “We just started the 25th year on August 19th, so we’ll be doing a lot more things throughout the year. We’re celebrating the year and not just the day.”
The Fender Players Inc. and Amnesia ft Praveen Achary perform at Someplace Else, Kolkata on September 7th. Event details here.