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Live Music Returns to Mumbai’s antiSOCIAL This Week

Chennai alt-rockers The F16s, instrumental horn outfit Bombay Brass and more are amongst the first to get back on the venue’s stage

David Britto Nov 16, 2020

Mumbai's antiSOCIAL in Lower Parel. Photo: Courtesy of antiSOCIAL

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If you’ve missed club gigs in Mumbai, you’re in for a treat this week. Earlier this month, the city’s prime live venue, antiSOCIAL, announced that they are returning after being shut for eight months due to the pandemic.

The performance space has programmed a stellar bunch of gigs including a doubleheader from Chennai alt-rockers The F16s on November 18th. The following day features a set by instrumental horn outfit Bombay Brass while house DJ Blurry Slur takes the stage on the 20th. The weekend gig includes sets from artists Spacejams, Kayan and Jai. The following week will see post-rock band Aswekeepsearching, hip-hoppers Seedhe Maut, electronica artist Zokhuma and metal outfit Zygnema hit the stage.

antiSOCIAL will operate at a one-third capacity and will also be running temperature checks on attendees and will only permit those who wear masks and don’t have any signs or symptoms such as coughing or breathlessness. The venue has also equipped itself with disinfecting the air inside and have included designated spots for patrons to occupy at safe distances.  

Bombay Brass’ ringleader, saxophonist Rhys Sebastian – who performed with the band to a packed antiSOCIAL at the start of 2020 – tells us that it feels bittersweet to going back to playing live for people after all these months. He says, “Whether you’re up on stage or in the audience, there’s going to be a lot of emotion that we’re all going to have to process because this is all unprecedented! Having said that, we’re excited, nervous, intrigued but raring to go.”

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While the sax player emphasizes the importance of being thoughtful and caring towards a responsible reopening, he doesn’t think that gigs will exist as they once did until a vaccine is developed. “That might not be a bad thing if we think about it, this will change the way musicians can better engage with their audiences in the near future,” says Sebastian.

The preparation for Bombay Brass on their part remains the same as for any of their previous gigs, but they are looking at a shorter sound check to reduce standby time at the venue. The musician adds, “antiSOCIAL have put a lot of thought into ensuring that the audience can observe the necessary protocols but save a bit of room for peace of mind.” Although the band will be without keyboardist Rahul Wadhwani and percussionist Vibhas Titu Rahul from their January show this week, they’ve roped in pianist Merlin D’Souza and trumpet player James Miranda to fill the sound. Sebastian says, “We’re setting out to do what we’ve always aimed to do; which is have a great time on stage, engage the audience to join us and if we’re successful, maybe even forget our troubles for a little while.”

Click here to buy tickets for the gigs. 

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