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So Long, Omicron: Gigs Are Back on Calendars

Bands remain largely overlooked by venues, who are choosing the logistically and financially friendly alternative of DJs and electronic music producers

Photo: Melinda Nagy/stock.adobe.com

Living between waves of the Covid-19 pandemic never has been fun. People — gig attendees, organizers/promoters, venues and artists themselves — have been walking on eggshells when it comes to taking up gigs or booking tours for the last two years. 

This time around, with the Omicron variant slowly receding throughout India, we’ve seen signs of life across industries. The live music space is no exception. They were battered and shut out even when movie cinemas were allowed to operate at partial capacity in the aftermath of previous waves. This time around, however, things have opened up very quickly. 

Music management company KRUNK’s founder Sohail Arora is happy that Mumbai is back to its original 1:30 AM deadline for gigs after two years. Arora — who also DJs and releases music under the monikers Rafiki and EZ Riser — says, “Electronic music is dominating the club circuits – there are a lot of DJs, producers and clubs make a lot of revenue on electronic nights” 

The larger issue, as he points out, is about a more holistic return to form. “I think there’s a huge lack of live venues at a club level. From the point of view of an ecosystem, it’s not very great,” Arora says. 

Additionally, gigs still aren’t seeing the same footfall as they used to pre-pandemic, despite what social media footage might suggest. Arora adds, “The numbers are still not the same, it’s still 50-60 percent of the crowd [compared to earlier].” If another variant isn’t one to wreak havoc on the world, estimates point to at least another three months for things to get back in the groove. “You’ll see a lot of international bookings starting next month. That’s going to come back and make it more interesting,” he adds. 

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Elsewhere, the Natonal Centre for Performing Arts is making a return to international music programming. On February 19th, London/Mumbai artist Komal Kuwadekar will perform for the Hollywood Jazz Night at the Experimental Theatre. NCPA head of international music Farrahnaz Irani says, “Since the lockdown started in 2020, live events have suffered huge losses. We are currently operating with 50 percent occupancy and are working hard to bring the audience back to our theatres.” 

With safety protocols in place, NCPA plan to introduce more events in the coming months and hopefully open at 100 percent occupancy soon. Kuwadekar for her part will be performing on-ground for the first time since 2020. “I’m very excited to be back on stage and I’m glad that my first one will be at the beautiful NCPA. It has been a fantastic experience jamming with the band after such a long time. I’ve done some online gigs and really missed performing live with the full band and an audience,” she adds. 

February 2022 Gigs to Catch:

MUSIK-A Festival ft Since 90’s, DJ Ankita Arya, Nentong Konyak and more

Nagaland Bamboo Resource Center, Dimapur

Export Quality Records Presents RANJ x Clifr and Micah

February 19th at Veranda, Mumbai

Milkman x Doja Presents – Loopkin, Nate08 & Shivani

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February 19th at AntiSOCIAL, Mumbai

Lock & Load Ft. Parimal Shais + Raka Ashok

February 19th at Bira Taproom, Bengaluru

Hollywood Jazz Night ft Komal Kuwadekar and KK Collective

February 19th at NCPA, Mumbai

Paranox, The Spinning Machine 

February 19th at Molecule, Bhopal

The Poona Brunch ft Stalvart John, Juke, Indra 

February 20th at One Restaurant and Bar, Pune

Avora Records 

February 20th at Wired, Itanagar 

February 23rd at Room 03, Dimapur 

February 25th at The Evening Club, Shillong

Pulse Conversation (Gino Banks, Vinayak Pol, Shravan Shamsi and Ranjit Barot)

February 24th at AntiSOCIAL, Mumbai


February 25th at One8 Commune, The Mills, Pune

Neckwreck presents Bass Vs Barricades ft Karan Kanchan B2B Goax, Bharg, Chaitxnya, Veer, MUKT

February 25th at antiSOCIAL, Mumbai

Jatayu, Many Roots Ensemble 

February 25th at Black Orchid, Chennai

February 27th at Fandom, Bengaluru

Profanayty, Ana Lilia 

February 25th at antiSOCIAL, Pune

Livebox ft Kayan, Bass Cult, Kallol, Short Human

February 26th at Greenwood Resort, Guwahati

LOJAL: An Experience. w/ Ranj x Clifr x tintin

February 26th at Fandom, Bengaluru

Aditi Ramesh and Mary Ann 

February 27th at Bira Taproom, Bengaluru


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