January 15, 2022: Periodic indie gig NH7 The scene saw its ninth session in play at the Blue Frog, with Kala, The Prateek Kuhad Collective, Grasshopper and Coshish in tow. The gig, has in the past had a large range of bands ranging from instrumental progressive metal band Pangea to alt rockers Ganesh Talkies, from electro rock act Vega Massive to English folk rock proponents, Dry The River, and no matter who plays, the audience is always good. This particular set was no different, and with a indulgently Hindi line up, the audience seemed to be a bit different from the crowd that comes for regular scene gigs.
Opening act Kala is the music production unit of Ujjwal Agarwal. While he did spin some mean music, a whole lot of his set didn’t seem to have the sync that perhaps Agarwal himself would have liked much more. The samples that he used progressed and digressed rather choppily. He did manage to get some really brilliant music flowing from time to time, and set some eerily fantastic atmosphere towards the end of his set, but clearly the audience was here for band performances, and something a lot less-electronic, so maybe, he was like the little toe that hits furniture- seemingly out of place.
The Prateek Kuhad Collective was the first band in attendance, and boy were they a happy threesome of musicians. This is perhaps the happiest Hindi music that most of the members of the audience have ever heard in their life; such was the spring-in-the-step quality of their music. When the band was playing, one theme that seemed rampant was of making the most of being a musician; while a lot of musicians tend to go into the super-technicalities of the profession in order to sound good and form an audience, this particular band stuck to making music that sounding intrinsically sweet, and hit those right notes through out. This is not to say tat there were no technicalities involved; drummer Nikhil Vasudevan had no toms on his kit, barring the floor tom, and employed jazzy-bluesy drum accents. A fun set on a whole, irrespective of whether they played English or Hindi songs.
Progressive rockers Grasshopper were the next act on stage, and from the get go, the band got into the regular business of sending the audience into ‘trip’ mode. Heavy on samples, the music did really get into a groove of creating a spatial atmosphere. However, this did not work perfectly in their benefit when the intros to each of their songs were as long as they were- averaging at around at least a minute to a minute and a half, it took to long for audience members to connect after that. Also, vocalist Bhaven Dhanak seemed to have been facing a tough time singing to the key at which the music played. Their track The Gatekeeper’s Speech was one of the most brilliant songs for the night though, samples and all.
Finally, the headliners for the night, Coshish got into the groove of their own set, but true to vocalist Mangesh Gandhi’s words, people had to wait right until the break of the next day to witness their set. Late into the night, the band played their fare of progressive rock, complete with audiences swooning and singing songs in their entirety with the band, and that brilliantly has been what most of Coshish’s gigs look like these days. Although the band seemed to have been taking it easy on the energy front, a fantastic set they did deliver. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the audience exited by the time the band came on stage, owing to the gig being in the middle of the week, and also owing to starting late, to continuing in the middle of the night.
Pictures - Dhananjay Mane