April 04, 2022: Things went mellow at the third edition of weekly indie nights at The Hive, PopSplat’s Standing Room Only. Singer/songwriters Varun Athreya and Sasha Chhetri, who played under the moniker Ricksha Rani, went unplugged and shared a guitar to play their ethereal mix of covers and originals. Both solo artists took turns enthralling a Friday evening audience with their soppy, romantic and happy numbers. A unique Damien Rice meets Lana Del Ray combine, if we could draw a parallel.
While both the artists played their original compositions, Chhetri’s threw in some covers to the mix as well. Athreya’s songs were straight out passionate, pronounced and packed with primeval purity; no pretensions, no sudden bouts of extreme highs and lows in song structure. Each song moved along a straight path of singular emotion unless it became progressively so. What was fantastic about his set was he knew exactly what he was doing, and that shone on through his set. Without a doubt, Athreya can create a range of atmospheres with his music, all of which he was in perfect control of through his set like he did in Wine & Cheese . Case in point, Regrets was a scale apart in mood from the rest of his happy set; much darker, much starker.
Ricksha Rani’s set was as light hearted - while her strumming was as soft and pleasant as the clouds, she definitely has strong vocals that perfectly complements the music. Conviction shone throughout her set, and with the tonality of her voice melting the place down into one potpourri of aural pleasure, it was no surprise at all that people swayed, danced and seemed to be having an excellent time. Chhetri did a fantastic rendition of Lana Dey Ray’s Video Games and we were left humming here Who We Are, hours after the gig ended.
The best part about the gig, however, was seeing audience members singing lyrics to both, Athreya as well as Ricksha Rani’s original compositions. For mainstream music as bold competition, indie fans are a rare, but welcome sight.
Pictures : Sushant Sawant Photography/PopSplat.in
For more photos from the event, click here.