Posted by: Hashim Nauman
The National Library auditorium in Islamabad was the venue for the “World Music Day Concert” organized by CityFm89. What follows is a review of how things shaped up and should have shaped up but didn’t shape up due to certain psychotic fiasco’s on part of the people managing and the people playing. First things first, as one of the performers “Zujj” correctly pointed out before the show even started “.. The management has gotten the demography wrong”.. reason being the invitation cards. Apparently you could only utilize the pass if either:-
a) You were a couple.
b) You were two girls.
So there is an event which features relatively underground acts ( I hate the term but it is what was commonly used so I will do exactly that)… and you can only go in if you either have a “girl”.. (as required by the management.. I swear..) Now as derogatory to the female population as it sounds, it indeed was the case and it indeed is a case at relatively all the concerts which are well, concerts and to me, it makes no sense at all. If there is a concert, instead of relying on the gender derogatory management rule, what can be done is to properly scrutinize the entrants and if there was an incident in which some hormonally imbalanced people got out of their safe zone, security could simply throw them outside.
That was a starting opinion, now on to the exact concert itself. It featured very diverse acts ranging from Zujj to Natasha Ejaz (Brilliant songwriter/singer) who was playing for the first time with a complete band (She is critically acclaimed for her solo acoustic performances), the Islamabad Heavy metal act Saturn and another classically trained vocalist who went by the name of Shan Khan. There was also another band by the name of “Alag The band” who will get a separate exclusive part in this review (Owing to their extremely versatile rock star persona’s, and arrogant rude behavior).
What startled me the most during the initial sound check proceedings was the sheer epiphany that it is very evident that a sound check scheduled for a 5 pm kick off will always manage to start off a couple of hours later but here’s the best part worth a million laughs, the other bands “had no bass guitar”…Yes, the Rock stars HAD NO BASS GUITAR... Here’s the part where all of you can say ” Hein WHAAAAT?”… But let’s leave that part even though I am still “HEIN WHAT-ofying”… The gruesome procedure of the bands sound checking did manage to be done but since the invitation said 6pm, people had already started to come in so the bands were technically “checking their sound check in front of a live audience”…
The concert kicked off with “Alag the band” which technically means “Unique” in urdu, but the only thing unique about them in my humble opinion was how they weren’t unique at all. Just your run of the mill people who think that making original songs on the underlining Roxen/Jal/Every other urdu dipsy pop act is “Cool” and wearing “chains and lockets” makes them a Rock Star. Their Rock star element failed to blossom on stage and all they delivered was an average set which had worse crescendos than Atif Aslam on a bad day (yes that bad)…
Following the rather unique act was Natasha Ejaz, accompanied by her live band which had Parham Faraid (The guitar player of Iranian descent, an amazing friend and someone who has played with the likes of Zeejah and Silversmoke and is a full-time band member of Sketch) playing the bass, Ahmed Ali (The immensely talented ex-vocalist of the ex-brilliant now no more band Nafs, stage play star and the new face of the Ufone family) alternating between the bass and the acoustic guitar, Asfandyar Ahmed (Drummer par excellence who has played with almost everyone from the Islamabad circuit and has an immense amount of concerts to his name) and last but not the least the extremely talented musician from France, Mickael Bon who was playing the keyboard and the acoustic guitar on a few songs.
The set list included a few originals and a few covers. Natasha along with her extremely talented band played a set list that consisted of original songs which went by the name of “Kahan”, “show me the mirror” and “Ankho ko Ankho nay”.. along with a Coldplay cover medley of the songs “Fix you” and “viva la vida (which was performed with a slightly up-tempo rather unique and refreshing arrangement) and a song which went by the name of “Fight for your right”. Her set was the high-light of the show and was very well received by a majority of the crowd present, the minority being the usual “lamers” who have nothing better to do than to hurl abuses at people who take music very seriously and practice all day to put up a good show.
This is the part where Alag the band gets a special mention, apparently one of their mail groupies had the nerve to abuse not only Natasha but also her friends present in the crowd as a reaction of which there was a minor tussle between the lamers and the good people who were only trying to tell the lamers that using the word “Fuck” in a concert is NOT cool and does NOT impraas any gaalz… But Natasha and the band held their nerve and completed their song. Kudos people Kudos.
Following Natasha was Shan Khan who belted out a few covers which were very well sung and got the crowd on their feet. Talent was plenty in that person as Salman Zaidi of the band Saturn said after his first song ” Dude, Dude, DUDE.. (He might not have EXACTLY said these words but the dept of the connotation was pretty much that.)”.
Saturn followed Shan Khan and by this time, mentally as well as physically each and every person waiting for their turn was exhausted but Saturn put up a very decent show and played an original and a few covers (One of which was the Baby national anthem of Pakistan, Dil Dil Pakistan)… Which was I guess the “surprise cover” most of them were talking about. Saturn’s drummer Shahbaz did an amazing job on the drum kit so hats off to you man.
Zujj was to end the show and by the time he got on stage, as it was late and well the crowd wasn’t really the sort who would listen to System of a down or other linked musical acts, the hall was half empty. Due to the torment of not having a drummer to play with and no bass guitar (Due to Asfandyar’s other commitments and the bass required at an adjacent concert venue), Zujj with his band that consisted of Parham Faraid, Zain Ali (Deframed fame and awesome musician) and the bassist without a bass, Saahil decided to go unplugged and sang 2 of his original songs that were to be featured on an upcoming Bollywood film and ended the set with his ever famous “phoonk lay” which is quite quickly becoming a crowd favorite.
Being someone who has had the pleasure of being to amazing concerts and some not so amazing ones, this concert just didn’t cut the cake as it should have done, Natasha Ejaz as I mentioned earlier was the highlight of the show. The sound was “Okay” and the lighting was “annoying” but commendable efforts put in my Cityfm89.
Football was being played in the parking lot and there were CityFm89 finger gloves all over the place and that was something I HAD to mention because today was the first time I ever bought something at a concert… *thumbs up*
Apologies for not taking ample pictures and the two used were the only ones that came out good.