The Sherp picks the ten most spectacular musical moments, brought upon by ten exhilarating and brilliant acts at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender Kolkata.
The Sherp had lots to say about the Bacardi NH7 Weekender Kolkata. But, that’s about enough with the foreplay, let’s start with the music already. The two- day festival saw an eclectic mix of genres and there was enough for everybody and more. While it’s all a bit maddening to hop from one stage to another, we’ll try to list down chronologically the ten best moments that brought out the flavour of the Kolkata leg of NH7 Weekender 2015.
The Moto Spotlight laid out the stage for the events to come with this incredible act. This Bangalore based rock outfit played its heart out to a full crowd, hogging all the attention away from the overlapping performances. Very few could actually sing along but these guys definitely set the bar pretty high for the rest to follow.
Meanwhile Prateek Kuhad played to a relatively smaller audience but was just as good. It was a nice change of pace after performances by Baiju and Parvaaz. With a nice blend of acoustics and then a bit on the alternative side, his was a fresh new sound that got a lot of attention.
With 8000 odd people in Aquatic by then, things were really heating up and running from one stage to another was proving to be a bit tedious. Nevertheless, being spoilt for choice is the best dilemma to be in.
2. Reggae Rajahs
The Breezer beat camp played host to one of the best acts of the night in the form of Reggae Rajahs who guys owned it with their Caribbean flavour. As one of India’s oldest reggae sound systems, everything they did hit the spot. From waving giant Rasta flags to getting the crowd scream out in favour of marijuana legalisation, this was the moment of the night up until then.
This was the band everybody had come to check out. Playing out to a more mature audience Arka played at a different level altogether. With Selva Ganesh on percussions and Gino Banks on the drums, their reputation preceded their act. The defining moment had to be Mishko m’ba’s bass solos and George Brooks on the saxophone. This performance really hit the spot for jazz enthusiasts.
Nucleya with his unstoppable bass and energetic sets, most definitely poached crowds from adjacent stages into the Bacardi Beat camp.
One of the earliest proponents of Dubstep in India, his genre defying beats got the otherwise reticent Kolkata crowd to get their dance on. Tracks like Bass Rani and Bangla Bass and Jungle Raja ‘drove the crowd insane essentially ruining it for any other EDM artists to follow. Worth mentioning were the wacky gifs in his visuals – Darth Vader swaying to EDM? Now that’s fun.
Day one came to a befitting end with Kailasa weaving its magic at the festival. Playing their biggest hits such as Bam lahri, Love Sex Aur Dhoka, Dhol Wajda and Saiyaan, their performance moved the entire audience. A visibly inspired city-based musician standing next to me exclaimed how he felt about Kailasa being the best band in the country, a sentiment with which we can all whole-heartedly agree with, don’t you think?
6. Underground Authority
Day two started off with a crowd favourite. Underground Authority is a Kolkata based alternative rock / rap rock band that enjoys tremendous popularity and a dedicated fan following, and their set at Weekender did not disappoint. Proven hits such as ‘I Can Lead A Nation With A Microphone’ and ‘Where The Streets Have A Name’ got the crowds singing along, cheering and pretty much dancing to their tunes. The mood was set really early in the evening for the rest of the night to follow.
7. Papon and the East India Company
This was the one act that nobody missed. The Dewarists stage played host to one of the most anticipated performances of the evening and Papon played one hell of a show. There hadn’t been a lot of folk music up until then but an inspired performance made up for all of that. A diverse mix of Assamese, Bengali and Punjabi folk drew in a lot the attention and rightly so.
This heavy metal band from Mumbai really got the temperature soaring. From the growl to the drum rolls to the guitars, their performance united all the metalheads in the arena. The first sightings of a mosh-pit kept me a safe distance away but one the energy generated in the Bacardi arena was palpable. As metal aficionados stayed on for Undying Inc at the same stage, we made our way to The Dewarists for one of the most anticipated bands of NH7 2015 Kolkata, The Wailers.
9. The Wailers
Watching The Wailers perform was the defining moment of the two-day carnival. There’s something about reggae that’s inexplicably overwhelming. More than the nuances of music, it’s the sheer joy you squeeze out of it and that’s what a sea of dancing bodies witnessed. Timeless hits like Buffalo soldier, Get Up Stand Up and Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright got each one of us singing along. And dancing, don’t forget the dancing.
Right after No Woman No Cry got thousands of people to sing along, Papon took to the stage for an improv. with The Wailers, that turned the crowd hysterical.
With a message of peace, tolerance and emancipation, The Wailers left stage only to lead us to the Bacardi Arena for the last and final performance of the night.
As astonishing as it was pleasing, enthusiasts of every genre turned up for Megadeth’s closing set. Be it the metalheads, Jazz enthusiasts, EDM fanatics along with every band in the arena, no one dared miss this much-anticipated performance.
For whole generation that has grown up head-banging to the music of Megadeth, seeing them live and in-person was nothing short of a dream come true. Dave Mustaine was every bit of what we had imagined and so was Chris Adler. The hysteria in the centre stage lasted well over an hour as they played on from Peace Sells to unreleased tracks from their upcoming album Dystopia. Witnessing this was a box well checked in the bucket lists of thousands of music lovers in this corner of the country.
Other notable performances that caught one’s ears were-
One of the pioneers of Bangla rock, Cactus played to a huge crowd enthralling the audience with proven hits such as Mon and Holud Pkhi.
Spud In The Box
With a heavy alternative sound, this Mumbai-based band earned itself loads of fans. The keyboardist needs a special mention for his superior skills.
This one took up the mantle for all the electro/techno/edm enthusiasts on Sunday evening.
Words : Sarathi Bhattacharya
All Images unless mentioned otherwise : Aneesh Ghosh