Pulsating music. Graffiti tees. Red light shining on guitar picks and drumsticks. The second edition of Gig Week had arrived and there was no music lover in Delhi who didn’t know about it. The organizers kicked off Delhi’s only contemporary music festival at the Stage, Manajsa with a highlight performance from Half Step Down, followed by different venues that ranged from Smoke House Grill, Verve, Lemp, Shroom, Blue Frog and Sura Vie. The bands ranged from newly-formed to well-established on the circuit, but the effort the organizers had put in to reduce the gap between talented artists and the platform was obvious to every audience member.
An event organized by the youth was defined by the raw passion, energy and talent that existed for its own enjoyment. Not driven by commercial need or demand, the vocalists sang their hearts out because they wanted to.
They drowned the room in sound and art even if their audience was a lone technician during sound check, or the hundreds of sweaty bodies jumping next to each other. The audience composed of their friends, fellow musicians and music lovers who had accidentally stumbled onto Delhi’s version of an indie platform, sang along to the classics covered. More importantly, most of the bands found a receptive audience for self-compositions, people who listened critically, applauded loudly in appreciation and winced at faulty notes.
Each evening had a single band as the highlight performance, which was a smart technique used by the organizers to increase footfall for bands just as good, if not as renowned. This edition also saw the inclusion of more variance in artist genres, and the organizers made sure to include larger venues to accommodate the event’s growing popularity.
Every band DUB spoke to, raved about the arrangements, quality and expressed appreciation for the opportunity to play at such a stage. Most audience members (the writer included) could be spotted walking out either engrossed in a ‘That band’ vs ‘This band’ discussion or just quietly bobbing their head in silence.
Everything they knew was being changed with one song at a time. They just didn’t know it yet.