All roads lead to Pune

Dec 06, 2018, 09:11 IST | Karishma Kuenzang and Shunashir Sen

NH7Weekender is back, and this time the line-up is a mix of rock, jazz, indie, EDM and metal with artistes like Joe Satriani, FKJ and The Contortionist

All roads lead to Pune
Aditi Ramesh

It was one of the first big music festivals to take place in India. Over the years, this an­nual music affair has co­me to be the music eq­u­ivalent of the Goa plan among friends — we all want to go, but only a few make it.

The ninth edition of the NH7 Weekender in Pune promises to make you nostalgic, as it makes its way through a few hiccups, including Hia­t­us Kaiyote backing out. While the Meghalaya edition had Switchfoot, the Pune edition too has an exciting line-up.

Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani

On December 7 to 9, 3 pm
At Mahalakshmi Lawns, Pune.
Log on to insider.in
Cost Rs 2,500 onwards

A rollercoaster ride
It's a prudent step that the three members of I M U R (pronounced "I am you are") have taken in arriving some days early ahead of their India tour. For a 30-hour flight trip has landed the Canadian trio in the midst of an unnatural winter in an alien land. Leaving behind knee-deep snow in their hometown of Vancouver, they are soaking in the sun, sea and sand in Goa right now, acclimatising themselves to the weather and chaos in the country, trying out new food, and taking day-trips on Royal Enfields to get a better sense of the landscape.

I M U R
I M U R

All of which means that the band will be in a relaxed rather than rushed state of mind when they kick off the tour at NH7 Weekender on Friday, before ending it at Magnetic Fields in Rajasthan the weekend after. The outfit plays a brand of hip-hop-inflected R&B that has the sensuality of a beautiful stranger smiling at you from the other end of a bar, though closer interaction reveals him or her to be a laidback chiller, given the down-tempo electronic beats layered under Jenny Lea's come-hither vocals.

It's a wholly approachable sound, in other words, and the outfit — which also comprises Mikey J Blige and Amine Bouzaher — recently released an album called Thirty33. Lea tells us over the phone that they will be showcasing it on this tour, peppering the set list with their favourite tracks from earlier records. And Bouzaher adds, "We hope to take the audience on a rollercoaster that has ups and downs and chills and thrills," paraphrasing Bill Hicks, the late comedian. So, hop on, strap up and get ready for the ride.

The #MeToo effect
These are strange times for the organisers of "India's happiest music festival". Only Much Louder (OML) is in a right royal kerfuffle. A recent article in a monthly magazine levelled serious allegations of sexual impropriety against some of the top people at the firm.

Only Much Louder

This led to statements and counter-statements from both sets of stakeholders, against a backdrop of impotent silence from the indie music circuit. Until, that is, a couple of acts from the line-up decided to opt out of the festival. One of these is the independent hip-hop label Azadi Records. "We presented the article and OML's statement to our artistes and took a vote. The decision was that performing at the festival went against the ethos we had started with," co-founder Uday Kapur tells us.

But on the other end of the spectrum, another magazine published a piece where a few other artistes justified their decision to take part. This led to a second round of tu-tu-main-main. Meanwhile, some audience members are selling their pre-bought tickets at half the price, citing disillusionment, off the record. But others are gathering friends to attend it en masse because frankly, dear reader, they don't give a damn. So eventually, despite the uncomfortable situation it finds itself in, the show is going on as far as OML is concerned.

Catch these acts
Metal: American progressive metal band The Contortionist, which is making its India debut.
On December 7

FKJ
FKJ

Rock: American guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani who is back after 2005 to give fans a dose of his mad guitar skills. God Is an Astronaut, making their deb­ut here, is another act to watch.
On December 8 and 7

EDM: French artiste FKJ and his jazz tend­e­n­cies, wherein he also in­corporates hip-hop elements. British DJ Nightmares on Wax is another first timer, known for his hip-hop and soul vibe.
On Dece­mber 9

Jazz: House of Waters, as they incorporate elements of West-African folk, jazz, psychedelic, rock and classical. Bass guitar genius Mohini Dey for her powerful slaps in jazz.
On December 9 and 7

Indie: Aditi Ramesh to listen to actual fusion music as this powerhouse vocalist infuses Carnatic into jazz and blues.
On December 9

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