Written by Sahana Iyer
Inside the venue of the NH7 Weekender, the bright colours are the first things that catch one’s eye. As groups of people thronged the venue, the first event of the afternoon was kicked off by the NH7 Weekender debut performance of Mumbai-based progressive post-rock band, Across Seconds. As they began playing their new song ‘A Perfect World’, the crowd cheered them on with some headbanging.
While most performances had the crowd tapping their feet, standing in either small huddles or large seas, funk R&B band Ladies compartment slowed down the pace of the event with their groovy and emotional music. The audience spread out on the floor in front of the stage, their eyes fixated on the band.
As the evening progressed and a new wave of people began to enter the venue, there were masses of people crowding in front of the stage. When Australian band sleepmakeswaves performed, the space to move around without bumping into someone was minimal. At the end of the performance, they made a shout out to American band ‘The Contortionist’ for it was the third continent they were touring together.
As the day wore on and new groups of people entered the venue, there was barely any space to move around without bumping into someone. Soon, the sun set and the venue got even more crowded. The sound of fast-paced chords of electric guitars pierced the air at the Bacardi venue, as American progressive metal band The Contortionist took to the stage, which was lit up by strobe lights and covered with smoke.
At the end of their performance, the band said they really enjoyed performing in India and would like to come back. The statement was met with generous cheering by the audience.
Somewhat unexpectedly, one of the most appreciated performances was that of Hindustani classical musician Mahesh Kale. While unusual instruments like drums and electric guitars were a part of the performance, the core of the set was rooted in traditional Hindustani raagas. The highlight of the event was when the audience sang along to Kale’s notes and he transitioned the bit to Queen’s iconic ‘We will rock you’.
When Kale’s set was cut short, some people even yelled in protest. Another fun moment was when Benny and the Funktuation performed a set called ‘The dragon warrior’, based on the Kung Fu Panda.
The venue also has a flea market — selling everything from clothes, cosmetics and novelty items — and a stand where tarot cards are being read. It has been decked up with large paper windmills and gleaming metal trees. While there is a Ferris wheel and some food stalls, there are no art installations this year, and not enough water for the many visitors.
The event also offers a line-up of comics, including Ashish Shakya, Neeti Palta and Saurav Mehta, among others. While comedian Urooj Ashfaq’s dark jokes made the audience somewhat uneasy for a slight minute, Comicstaan Season 1 winner Nishant Suri left everyone in stitches. The night concluded with the electrifying performance of Irish band God is an Astronaut, and the soulful music of Salim-Sulaiman, who also included a qawwali of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.