Recently, returning home from a Parekh and Singh gig, I had this strange visualisation of Pune’s concerts over the past ten years. A collateral image of genres and tastes ricocheting off each other, truly, music and Punekars have developed in that sense, right?
When Pune got steadily exposed to live gigs and concerts, the entire scene was stereotypical, to say the least. We had decent venues hosting renowned artists, however, there was still a lot left to be desired. Then arrived the big daddy of concerts- NH7 Weekender, and suddenly, Pune became a stalwart music venue in the country.
Predominantly, it was House and EDM genres which governed our city. A lot of pubs in Pune received tremendous response due to these genres; the best example is High Spirits when they hosted Nucleya. Places like Euriska and Bluefrog were hosting topnotch artists and all the Punekars wanted to get a slice of that cake. And who can blame them!
However, there came a heavy shift in the music scene- enter Metal! Bands like Abraxas, Blackholetheory and Sephiroth came out of dusty corners and rocked the stage, literally! What was interesting to me was the amount of closet metal listeners, which supported the scene in voracious amounts, truly powerful!
Soon, Pune started to compete with the undisputed king of Metal- the one and only, Bangalore. Metal bands from Pune were inspirational in changing the music scene, and paved the way for a lot of other bands and genres to take roots. Metal and Rock, even to this day, invite some seriously kickass crowd.
Acoustic music, blues and jazz all started to take centre stage in the city. I remember seeing Blackstratblues and going crazy over the maturity of the music; I had not expected Pune, or even India to host such artists! Even progressive music took a much welcome turn towards our city- remember Steven Wilson’s performance last year? Mind blowing, sheer genius. Psychedelic and fusion bands- Moonburn and Raagalogik.
Bandcubator, the prestigious band competition hosted by High Spirits, witnessed some of the most amazing bands- including Celestial Teapot, Unohu and MILK.
However, there was more to come when it came to private and intimate gigs- something which the city desperately needed. Private studio sessions, house gigs like Sofar and BYOH (Bring Your Own Headphones) proved to be enormously successful, offering the audience/listeners their own intimate musical moment with the artist without the false sense of bravado.
Bringing us to today- Open mic, Indie music sessions and improv, jamming… Musicians and the audience have a broader scope of exploring ideas, creating music together and making art. Not only was this sorely needed, but this revolution in the performing/listening area was waiting to happen. Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi are on the same path as we are; we’re opening doors to new spectrums of music. The scenario looks promising and wonderful, and honestly, I can’t wait to see where it goes!