By Renée McLeod and Nidhi Yelburgi
This weekend was an extremely confusing one for Nidhi and I. NH7 was not what we expected. You don’t have to like all the artists that come to a concert, especially one like this, but not liking most of them? That should basically sum up how much we enjoyed it.
We heard that the NH7 that took place last year was really good: there were a lot of people, a lot of good artists and all anyone could talk about was how well it went. Having gone the year before last, I remember how it was then too: everything was so well planned out, not as clammy and claustrophobic as other concerts usually are. The music was so good that almost everyone was grooving to it, not like this time where most of the crowds were near the stalls, bars and cars outside.
NH7 is not your usual concert where there’s one large stage surrounded by a crowd of fans, instead it’s arranged in a fashion where there are 3-4 stages (sometimes more), being 3/4th of the average size with partitions made of bamboo sticks and cloth. One would think it would jar with all the different kinds of music playing, but pleasantly it didn’t. People would enjoy whichever stage they specifically went to and the ones that would stand on the outside would barely be able to make out the other bands playing.
A concert like NH7 doesn’t usually attract a lot of the same kind of people. This is because of how diverse the music gets. There are genres right from Rock to Metal, to Indie Pop, to EDM, a large portion of House Music, etc. Artists like A R Rahman, Flying Lotus, Mark Ronson, Thaikuddam Bridge and Ganesh Talkies generally perform for this concert. Hence there is a variety in the kind of music. However, a lot of people come largely for one or two bands they specifically enjoy, those are the kinds that are right in front of the stage and enjoy NH7 to the fullest.
Judging by the different kind of people that come, you wouldn’t expect there to be a lot of people you’d recognize. However that wasn’t the deal, we kept bumping into different people we knew and ended up spending the rest of the night together. Some left while some stayed. Some people we hadn’t seen in years, hence it was all the more exciting.
One performance for which the crowd rushed in was Mark Ronson’s. He played ‘Uptown Funk’ and other songs that everyone danced and sang along to. There were already people lining up for when he’d enter on stage, but when he actually started playing, it was evident how people from different stages rushed over to his. He played some Bollywood songs as well and had the crowd go absolutely wild. There was a woman who had performed a while earlier that was dancing in the crowd too; since we were right behind her she turned around and gradually started dancing with us. One of our friends, Vishnu Shankar later said, “that was probably the highlight of my night. It was so much fun just listening to her sing, and then having the opportunity to dance with her was just a bonus.”
There was a huge crowd while leaving the arena, nothing we weren’t used to. However, what came as a surprise was the traffic. We’ve been to number of concerts in the past few years and never have we seen such traffic on our way out. Waiting for an hour and a half in the parking lot is not the general idea of traffic coordination. Sure it usually takes a lot of time getting out if you’re in a car especially since its India and there are thousands trying to get out at the same time. But what we failed to understand is how it was so terribly coordinated that we spent most of the latter part of the night stuck in traffic. We had plans after the concert that were vital; obviously we were about an hour and a half late.
On the whole, the entire experience was not worth the money we’d paid, and not worth the drive. Maybe listening to Mark Ronson on the second day was the only enjoyable experience, and maybe meeting some of our old friends as well, but it definitely wasn’t worth wasting our entire weekend on.