“I found myself in a trance, one which I couldn’t break free from (and not that I wanted to anyway). When I looked around I noticed I wasn’t the only one swaying from side to side. I didn’t want the night to end. I didn’t want the feeling to stop. That for me was the brilliance of the Basheer boys!” (Urooj Mughal)
For the longest time in the music scene in Karachi, musicians here put a great deal of focus on covering elaborate songs by awesome musicians they consider their inspiration. Initially that’s how everyone starts out, but some stop there, with the opinion that being able to cover awesome musicians makes them awesome musicians too. But being able to truly grow as a musician and create your own legacy comes from creating your own music. And that is what some of these somewhat new; Indie bands from Karachi are doing, adding elements of their own originality in what inspires them and slowly changing the scene. This was evident at the Super Sonic Mindblaster at T2F on November 13th.
The show started with a special performance by Shajie, known for his addictively endearing song ‘’Battakhain” which had the crowd smiling the whole time and I couldn’t help but sing along. After him Sikandar ka Mandar performed and at this point everyone was in the zone, the powerful lyrics of songs such as ‘Jo Bhi’, ‘Badshah’ (which is now my all time favourite by these guys) and ‘Mein Idhar khara hoon’ has definitely made me look forward to an album by them, it’s refreshing to hear that for a change instead of the usual boy-loves-girl lyrics we are so accustomed to. It was impossible to not fall in love with the unique melodies as well, not to mention Nadir Shehzad Khan’s deep and powerful vocals that captivated the audience.
After that //orangenoise took the stage. The “psychedelic chappalgazers” and their insanely awesome neon orange guitar strings had the audience’s head bobbing the whole time. Being able to watch them live was really exciting and experiencing their energy and the brilliant sound and structure they refer to as ‘experimental’ but it seems a lot more meaningful. This was when the realization started to kick in, that Karachi’s underground scene is slowly changing into something truly amazing.
Next up was Jumbo Jutt and it had been a while since I heard something so full of energy it almost reminded me of a more hard rock version of how Junoon used to be on stage. Their stage presence was marvelous and there is nothing more fun for the audience than to see the bands having fun too. These guys have come a long way too and how they have grown and the maturity in their songs was quite apparent in addition to the underlying messages in their lyrics which makes them unique. The show came to end with a performance by Basheer and the Pied Pipers which gave the name of the event it’s true meaning. Some very enthusiastic fans in the crowd were blown away by this performance.
“A lotta people don’t consider the fact that they can go out to a gig for a good time, instead they opt for an eatery or a movie or something, it’s just something that is not a preset thought in the young Pakistani out-goers’ mind, but it's something that needs to be implemented, because the scene is picking up and it's gonna get big whether the audience is ready for it or not.” (Talha Asim Wynne from //orangenoise)
What is most admirable about these bands is that they work together to achieve greatness. It’s great to have some musicians here who have finally grown out of the battle-of-the-bands mentality and come together to do what they love. “I love performing, I love music and I don’t see why people have to not work together in the music scene here. There’s not much in the taking, so might as well work together to make something better and bigger. It’s a labor of love, we don’t get anything out of it” (Nadir Shehzad Khan from Sikandar Ka Mandar) The only thing missing, is the kind of support from people these musicians deserve. This city is going through some rough times, but if you look at history, music is known to make things better. Even though at this gig, there weren’t as many people as there could have been, it is these small steps that eventually make a huge difference; people just need to start supporting music in this city again.
By: Zahra Salahuddin
Zahra Salahuddin is one of the active three members on The Mixtape which is a music blog which provides tons of different music.
She can be found on Twitter: @AppleScruuuff