Music festivals are a bit like a picnic. So I try to attend as many as possible, especially the ones happening near where I live. They never fail to offer a happy break from the monotony of city life.
NH 7 Weekender is touted as the Happiest Music Festival in India. It’s a 3 day long affair, focussed on indie music from all over the world with a highlight on Indian talent. It’s been around in Mumbai’s neighbourhood or should we say, ‘Mumbai’s twin city sister: Pune’. Well, the festival was back in the neighbourhood last month with a grand line up of artistes: 54 of them to be precise. Though this is for all kinds of music lovers; for middle-aged rock and jazz lovers like myself, not all the music out here looked that attractive. So, when my husband (who was to drive us there) decided to skip the opening on day 01, I didn’t kick up a fuss. Granted that, I did regret missing a band from Mali called the Songhoy Blues. Electronica, House, Dubstep…. I didn’t mind missing that.
Sadly we went totally unprepared, with no idea of all the stage set ups. If you’re going there for the music and have the time then its best to research the bands playing. That way you know what you want to hear and most importantly be at the venue on time if not ahead, to explore the options. There are plenty of distractions like art installations, food stalls, bars, curated flea markets, ferrous wheels and of course the geography in general. With 12 bands playing over 8 hours a day on 4 (maybe 6) stage sets, it’s best not to leave your choices to chance.
These photos here are from Day o2.
After giving a young Synth band from Mumbai ‘The Sandunes’ a listen by default (we were late for another synth band called Big city Harmonics) we moved to the other stage to sit on the grass and soak in the atmosphere. The band up there was setting up and the ones in the know were slowly gathering near the stage. I decided to let the music get me back on my feet. Before I knew it, this band seemed to call me out with a song called Euphoria. I had no idea who they were or what kind of music they made. It felt great.
I jostled my way through the multitude until I could push no more. It took a while to manage the settings on the camera besides getting my balance in the delirious multitudes. The stage with its ever-changing lights and effects was like a magnet through the lens. I decided to focus on the musicians and not the happy people surrounding me. This band from Seattle made for one great highpoint for me. And I’m glad the Tamron 75-300 lived up to deliver these portraits for keeps.
Daniel Blue songwriter-guitarist, killing it with his vocals. This is when he went into a trance singing ‘Euphoria’.
‘Oooo, I wanna feel good’ That’s Daniel Blue making us all feel the groove.
The band arrived in India via a gig in London. By November 30, Motopony had travelled over 3 weeks across India. They were back in Baltimore to perform there on December 4. Whew, that’s amazing energy.
What I like about shooting unofficially is that I capture what I hear. This is Nate Daley on a song called ‘Live, in 1971, I wanna be there….’ I hope it’s on their new album ‘Idle beauty’ they’re touring all over the planet for.
Nate Daley had this John Lennonesque look. In the ever-changing lighting, the only sensible way of getting a sure shot was by keeping the camera on manual mode, fooling around with ultra slow film speed.
The one still moment came at the end of the show when the band members got introduced. Is that some stuffing around the crotch customary to rockers of the 70’s!
This is Andrew Butler on Keys. I suspect he was also responsible for the wild graphics that appeared on the screens. I was a long shot away to have seen him with such clarity. Thank you Tamron 75-300.
Ever-changing lighting is immensely challenging to shoot. It involves all your senses to capture the perfect moment in a perfect exposure. Here Andrew Butler enjoys changing lighting in sync to his keys.
The drummer Forrest Mauvis doing his bit on a song called ‘God damn girl, your wounds are beautiful’. Gosh so romantic and sexy, this band.
Here’s Mike Notter doing his bit on a soulful track called ‘June’. I loved the harmonies and the reverby guitar.
I enjoy experimenting with exposures when the music sounds as special as the sounds this band makes. Here, Mike Notter harks back to the good old days of rock. Something my old self is familiar with. Like Radiohead…
“I love rock n roll. And I know they move the world in ways politicians cannot. Seen here Daniel Blue rousing up the crowd.”
‘Would you walk with me, would you take some time?’ A song that moves like waves. A band member making it happen for us in the crowd.
No ‘Idle beauty’ this. Motopony was by far the highpoint for me at the Nh7 Weekender, Pune. They deserve to be there in more playlists, in more collections, on top of the heap.
And the last note played by the band in unison… Andrew Butler on Keyboards for Motopony to a thumping ‘We want more’ audience.
If the article is remotely interesting do click on the links and give the music a listen. And let me know your thoughts. Thanks for your visit.