By Sonya Rehman
On the 25th of November, Savvy PR & Events put up a brilliant, unplugged, Mekaal Hasan Band gig at a cozy little coffee house (Hot Fuzon) in Lahore.
With a tight guest list – which comprised mainly of a sprinkle of models (Maliha Naipaul, Mikaal, Sabina Pasha and Noore), musicians (Ali Azmat, Ali Sher, Zeb and Haniya), actors (Nadia Jamil and Bilal Sami), and young adults in their twenties and thirties, the packed little venue – lit up by the warm glow of candles – was ideal for an intimate, unplugged session.
Playing primarily their singles – ‘Huns Dhun’, ‘Sajan’, ‘Raba’, ‘Kinare’ (from the film, ‘Khuda Kay Liye’), and a few others – the Mekaal Hasan Band proved their dexterity and skill; their rawness and crisp delivery of playing it live…smooth…and minus any sound glitches whatsoever.
With cushy black chairs arranged around a small ‘stage’ – Mekaal on guitars, Sameer on bass, Fahd on drums, Javed Akhtar on multi-percussions, Farhan Albert on keyboards, Javed Bashir on vocals and Pappu on flute, each song rolled out in a faultless blend of upbeat percussion, teases and hints of western jazz and eastern instrumentation.
It was also interesting to note the synchronization between all the band members – for instance, Javed Bashir would continuously look at Mekaal every now and then while singing, and when he’d hit higher, intentionally trembling octaves, the vocalist would break out into a smile and nod his head as Mekaal would shift his guitar’s tune and melody to best complement Javed’s vocals.
The ‘comradeship’ between each band member was apparent too – for example, when Pappu launched out into a terribly fluid and poignant string of tunes from his bass flute, Javed Bashir smiled, clapped and shook Pappu’s hand once the flutist was done.
And endearingly enough, Mekaal’s father, Masood Hasan – a huge jazz music aficionado, was also seen sitting on a couch in the front row, present in support of the band.
As the gig progressed, it was only then that I realized the importance of small, unplugged gigs – to not only local musicians – but to art and culture in each major city of the country as well.
For some reason or the other, the charm of a small, live gig far out-weighs a local, big-budget, open-air concert.
Maybe this is because with tinier, unplugged music sessions, audiences prefer the air of coziness, the up close and personal ‘feel’ that puts them at ease – rather than being jostled about in a ‘free for all’ concert?
Not only this, but when one watches a band performing – only an arm’s length away – live and in the flesh, one can appreciate the music better.
Such as; watching a guitarist’s fingers as they slide and tease the neck of the guitar, the way a drummer slices into his drum set with his drum sticks, the butterfly-like movements of a flutist’s fingertips…every musicians movement with his/her instrument – aids in the aural-visual delight of a viewer and listener. And that is what truly creates the misty magic of an unplugged gig.
Event management companies, like Savvy PR & Events, should put up quality gigs whenever they can, because everyone enjoys an hour’s worth of kick-ass, live, uncut and untainted music every now and then.
And the Mekaal Hasan Band’s unplugged do happened to make a Lahori winter evening all the more richer, and meaningful.
Instep Today, The News