Too Fancy

Hearing live music is one of my favorite things, and in Chicago I go to a show at least once a week. I discover a lot of new music this way since it’s so easy to stroll over to the Empty Bottle or ride my bike to The Hideout. I knew I’d be missing out on a lot of great shows by coming to India, including the end of summer festival season, but I had hoped to get into the music scene in Mumbai to make up for it. Unfortunately it’s proven a little harder to engage with than I expected.

One of the reasons is just geographical, the few venues in the city are pretty far from my apartment and would take about 45 minutes to get there. The other is that shows here have a very different feel that’s kind of off-putting. All the shows I’ve been to have super high production values with things like live-mixed video backdrops. Up by the stage you can expect a few people with 5D Mark IIs and Zoom 4HNs recording the show for posterity. Basically, it’s just a bit too fancy for me, not at all like the casual bars or DIY shows I’m used to. I’m still on the look out for something more my style.

Below is an example of what I’m talking about. The first photo is Blue Frog, a very nice venue that gets a diverse range of acts. It’s the best venue in Mumbai, and I’m sure I’ll go back, but the interior design with pod-like seating and color changing spotlights is over the top. The second photo is from a show at a movie studio in my neighborhood. I had high hopes for it, but cheesy visuals (and frankly, the music itself) drove me out after one set.