LAHORE: Young musicians played rock covers at a small venue in the Upper Mall area, while their performance was streamed live online to thousands of viewers.
Saturday night’s concert at the recently opened Gloria Jeans cafe at the Lahore Grande wedding hall was the first of its kind in Pakistan and one that the organisers and performers hope will herald a new era for the underground music scene.
“This could be huge for Pakistani music and may open new doors for the industry. We are hoping for a big breakthrough,” said Haroon Shahid, the lead singer of Symt.
“It’s an interesting concept because it encourages the music scene in Pakistan,” said singer Jimmy Khan.
“The potential of this is we could have possibly 250,000 hits online,” said Turab Randhava of Purple Arts and Communications, the PR partner for the event. “The viral effect is key,” he added.
Pakistani musicians say that live concerts are becoming increasingly rare because of the threat of terrorism. Randhava said that streaming the concerts live online could circumvent the problem. “We can have events in smaller locations but connect with a large number of people all over the world,” he said.
“It’s the first musical gig going live online in Pakistan,” said Adnan Butt, the CEO of Mvergence Media Technologies, the event organisers.
Besides streaming the show via Ustream on Saturday night, Butt said the concert video – shot on a high definition camera and audio would be polished in a professional studio and released on Valentine’s Day. “People around the world will be able to see Pakistan’s musical talent,” he said.
The event, dubbed Music Latte, started around 9:30 pm with Jimmy Khan, a student at Beaconhouse National University, played an acoustic set with covers of The Beatles and Bruno Mars’ Grenade.
He was followed by Alternation, a band that performed loud alternative rock songs by acts like Nickleback. Symt closed the show with several covers of Maroon 5. They also performed with Jimmy as guest vocalist.
Saad Khan, an avid Symt fan, said the event gave him a rare chance to watch a live show with his favourite musicians. “It’s a rare form of entertainment … most things have stopped in Lahore,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2011.
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