It was a relatively cool summer evening in Karachi, promising much in the way of entertainment as the underground band Spoonful was supposed to perform at a live gig, scheduled to kick off at 7:30 pm. An hour later than the scheduled time, improvisational comedian Ali Gul Pir made his way to the stage and started interacting with the crowd — the number of people could be counted on fingers and that became the first joke of his short stand up act.
“There are so many people that I can identify each one of you,” he started. After a few more jokes (especially jibes at some of the popular billboard ads), Pir’s counterpart in the troupe The Agency, Raza Arif, joined him for some improvisational games. Arif’s spot-on and savvy humour had the audience so caught up that they didn’t realise how much time has passed until the organisers decided that the crowd had increased enough to begin the actual gig.
Ethnic blues: ‘Peshawar Ka Larki’
Muhammad Sibtain from RamLal kicked off the musical part of the evening with some interesting tracks like “Chicken Karhai” and “Peshawar Ka Larki”. Known for their tongue-and-cheek lyrics, Sibtain did justice to RamLal’s popularity and the elements of folk and traditional Pashto beats in “Peshawar Ka Larki” made it the highlight of his show, despite some major issues with the amplifier.
Spoonful: Fresh and original
Once known for their brilliant covers of acts like Carlos Santana and soulful blue renditions of some Bollywood tracks, Spoonful has finally matured enough to venture into original songs. The band comprises of Hamad Khan on vocals and lead guitars, Abdul Aziz Kazi on drums and percussions, Jasir Abro on the bass, Ali Haider Habib of rhythm guitars and occasionally features the multi talented Nadir Siddiqi on vocals and harmonica. Their originals like “Zindagi Ka Jhaag”, “Bad Song” and “Sue lee” sounded better than some of their most commendable cover songs which they performed over the course of six years in Karachi. For the audience, it was a breath of fresh air as they did not have to listen to the band’s overdone cover of Carlos Santanas’s “Black Magic Woman” and instead relished some original, raw and funky stuff.
On the other hand, Siddiqi proved that he’s a true showman as his antics on stage accompanied by his vocal range infused a new spirit into the show.
After performing a set of original blues numbers, Spoonful invited Pir again on stage to feature in a song called “Wadairay Ka Baita”. The song is a rap song about the son of a feudal lord and his extravagant lifestyle. The track’s catchy beat had the audience grooving while the humorous lyrics had them laughing uproariously. Witty references to politicians and phrases like “Saaen tau saeen, saeen ka kutta bhi saeen” made it the song of the night.
Others should follow
In a nutshell, the show was a welcome respite for the lovers of live music in Karachi, however had the gig taken place a little after the exam season had finished, it would have definitely received a better response. But one must commend Spoonful for taking up the challenge of doing a live gig at a time when this form of entertainment is becoming a rarity. Other underground bands need to follow suit and make this summer vacation a delightful one for music lovers.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2012.
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