Two thousand Akcent fans watched the group perform live in Lahore last Saturday. The concert was organised by Verve, an event management company run by Imtisal Zafar and Arsalan A Khan. “We did this concert without any support from the government. It turned out to be a very successful event and people enjoyed having an internationally acclaimed band in the city,” they said.
Representatives from Lahore’s underground music bands could be seen at the concert as well. “Watching a video of this band on YouTube is one thing but to feel the energy of this band live is an amazing experience. Almost everybody who is in a band wishes to perform like this one day,” said Ahmad, who drums for an underground band.
Akcent performed hits like “Stay With Me”, “My Passion”, “Lovers Cry”, “Spanish Dollar”, “Happy People”, “That’s My Name” and “Kylie”. “It’s been a fabulous night with as much energy as one can possibly imagine,” said Jamal, an audience member.
Tickets cost Rs2,000 for a girl, Rs3,000 for a boy and Rs4,000 for a couple.
The Romanian band Akcent grew to unprecedented success with their single, “That’s My Name” which quickly became a hot choice at clubs. In Pakistan one could hear the song blaring at fashion shows, events, parties and from car stereos.
The band’s first performance was in Karachi but this weekend Lahore got a taste of the band live and everyone who could manage to attend this concert did, even at the cost of a baton charge at the gates. The Express Tribune caught up with the band to talk about their experience of performing live in Pakistan.
Akcent is a phenomenal success worldwide. Why did you choose to come to Pakistan even though you could perform anywhere else?
An artist must go wherever his or her fans are. With Pakistan we have a special relationship since our leaders also have close alliances. Pakistan is like a second home to us. It is a country where people really know how to enjoy themselves and have great food.
You will not believe this but on our Facebook fan page, the most active fans are Pakistanis. We just posted that we were having coffee in Lahore on our Facebook page and our fans (based all over the world) went crazy.
How different is the Pakistani audience compared to the other countries where you have performed?
We have performed all over the world from Egypt to Scandinavia to Canada but here the audience is more expressive and passionate. We got hugs and kisses from everyone. Even the boys!
Is there any Pakistani musician that you admire?
It seems like a very interesting culture but we haven’t had the opportunity to learn much about the country and the music.
It is said that music has no language. Can musicians who sing in their regional languages be as successful as those who sing in English?
It is very difficult to gain the kind of popularity we have had with “That’s My Name” if you sing in your national language and not in English.
What surprised you most about the audience here?
A very nice surprise to us was that our fans here knew the entire lyrics to our latest song. That song has just been released in Romania and we didn’t think it would become so popular even there so fast. But here everyone just went crazy! We even got pillows thrown at us, which was funny but cool because now we have lots of pillows to sleep on.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2010.