Lahore's music scene: The joy of live music

Alter Ego, SYMT and QB perform in Lahore.

Sher Khan November 10, 2011


Smoke and lights cover the stage of Ali Auditorium, Lahore, as a live concert kicks off with alternative guitar solos mixed with loud screams. As the smoke subsides, the view gets clearer and Alter Ego begin their sizzling performance with a cover of the Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” on Friday night.

Shortly after the guitar and base solos, Farhad Humayun — the drummer and founding member of Overload — walks on the stage. Dressed in a fitted black T-shirt and skinny jeans, Humayun remains one of the stalwarts of Lahore’s rock scene. After pulling out a set of drumsticks, he points to the encircling cameraman and gestures to him to move to the side and starts to pound on the drum kit, which is met with thunderous applause.

The concert, which was organised by jBnJaws, included Jimmy Khan, Alter Ego featuring Humayun, SYMT and Quratulain Balouch (QB) to name a few. Behind the scenes is a story of camaraderie and closeness amongst musicians who are now coming to define Lahore’s music scene.

“I still love to perform with the younger bands because they are true to their roots,” says Humayun. Recently, the drummer has taken active steps for the promotion of live music — the music series “Live at the Apartment” being one of them. “I believe that if you play music, people will listen. History has shown that music never dies,” adds Humayun.

Performing live for any musician seems to be the ultimate experience. Alter Ego’s Asim Khan explains that there is a sense of euphoria for artists. “The first couple of times, I would feel nervous but knowing you cannot mess up, as they’re hundreds and thousands of people watching you, keeps me going,” says Khan. “The energy that the crowd displays makes for a better live performance.”

In the basement, SYMT’s Hassan Omer waits patiently to go on stage. Delays are expected at any concert and sometimes add to the feeling of suspense.

Omer explains that with difficulties plaguing the music industry, many bands and musicians have to create their own opportunities these days. “The internet is helping musicians get those opportunities,” says Omer whose band’s recent exposure through the Lux Style Awards has given them more gigs and concerts.

When SYMT did go on stage, they performed their hit song “Zamana” which was hugely appreciated by the fans. Additionally, the concert was marked by Jimmy Khan’s acoustic performance, which included a cover of “Rabba” by Kailash Kher. This was followed by performances of his two singles “Pehla Pyar” and a preview of his upcoming song “Aisay Kaisay”.

Another young, talented performer, QB, added to the excitement of the crowd as she performed covers that were met with loud applause. Her vocal prowess and contemporary live performances are able to combine both the aesthetics of rocks blues and classical sound. “Live music makes me feel alive,” says Balouch. “Lahore has a unique live crowd that is usually excited and really cares about music.”

The singer, who recently won the ‘Pakistan’s Youngest Achievement Award UK and Europe 2011’ in Britain, concluded the show with unique covers of classic songs including “Akhiyan Nu Rehn De” and “Tere Ishq Mein Jo Bhi”. Her performance proved why she has slowly become one of the most sought after singers in recent years.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.


omar | 10 years ago | Reply

alter ego seems to have made a niche in covering mundane pop songs. wayyy to gooo.

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