After the processed and monotonous sound of Coke Studio, the raw and fresh sound of Summer Jam 2013, that took place at Café Pink Cadillac, came as a pleasant surprise. Be it the barely audible sound of the keyboard or the flat sound of Gumby on drums, Summer Jam 2013 was a technical mess at places, but musical brilliance overall.
Other session players featured were Mubashir Admani on the keyboard and Bradley D’Souza on the bass. The event was organised by music enthusiast and film-maker Sohail Javed. “This eventually is going to be on TV and radio as a branded event,” Javed told The Express Tribune. “The reason why this jam will stand out from other shows is because the performances will be live and not synthetic. Also, the jam will have a live audience that will enjoy music for two hours and leave.”
Fuzon’s front man, Shallum Xavier is by far one of the finest guitar players in Pakistan. As a result of his years of experience in the music industry, Xavier was the only musician who didn’t go off-note during the entire jam. The event was kicked off by a solo instrumental performance by him. The instrumental, Guardian Angel, gave an upbeat ignition to the show.
Abbas Ali Khan
Xavier’s instrumental performance was followed by a fusion song composed in Raag Megh, which was performed to perfection by Abbas Ali Khan. One thing that gets everyone humming along, no matter how rock-heavy or bhangra-oriented the evening is, is a well composed semi-classical melody. This is what happened when Khan started to sing his very famous chart-topper Sun Re. Though small in number, the entire crowd sang along to the song that came out less than a decade ago and became Khan’s claim to fame.
Next, he performed Per Main Hoon Ruka Sa. Though the live version was a little off-tempo as compared to studio recording, it got the crowd going. Some members even shouted for more. The high point of Khan’s performance came when he sang a rendition of the famous sufi kalam Man Kun Tu Maula. Despite his vocal brilliance and diversity of musical styles, the overall arrangement of Khan’s performance could have been better.
Many English language bands that emerged in the Pakistani music industry could not survive for a long time, but the duo Sajid Ghafoor and Zeeshan Pervez, managed to evolve as musicians and sustain a cult following. When he came to perform sans Pervez, people wondered how he would fare without the keys and synthesisers genius. But, despite an unimpressed audience, he gave his best shot and did get the crowd to tap its feet to sharp vocals.
As soon as he started to play the riff of the duo’s first track King of Self, the crowd went silent for a moment, trying to register the song which landed the band fame amongst young listeners — a common reaction to all the memorable melodies with forgettable names. If the band’s first album, A Light Year at Snail Speed, was a gem, then their second album, The Harvest, is an entire gold mine, not just in terms of songwriting, but also in terms of post-production quality. Proving his critics wrong about his supposed reliance on auto-tune in recordings, Ghafoor delivered a crisp, though not well-received, performance of We Break up to Make Up.
With Faraz Anwar in the line-up, one thing was for sure — the crowd was in for some head-banging, but sadly his performance was not enough for his fans. He kicked off with Insaan, a song that has inspired a generation of musicians. Most of his fans that showed up at the event came to listen to his solos. However, Anwar seems to be losing his vocal prowess, which could easily be noticed throughout the somber performance on Ujalon Main.
He ended the night with his latest song called Tension, an interesting mix of bhangra and metal. No matter how cheesy the song might sound on TV, it is perfect for a live show and is an ideal upbeat number to seal any evening for rock music fans.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2013.
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"Anwar seems to be losing his vocal prowess", oh you mean there was a time when he could actually sing?
Exactly who has decided that this is 'best of Pakistani music industry'. I mean give me a break. No one listens to these guys beyond Defence, Gulberg and Clifton. Who are these 'musicians'. They can't carry a basic tune.