My first ever trip to the city of Kolkata was bound to be one tightly coupled with music, given that the city is known for its culture rich in cinema, art, and music. I have so many friends from the land of Bengalis but never got a chance to visit the place.
Earlier this year, I was browsing through the lineup of NH7 Weekender, Pune and discovered that Joe Satriani was coming down. Instantly, I booked my passes; cos who would miss that?
Just the next day, I learnt that Poets of the Fall and Switchfoot were gonna be headlining the NH7 Weekender at Shillong. Bamm! Now, I wanted to go for both the gigs. But I knew I could only make it to one of them (time and monetary constraints). Also, travelling to Shillong was going to be a tedious and expensive affair, so I convinced myself that it’s only going to be Pune this time around.
Skip to a week later, it was announced that both the bands were going to be headlining the NH7 Weekender Xpress at Kolkata. And I thought to myself, wow, now there’s a chance cos travelling to Kolkata was no big a deal. I was excited beyond words.
I convinced my dear friend CreativeGenious to tag along with me. And the sweet human that she is, she readily agreed. She also ensured she listened to both the bands before she came for the gig. In her words, she absolutely loved the music and she later thanked me for introducing them to her. Yayy win!
We took an early morning flight and landed in Kolkata around 9 am. We stayed at AltAir Hotel. It was a comfortable stay and was also pretty close to the concert venue. For lunch, we walked down to a quaint little Dhaba round the corner and savoured some yummy butter chicken. We got back to the Hotel and napped a bit. We later took a cab to the venue, Nicco Park, only to realise it was, in fact, walking distance from where we were staying.
An Alternative/Indie band named Tiny Fingers was on stage while we got there and their music was quite impressive. We walked through the crowds and made our way closer to the stage. Since this was the Express edition there was just one stage. The clock struck 8, the POETS banner came down and the crowd couldn’t handle their excitement. That was the start of two hours of non-stop music, as the Finnish Poets serenaded us with some of their best hits. Their trip to India was part of the #Ultraviolet Tour named after their latest album and they rendered some of their new EPs. Cradled in Love and Gravity were the most asked numbers. I got back to a lot of messages asking me if they played ‘Carnival of Rust’, and how could they not? It was their closing number. So Poets of the Fall – Check.
It was my birthday the next day, 4th of November. I was up until 12 am, cuzzz, so many calls y’all! Kidding. I answered a couple of calls from family and close friends and hit the bed. We decided to hop around the city the next day. So after our mandatory cup of chai, we took a cab and headed straight to Prinsep Ghat. Watching fleets of yellow Ambassador taxis sort of amused us. We later headed to Esplanade to do some window shopping and actual shopping if something interested us. We spotted some really lovely shantiniketan leather bags and picked up a bunch of them for ourselves and our friends. We then had our share of authentic bengali food (thali with rice and fish curry). The icing on the cake was the Chai in a Kulhad. It was undoubtedly one of the best chais I have ever had. By now you must know I am such a chai lover.
In the evening, we decided to walk to the concert venue. It was going to be Switchfoot tonight. I have been a fan of this band from times immemorial and what better gift to give yourself on your birthday.
Pentagram, one of the pioneers of Indian independent music (with Vishal Dadlani), was on stage belting some of their biggest hits. The crowd knew exactly what they were in for – A night dedicated to rock music and it couldn’t get any better. They knew their music and enjoyed it to the core. Lots of headbanging coupled with singing along, IN TUNE! Honestly, I haven’t seen this in Hyderabad.
Cut to Swichfoot – they hit the stage with one of my all-time favourite songs – STARS. I remember we used this song as a background track to one of our video productions back in 2009. Wow! 9 years later, I was watching them LIVE. And was it surreal or what? Their frontman Jon Foreman is such an artist. He absolutely has the nack of engaging with the crowd. He jumped into the crowd a couple of times and the young guns carried him through. Ah! The energy of the place was infectious. All of my favourite songs made it to the setlist that night. Of course it included ‘Dare you to Move’.
I traveled in the most comfortable clothes to Kolkata – a flow-y tunic, tights, and sneakers. For the first day, I teamed a plaid shirt in olive green with high waist denim and ankle boots! The shirt has some intricate embroidery going on on the back, but I couldn’t get a picture of it. Will put it up on Instagram.
The next day, I wore this ever so lovely dress from Kharakapas. I chose to wear the same boots to add a little edge to the otherwise elegant piece of clothing.
- Olive Plaid Shirt: Only
- Perfect Bloom Dress: Kharakapas
- Ankle Boots: Truffle Collection
- Black Top: Project Eve – Ajio
That was my trip to Kolkata.
Rad All Day.