Stopped in the tracks

Music Mayhem

Stopped in the tracks

Canada-based Punjabi rapper-emcee ‘Humble The Poet’ and New-Delhi based DJ-producer ‘Su Real’ performed at Loft 38, Indiranagar recently for the Bangalore leg of their India tour.

   But what should have been a full two-hour set became an uncalled for incident when the artistes were asked to stop not even half-way through their set.

“We went for soundcheck that evening and the staff and sound engineers were nice, the tech rider was in place and everything looked good to go. We went to the hotel and returned to perform and the resident DJ was playing commercial EDM. I sensed a mismatch immediately because the organisers knew that it was going to be a hip-hop show and even promoted it as desi hip-hop all over social media. Before I went on, the manager told me that the owner was there with his ‘elite friends’ and asked me to play house music and EDM. But I told him that we’d play what we were booked to play. Something like this had happened to my friends Reggae Rajahs at the same venue a few months ago,” recalls Suhrid Manchanda aka ‘Su Real’.

He adds, “I played a mixed set for about 45 minutes before Kanwer Singh (‘Humble The Poet’) came up. After three songs, the manager came up and asked me to play house music again, which I refused. A few minutes later, the resident DJ started setting up and we were essentially kicked off the stage.”

He continues, “I’ve been playing in India for six years and it’s the first time I’ve experienced something like this. The crowd was enjoying and cheering for ‘Humble’ and me and even said no when I purposely asked them if they wanted us to stop. But the manager insisted that people were leaving and that nobody was buying drinks. We got paid for the gig and I know that venues face pressure but this was an issue of respect.”

Kanwer, however, kept a calmer approach to the incident, citing that he ‘has had much worse’.

   “As a performer, you have a myriad of experiences. I’m an adult and I don’t point fingers. What happened in Bangalore was more of a misunderstanding because the booking process is automated for the venue. I spoke to the manager and he didn’t sound disrespectful. They were just considering their priorities, whatever those were,” he says.

The Loft 38 Facebook page posted an apology the next day, stating ‘The spot decision was taken due to guest request, complaints and number of guests leaving the venue. We pay a large amount to bring the artistes down to Bangalore and why will we want to stop the event. We totally respect the artistes and are terrible sorry for the happenings.’ This was followed by the event page conveniently being deleted soon after.

A spokesperson from Loft 38 adds, “The crowd started calling our manager and asking whether the resident DJ Rahul would be back, who is from Bangalore and plays what the local crowd likes. A big group left saying that on the first night with 1 am deadline, they didn’t want hip-hop and rap throughout. Our events are programmed by a Mumbai-based company and henceforth, we’ll review each artiste before approving their calendar.”

Those who attended the gig had mixed opinions. While some were disappointed with the venue and management, others pointed out that since the venue attracts mainly EDM-loving audiences, programming such artistes is pointless anyway.

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