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Old 07-22-2007, 07:31 AM
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Concert Review: Mizraab, Mauj, ADP live in concert - Royal Rodale

Louder than ever before

By Madeeha syed

There are hardly any ticketed concerts taking place in the metropolitan to begin with and experience has taught that these things never start on time. Keeping that in mind, I arrived at the venue an hour late and was somewhat disappointed to find out that despite the measure taken, the event was far from starting.

Mizraab was engaged in a somewhat lengthy sound check, directed by Faraz Anwar himself, with band-members of the Aunty Disco Project (ADP) and Mauj sitting at one corner of the stage. A closer look revealed Hamza Jafri, the rhythm guitarist for Mauj and the lead vocalist for Co-VEN, taking a nap on stage near his mates as well. He later confessed that he hadn’t been feeling quite well.

Another full hour and drum kit later — another drum kit had to be arranged since the Mizraab drummer was unwilling to share his — the concert showed signs of starting as two underground bands took to the stage. What was interesting to note was that the venue was chock full of pubescent wannabe rockers: teenage boys with long hair, dark clothes and a rock star attitude. Needless to say that even though the featured underground bands showed promise, they were far from being considered a good live act and were desperately in need of practice; both musically and vocally.

ADP kicked off with their original track, Sultanat, and announced that its video and audio has been released and will be making rounds on the tube and radio — a move they announced as “selfish self-promotion”. True to their form, they performed with zest and seemed to have fun while doing so. Imran Lodhi (bass, lead and vocals) swung the guitar and swished his hair as did Yasir on darbuka. Imran Lodhi could also be found posing for photos during his performance as well. Omar Akhtar in turn sashayed in his own way and ended almost every song they performed, one of them also included another popular single, Shehr Ke Ansoo, with a little guitar solo. Perhaps his most notable move came in the form of swinging his hand over his guitar ala early ’70s Pete Townsend style, producing Jimi Hendrix-inspired guitar sounds.

What caught ones attention was the sheer number of people singing along to ADP’s chorus lines of some of their songs. Having performed quite a few number of times in Karachi, the band is well-known to audiences which include both media and non-media professionals, and have managed to amass a somewhat loyal fan following. Definitely leaving the crowd worked up, they made their way for Mauj. On the other hand, Mauj probably had no idea what lay in store for them.

The band is jinxed, or so it seems. The moment they came on stage it began to rain. Whereas during ADP’s performance it had drizzled lightly, with Mauj on stage, the rain became heavier. Having turned off the lights, attendees rushed to cover the equipment on stage and around 10 minutes later, in the midst of the wannabe rocker crowd yelling “Mizraab”, Mauj launched into an original track titled Mona. One has to mention here that in their full form, Mauj comes across as a formidable live act — with the best bassist (Sameer Ahmed), drummer (Sikandar Mufti), rhythm guitarist (Hamza Jafri) and fast-establishing himself as a gifted guitarist, Omran Shafique, a regular Mauj performance has just the right level of skill coupled with good composition to make it for concert goers, more than just worth their time.

Mauj launched into the Zoheb Hasan cover of Pyar Ka Jadoo. What’s truly magical about Zoheb’s songs is that even if you didn’t belong to the generation that grew up listening to them, as was with the case of most of the audience, they’re simple and catchy enough in their composition for anyone to sing along. This was the case here. Having customised it enough to sound like a Mauj song, the band members had the crowd crooning to the chorus with them. They slowed down to accommodate the audience, but one doesn’t think they got it since most of them quieted down instead. Mauj had the crowd participating again in an upbeat version of the chorus that immediately followed. Mauj had officially converted the audience.

They then launched into an instrumental that seemed to pick up as it progressed. An audience member called for Faraz Anwar, to which Omran replied “I’m bigger, better and faster”. Having seen him perform several times before, one doesn’t doubt that he just might be. Mauj closed their performance with an extended version of Khush Fehmi, which had also been getting a lot of requests from the crowd.

All hell seemed to break lose when Mizraab took the stage however. All of a sudden, it seemed as though the women in the audience had moved towards the back with the boys crowding the front and either side of the stage. Incidentally it was also Faraz Anwar’s birthday that day and a fan brought a cake along which he promptly cut and then began performing. Knowing what the audience expected of him, he launched into a guitar solo which had his fingers flying over the fret board while his most ardent fans stood in rapt attention.

It would be an understatement to say that for the rocker wannabes in the crowd, Faraz Anwar is nothing short of a god: they kept a respectful distance, head banged even when they had their hands on the stage and followed every movement he made, as if entranced. Mizraab was by far the loudest of the lot and their performance lasted roughly around 20 minutes. They closed with a number that has also lately been made into a music video, Ujala, concluding the evening on a much softer note.

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adp, concert, live, mauj, mizraab, review, rodale, royal

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