Faridkot Concert @ IIML — A review

faridkotThe third day of Varchasva, the sports/cultural fest of IIML, had a totally musical bent to it, what with events like Antakshari, Blitzkrieg the rock competition (which was decisively and comprehensively won by our college band 3.4, thanks to an amazing performance!) and the insti party at the close of the day. But to me the high point of the day’s proceedings was the concert by Delhi-based music band called Faridkot. Though delayed quite a bit due to bad weather et al, the show finally turned out to be worth all the wait, with the band delivering an assortment of splendid tracks.
Faridkot had the crowd on its feet right from the word go, kicking off with the 1972 chartbuster Jaanejaa. Though nothing can quite match Panchamda’s classic arrangement and the rendition by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle, the band managed to produce a very engaging version of the song, adding elements of rock to it. Having got the audience’s attention, they proceeded onto one of their own comps, Haal-e-dil. A rock-flavoured track, the tune was definitely not their best, and stood out mainly owing to Inderpreet’s soaring vocals and Rajarshi’s leads. They then followed it up with a very endearing folk-rock song titled Mahi Ve, marked once again by Inderpreet’s superior rendition and Rajarshi’s dazzling solo. This was one song where I found Inderpreet to be really at home, his earthy voice finding a perfect match with the lyrics and the folksy tune. In a bid to display the diversity in their repertoire, the band subsequently dished out a well-executed bluesy track called Titliyaan, which they dedicated to all the girls in the crowd.

One of the best things I liked about the concert were the well-spaced breaks that Faridkot took from their own compositions, with a eclectic mix of movie songs, mostly retro classics. After Titliyaan they took another of those intermissions, producing a delightful medley out of the chartbuster twist song Aaja Aaja and Saamne Yeh Kaun Aaya. After that it was back to their songs, starting with Jashn, a sufi rock-ish song with dark overtones. Sufi songs almost always make for a good listen and even in this case the effect was the same, if not better – the philosophical lyrics, the doleful tune et al. And after another likable track called Meherbaan, the band decided to pay a tribute to the sufi God Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, rendering his Tere Bin Nahi Lagda to good effect. Again Inderpreet was able to do total justice to the rendition, the resemblance in the voice and the vocal style being the major contributing factors.

The band then introduced what they called their favourite song, Patjhad. And once the song started it wasn’t difficult to guess why so, everything from the haunting motif to the drum rolls to the synth conspiring to create an instant winner. What followed was one of the two tracks of Faridkot I have heard in the past, Madho. The folk-classical-rock mix of this song and the arrangement in general often remind me of songs from Life In a Metro, especially In Dino. May it be noted here that I am not talking of a plagiaristic sort of resemblance, and therefore am taking no credits off the band for this wonderful song. Next in line was another yesteryear tribute, this time again a Pancham track, Dil Lena Khel Hai.

One of the best songs of Lucky Ali ever made is his 1997 track called Anjaani Raahon Mein portraying a nomadic guy going around trying to find a new meaning to life. A similar sort of mood was evoked in the next track of Faridkot which was aptly named Banjare. The mellow instrumentation and the soft crooning by Inderpreet did not constitute what you would call ideal rock concert material but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have such feel-good songs. If I were asked to choose my least liked song from the concert, that would be the song that came next, Khel Khel Mein, which in spite of its sufi and rock elements started sounding hackneyed after a bit. And the band signed off with the song audience had been asking for since the time the band came on to the stage, one of their most popular songs, Laila. The catchy “Laila.. Laila..” refrain had the entire crowd singing along.

Faridkot may well call themselves a “confused pop band”, but at least in terms of producing good music they don’t seem to be facing a confusion! Its a pity they ended runners up on Channel V Launch Pad, or we would have got to see all these songs in the stores already. And it was also saddening to see them sing all those wonderful tracks to a rather sparse crowd, the rains doing a fat lot of help in delaying the proceedings, thereby turning off a lot of people who would otherwise have attended. In any case, here is wishing that Faridkot make it big on the musical scene soon enough.  Below we provide a couple of videos from another of their concerts.

PS: Since I mentioned just two of the members by name, an intro of the band members: Faridkot is comprised of Inderpreet Singh on vocals, Akshay Raheja on synth, Gavin Pacheco on bass, Rajarshi Sanyal on lead and Reuben Narain on the drums. You can read more about the band here.

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