Anoushka Shankar to EDM ragers to Sid Sriram to folk singers: Hyderabad’s best gigs of the 2010s

Sid Sriram performing in Hyderabad

Sid Sriram performing in Hyderabad   | Photo Credit: Shitabh Pillai


Just 25 minutes of a gig can create a ripple effect. Here are a few mentions:

From the bang-off start to 2010 to the end of 2019, there would be an estimated number of over 2,000 gigs from the indie music scene in Hyderabad alone. Indie music festivals ceased being a rarity and became an expectation of a growing culture that saw musicians tapping into weird and wonderful reservoirs of creativity and sound.

One of the city’s prominent music scene observers is Mayur Jalan. Despite being in his late 20s, he has held close to his heart the way Hyderabad has absorbed its live music. He has headed up movements such as Infinite Cartwheels and is the co-founder of Rawster.

He offers up a comprehensive timeline. “Hyderabad saw an influx of big shows in the form of Jethro Tull and Anoushka Shankar in 2008, followed by Remember Shakti, Frank Gambale. We even brought down A-Listers like Poets of the Fall in 2012, Wolfmother in 2014 and all of these shows had an exceptional turnout,” he recalls. “Post that, Hyderabad became India's biggest hub for EDM concerts seeing top names from DJ Mag’s Top 50 list till about 2014 drawing in crowds of 5,000 to 7,000 people in turn drawing in a lot of big brands and agencies. For Hyderabad, a turnout like that is massive.”

Guthrie Govan performing in Hyderabad

Guthrie Govan performing in Hyderabad   | Photo Credit: Shitabh Pillai

Think a couple of years down the line to around 2016 and the city established event or scene-centric venues such as Fubar and The Moonshine Project while HeartCup Coffee showed an interest in working with the indie music scene here and there. Mayur adds, “We brought down a lot of outstation and international acts, put together shows at our own costs given that venues were sceptical of hosting live gigs On seeing sold-out shows in small clubs like these, venues started moving towards the live music and/or indie space with an open mind. Simultaneously, places like The Farm [now closed] have hosted IPs like ‘Bass Sanskriti’ that really got people into electronic music in the early 2013 to ‘14.”

Going native

Then came the booming IP ‘Regional Night’ which now is a success on any day of the week. This started at The Moonshine Project as Varnam, and the whole idea was to tap into Hyderabad’s native crowd. “People who enjoy Telugu film music and home-grown bands who now make music for Telugu cinema are also earning close to eight-figures. Music has turned to become a full time venture for clubs, musicians and organisers alike,” observes Mayur.

Hyderabad now being home to a club that ranks Asia #1 and world #41, Hyderabad obviously is at the brim of entertainment. However with still a small population that takes interest in usually going out and watching artists, places have to work in communion.

Monica Dogra performing in Hyderabad

Monica Dogra performing in Hyderabad   | Photo Credit: Shitabh Pillai

Let us not forget that this year, there were considerable footfalls at the sets of Sid Sriram, Monica Dogra, Kygo, Prateek Kuhad, Russell Peters as well as Vir Das, Bryan Adams last year while the same people have drawn bigger crowd earlier in Hyderabad.

In short, Hyderabad has seen an increasingly exponential growth in entertainment in terms of scale, finances, production, frequency of artistes’ performances performing here. “With high-end productions and investments in places like Prism, Tot, a few more of the same scale coming up and scene-centric places like Tabula Rasa, The Moonshine Project and Heart Cup Coffee, the scene is here to stay and grow for the next three years. Beyond that, only time will tell,” concludes Mayur.

Off the grid

Tangy Sessions kicked off as a small movement for the in-the-know music-lovers and has cleverly retained its charm in the three years it has been in existence. For founders Arjuna Prasad and Deepa Radhakrishnan, the landmark music session for them has to be when they reconnected with the Earth in their New Year’s Eve Natureal Gathering, a two-day music-rich camping session at Polam Farm in Sangareddy district.

A musical jam from Tangy Sessions’ Natureal NYE camping do

A musical jam from Tangy Sessions’ Natureal NYE camping do   | Photo Credit: Tangy Sessions

“We just had about 100 people at the farm for three days. There was no alcohol and that really gets people to fully absorb what is around them. We’ve seen the gigs where alcohol is fuel; but for this kind of a setting, it was an unquestioned move,” Arjuna recalls. “We had Himachal musicians, people who play sitar, tabla, Carnatic violin, sarod and more. Plus we had Telugu musicians. To our surprise, we had young families at the session too, and it was great to see the kids really engaging with their surroundings.” Thanks to this, people have often requested Tangy Sessions to host more, so they have another one coming up this New Year’s Eve, but they’re dialling it back further to only 50 tickets. “With a smaller number of people, it’s easier for everyone to get to know everyone else. We want to go more ‘backward’ and use bullock carts to get around the farm.”

The introduction of the 11 pm curfew for many city venues did put a damper on some gigs. Kygo for example, halted his gig rather abruptly because of this. Here is to hoping 2020 officially brings some post-midnight music madness. But then out-of-station ventures such as Natureal offer that round-the-clock music immersion.

The next decade has more to offer not just in the profile of musicians but also in the variety, making sure every inclination is seen to. 2019 has proven that smaller collectives can come up in a big way both listening to the people and offering them sounds they never knew they craved.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:41:32 PM |

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