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antiSOCIAL, Mumbai and blueFROG, Bangalore in the FOXTROT tour had some unexpected outcomes.

It had been a very busy week with extensive traveling and hence there were no updates possible from our end. The bands Shonai and The Bodhisattwa Trio performed on 1st of June at antiSOCIAL pub in Khar, Mumbai. The entire performance was witnessed by a meagre 25 people in the audience including celebrity guitarist Mr. Ehsaan Noorani. The lack of promotion and a weak PR strategy made the concert invisible to public eyes.

The bands were appreciated by every member of the audience. However, the management must have been  unhappy with the band’s performance and shut their kitchen a little early. This made the things worse for all of us and we left for hotel without having food. When asked about the small turn out, the management told us that getting audience for the bands is not their job. Not to mention their weird concept of putting up placards and displays of next days gig on the day of Foxtrot gig. Next day we left Mumbai with a very bitter taste in our mouth. The worst part was, in Bangalore we missed Syncopation as they could not attend the concert for the band leader’s father was severely ill. The show was still a hit as on a very slow day all around Bangalore and we had around 100+ guests. However, the support we had got from this venue is fantastic. Their programming manager Nitish Chachra is a gem of a person. He not only made sure that the musicians are well treated but also taken care of whatever requirements we had. He is one support pillar we have other than Arjun Sagar Gupta (The Piano Man Jazz Club), Ramkrishnan K (man behind Unscene and Two Stroke Tour) and Anirban Chakraborty (Ex-Orange Street and Rock Street Journal). With Nitish on our side in Bangalore we were always relaxed and confident doing our thing.

The Last outstation gig was performed at antiSOCIAL again with a little more addition to the number of attendees; around 30 people. Syncopation missed this gig as well because of the same reason. This time the programming manager of antiSOCIAL was nowhere to be found. He could only be contacted on his phone and only for trivial matters. We had been provided with coupons for food and beverage which can only be redeemed for some cheapest quality beer and two specific main-course dishes which by the way taste like shit. We completely understand that you have rules and you need to follow them in order to run the venue successfully. However, please do not treat musicians like some herd of cattle just for the sake of following rules. Your music performance venue thrives on the power of music created by musicians, and not by you or your kitchen staff, managers or for that matter your owner. Hence, if your business model is based on converting customers on the power of musicians and their creation then treat them like your USPs. Try to understand the fact that they are also human beings and have strong feelings, possibly stronger than that of you.

Having said that it is also important to mention that the apathy of audience towards going to watch a live gig is increasing. Its simply because people dont want to pay for anything. Consuming everything for free is the new motive of life. On the other hand most musicians want their gigs to be a full house, however, they seldom feel like attending a fellow musician’s concert. This attitude is accompanied by a typical dialogue of how independent music scene is not getting enough support. Celebrity guests Ehsaan Noorani and Taajdar Juneid had expressed their bewilderment of such a low turn-out on both antiSOCIAL gigs on 1st and 4th June. Many musicians, journalists and promoters we met at the Mumbai venue had mentioned that it is not a problem with one standalone venue in Mumbai. This misdemeanour is pandemic in the city and most of the independent artists are falling pray to the mean-mindedness of the corporate promoters, popular venue owners and last but not the least, the audience. We had certain guests on 4th June who directly came to us for bargaining for the entry fee. They asked for a discount of Rs. 50 on each entry priced at Rs. 300. We along with many others strongly feel that this needs to stop.

Nevertheless this was an awesome tour and couldn’t have been possible without the help of some amazing people who believed in us. We sincerely thank Dr. Prabhas Chandra Chakraborty, Mrs. Sangita Chakraborty, Mr. Arjun Sagar Gupta, Mr. Nikhil Mawkin, Mr. Nitish Chachra, Ms. Reena Joy, Mr. Sumit Vaswani, Mr. Ramkrishnan K. Mr. Bodhisattwa Ghosh, Mr. Anurag Tagat, Mr. Anirban Chakraborty, Mr. Ronnie Gupta, Mr. Vijay Nahata, Ms. Ishita Patel and last but not the least, all the beautiful musicians who took part in this tour. It was a superb experience for us.

However, the grand finale of the tour is still not over and due on this Thursday, i.e. 8th of June at Phoenix Bar & Club of Astor Hotel. RSVP for the event, here.

Here are some glimpses from the 1st, 3rd and 4th June shows.

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