“Seattle, are you ready?” is a question Mr. Palash Sen, the lead singer of the band Euphoria, asked all evening long. Ready for what, Mr. Sen? And if we are not ready yet, then what state were we in when you asked the same question three songs back? Aah, well. Such was the nature of the concert, entertaining and in part, mystifying. The venue was King Cat theater in Seattle, and I was positioned in an aisle seat all by myself in the balcony section. With a two year old, you either have the option of hiring a baby-sitter, a practice we are not yet bought into, or taking turns to either the same movie or picking entertainment events suited more to one person. The third option, which would involve taking the kid to the concert, is a no-go. The music can almost make you deaf, and if Aarush wants to avoid listening to us, I am not going to give him a handy excuse. He is more likely to end up attending classical concerts first, perhaps someone with an extended name like Madurai Thirumalai Nambi Seshagopalan. The only way he is getting out is he pronounces the name right, to our satisfaction.
However, I digress. Euphoria’s strength has been their ability to do Hindi Rock well, if there is such a genre. Their songs are tinged with folk tunes and their lyrics are easy on the ear. No wonder, the crowd was able to sing along their hit songs. Which brings me to the mystical part of the evening. Where exactly were the Euphoria songs? Yes, they did their usual hits from Dhoom Pichak to Mehfuz, which I really liked, but a large part of their show was peppered with Hindi film numbers and other oddities ranging from ‘Dhagala laagli kala’ to ‘Another brick in the wall’. I would have imagined that they would not need to resort to these options if their repertoire was strong enough. Then maybe, it isn’t.
I guess the restorative point of the concert was the main man himself. I did not have much expectations from Palash Sen as a performer (you have to know that I HAVE seen Filhaal), but he was very good on stage. His energy levels through the concert, his interactions with the crowd, his on stage rock star moves (quite manufactured) and his unfailing ability to ask us if we are ready carried the concert. I don’t think anyone is under any misconceptions about his ability as a singer. He isn’t Sonu Nigam, but he doesn’t need to be. His insistence that everyone needs to be on the dance floor was irritating though. I had expensive tickets specifically because the cheaper tickets had dance on the title. Its alright. I maybe of the arthritic crowd, as Mr. Sen mentioned, but that didn't stop me from stomping my feet and clapping when it appealed to me. I found Mr. Sen's ability to jump up and down and still continue singing without a hiccup fairly impressive. The jumping was a criticial tool he used to engage the crowd. It would also have helped to overcome the limitations of the sound system, where the mixing and the volume left a lot to be desired.
Lastly though, mention must be made about the volunteers from AID who put this together. Or for that matter, volunteers of CRY or Ekal or other NGOs whose chapters I have interacted with. Planning this kind of event takes a lot of time and effort, and for the most part, the people who are doing this are salaried folks who have a family to attend to. You have to be fairly passionate about your charity to invest the kind of time that goes into it. If by chance, an AID volunteer reads this, pat yourself on the back for today’s work.