A Band In Transition

Parvaaz - Transitions

The most successful lives are ones that deal with change. Trite but true. How they deal with that change is what makes it interesting. Last evening my wife and I (and many others) were part of an event that recorded, quite literally, the path that one of my favourite bands, Parvaaz has traversed over the last few years. In an age when people put up recordings of everything from their cat to their brat, the band has a remarkable lack of decent live videos. I’ve not been able to find anything of note even of their terrific album (‘Baran’) launch gig at CounterCulture. They felt it was time to change that. As they get ready for their third recorded work – after the EP ‘Behosh’ and the first full album ‘Baran’ – they fell in with the idea of a live video recording that Gokul Chakravarthy came up with. Weeks of planning and execution saw them play a gig that was aptly called ‘Transitions’ at Jagriti Theater last evening that was set up to be recorded for a DVD (??? are those things still around? I wouldn’t know, outmoded as I am). Jagriti is not your usual host of music gigs. It’s a theater space and a lovely, intimate one at that. So it took some doing to get it ready for this show. Unlike every other gig, we were expected to be in on time to cut down ‘interference’ with the recording. It’s a testament to the regard Parvaaz is held in that the venue was filled to capacity on time at the fairly early hour of 8 pm on an insanely heavy traffic working day in a city notorious for its very laidback attitude to timeliness.

I had commented on a post over at SBI: A Thinning Crowd that I’m not a fan of sit-down rock shows. The author of that blog, Rick had a different point of view. So Rick if you’re reading, this was one of those and I sat down right through 🙂 My opinion on that hasn’t changed though. It was a strange feeling to be parked on our butts to such moving music. The audience was a bit uncertain about how to go about reacting. Y’know the whole expected prim-and-propah theater behaviour. But after the first song the lead singer Khalid gently put us at ease. I still don’t think we could’ve got up on the chairs and jumped and grooved. But at least we could clap, call out, scream…loudly.

I’ve seen Parvaaz grow both in their composing and playing of music and in their assuredness on stage. They’ve got tighter as a unit and more comfortable on stage as compared to the seemingly nervous (almost hesitant) presence in the early days. And I’ve never before heard Khalid speak on stage as easily as he did last evening 🙂 The band ran through songs from ‘Behosh’, ‘Baran’ and 3 new songs which should be part of the new album, tracking through changes in their music. I’d written previously a bit about how the music on ‘Baran’ broke away from that on ‘Behosh’ and if these 3 new songs are anything to go by, the new album is headed for something a little different again. The changes are noticeable yet not dramatic and manage to carry the Parvaaz stamp. A band in transition in more ways than one AND dealing with it with a quiet, dignified confidence.

Parvaaz is not a band that is short of ambition but I’ve always felt and commented openly on their low appetite for risk. They need to break out of their Bangalore comfort zone. For a band as accomplished as these boys are and with the kind of music they make, by now they should’ve been spreading like wildfire over the country. They haven’t. They ought to. And I’m hoping that’s the next big change.