By Kamran Hashim / Rafiq Vayani
Salts Arts has succeeded in reviving the concert culture here in Karachi by collaborating with legendary pop-rock band “Strings”. Although Salt Arts had previously collaborated with lesser known acts and had successfully pulled-off concerts of much smaller scale, but arranging something as big as this one, deserves to be praised, as almost everything was spot-on starting from venue itself ‘lawns of Beach Luxury Hotel’ which was a brilliant choice with its sea-front coupled with light December breeze created a very romantic ambiance, followed by ample parking with proper guidance, excellent security arrangements (no mishaps were seen or reported), food court with delicious and fresh cooked food, sound arrangements, time management (as we were home by mid-night), crowd handling, crowd itself was very well behaved and all that topped-up with excellent and flawless performance by legendary pop-rock band of Pakistan “Strings”.
Due to some reasons mentioned above, this concert will be remembered for a long long time and more reasons would be that Strings is performing after quite some time as they were extremely busy with their Coke Studio project, second reason was 30th anniversary of Strings itself, which elevates their status to legendary level and they are the only band to have survived that long.
Two hours of live music by Strings reminded of the time when Junoon use to rule the roost with their two hours and at times three hours of live music. But for someone like me even a two hour’s performance by Strings wasn’t enough and I felt like carving for more. Current line-up of Strings which features Adeel Ali on lead guitarist (who also happens to be the oldest member after Bilal & Faisal), Bradley D’Souza on Bass Guitars, Haider Ali on keyboards and Ahad Nayani on drums gelled well and gave a notion that they had rehearsed well.
Faisal Kapadia as usual was very energetic, enthusiastic with his solid vocal tone all through the concert was a treat for ears, mind and soul. Faisal Kapadia and profusely thanked the crowd that had come to see Strings performing. Bilal Maqsood with his soothing and soft vocals was on the mellow side and he looked a lot more matured as compared to Faisal Kapadia or other members but his melodious side of too much to handle with light December breeze and Sea on your left side.
First song of the night was ‘koi aanay wala hay’, which was a decent start and felt more a like a warm-up session, followed by ‘na janay kyun’ which had a Spider-Man effect to it, ‘kahani mohabbat ki’ was next, then ‘chaiay chaiay’ and ‘jab sae tum ko mai nay dekha’, is one of their oldest song which I use to hate but now due to its nostalgic I started liking it.
Without any doubt best song of the night was ‘sar kiay ye pahar’ and this song is only reason why I love Strings so much, it has a nostalgic feel to it and bring back memories of my school time. Strings sang ‘sar kiay ye pahar’ to perfection, not a single error, its seems as they have been rehearsing this song a lot. Next song by Bilal Maqsood was ‘mera bichar yaar’, mellowed things down and then ‘durr’ energized the once again and Faisal Kapadia showed the awesome power of his vocals.
Next in-line was guest singer Momina Mustehsan who came in to present ‘muntazir’ from Coke Studio. Momina Mustehsan failed to impress with her live performance and proved to just another pretty face with not much singing talent, whereas Faisal Kapadia was best among the three vocalist and Bilal Maqsood’s vocals was soothing enough but didn’t fit well with sound of this song.
After a fiery performance by Strings and Momina Mustehsan, ‘mai to dekhoon ga’ soften the mood once again only to be boosted once again by excellent and thrilling drum performance by each and every member of Strings. This drum was very unique had many different instruments.
As far as I remember ‘so ja’ from their first album was first ever song by Strings that I heard or had seen on Music Channel Charts and ‘so ja’ kept the crowd going, ‘soniay’ which had female back-up vocals and to fill this gap Faisal Kapadia requested female members in the crowd who would be willing share the stage with Strings and four young and energetic ladies showed up and sang ‘soniay’ with Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood. ‘Dhaani’ went in with the flow of the concert and last song of the night was the world cup song of 2003 ‘hay koi ham jaisa’. Pakistan was one of the hot favourite to lift the cricket world cup of 2003, but what happened there shouldn’t be remembered. Last was as an energetic and the performances was as power-packed as first one.
Overall it was an excellent effort by Salt Arts and Strings for putting up such an excellent show for very entertainment starved population of Karachi.