The City Has Got A New Indie Music Venue
When the next edition of the indie rock concert series Control ALT Delete is held on Sunday, September 30, it won’t just see the coming together of a number of genre scenesters—everyone from the folks from ennui.BOMB and Bajaao to NH7 is involved—but also the launch of the city’s newest music venue, Sitara Studios. Located in a bylane of Elphinstone Road, the entrance to the split-level space is reminiscent of the erstwhile B69 while the inside of the ground floor, where the gig will be held, resembles one of the stages at Mehboob Studios. The jam room, which is being built on the floor above, will eventually look like “the Blue Frog stage without the rest of Blue Frog”, said owner Nikhil Hemrajani.
Sitara Studios was a popular spot for Marathi plays in the 1970s and ’80s until the mid-1990s, when it was converted into a studio that was used primarily for the filming of Marathi TV shows and commercials. When Hemrajani’s in-laws were on the verge of shuttering the studio last year, he offered to take over the management and also provide the city a much-needed new music venue. “I plan to make most of the money from shoots,” said Hemrajani, a former journalist who covered the country’s indie music scene for publications such as the Hindustan Times. “[That way] I can afford to experiment. I don’t want to do commercial stuff.”
Control ALT Delete will be held in the 1,800 square feet “Floor A”, which boasts a 20 foot high ceiling, and can conservatively hold about 300 people. “Floor B”, which Hemrajani plans to launch as a jam room called The Stage, is a 900 square feet space that will be furbished with a drum kit, mics, monitors, mixers, and amplifiers. “Bands just need to bring in their instruments, plug in and play,” said Hemrajani, who is setting up The Stage with singer and former Something Relevant vocalist Aazin Printer. When the jam room is ready, hopefully by mid-October, it could double up as a spot for “mini-gigs” by singer-songwriter acts for about 50 to 75 people. Both floors—and this is something both the B69 audience and that venue’s neighbours will no doubt appreciate—are fully air-conditioned and soundproofed.
Six months down the line, Hemrajani hopes to host “something interesting every day” at Sitara Studios, from art and photo exhibitions to film screenings. Since the folks at Bajaao have come on board to sponsor the equipment at the jam room, Sitara Studios will also effectively serve as the “new” new B69. Look for B69’s parent company Bajaao to host “one or two gigs a month”, said Himashu Vaswani, who handles marketing and events at Bajaao and also runs an artist management company called SideStand that manages the bands Spilt and The Lightyears Explode.
Those two groups are part of the whopping ten-act line-up of Control ALT Delete, which will thus be the testing ground for a number of initiatives. The event is not only the launch gig for the sixth installment of ennui.BOMB’s annual compilation Stupiditties, whose 25 artists include Microphon3, Spud In The Box, Your Chin, Blek and The Riot Peddlers (all five of whom you can catch at the show) but also Indian indie rock’s first experiment with crowdfunding. Though the concert will take place regardless, the organisers (they include NH7) are hoping to pull in Rs1.5 lakh from fans, who can contribute anything from Rs200 to Rs35,000. In return, they get one of or a combination of entry to the event, an autographed CD pack, a T-shirt, posters, an invitation to the after-party, a song dedication, and a gig by one of the acts at their home. See here for details.Tags: Aazin Printer, B69, Bajaao, Blek, Control ALT Delete, ennu.BOMB, jam rooms, Microphon3, Music, nh7, Nikhil Hemrajani, SideStand, Sitar Studios, Spud In The Box, Stupiditties, The Riot Peddlers, The Stage, Your Chin
Control ALT Delete at Sitara Studios
Opposite Tilak Bhavan
Elphinstone Road (West)
Phone022 2422 1666
Relevant DatesSunday, September 30
Ticketing & Price InfoVisit Wishberry.in/Hit-Ctrl-ALT-Del-14109 to contribute