Return of revelry:  Bengaluru musicians relieved to be performing live just like old times  

Virtual gigs are not all fun as they are mentally taxing for musicians who are unable to gauge the reaction of the viewers.

Published: 15th November 2021 01:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2021 01:26 AM   |  A+A-

Guitar, music

Image used for representational purpose only

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While the pandemic has been tough on everyone, city musicians who perform at restaurants, bars and pubs, often wondered if life would ever go back to pre-Covid times. They seem to have figured that answer with virtual gigs now turning into live performances. And looks like these live acts are in demand after the night curfew has been lifted. From Sunday brunches to weekday events, musicians are being called back by almost all brands to help increase footfall. 

Instead of fretting, jazz and blues’ musician Varshita Ramesh spent the pandemic studying at the Goa Jazz Academy of Music. She performed at various places as and when the opportunity arose. “There are so many new restaurants that have opened in the last few months and all of them want live musicians. There is a rise in the number of customers when there are live performances rather than when they play recorded music,” says Ramesh, who is also performing at several star hotels. 

Virtual gigs are not all fun as they are mentally taxing for musicians who are unable to gauge the reaction of the viewers. “You’re constantly worrying about technical issues, especially sound, during virtual performances. This is so much better,” she adds.  Agrees Joshua Paulmer, who recently performed at a brunch of a newly-launched property. “I’ve always preferred singing for a live audience. When commercial establishments were still bound by strict rules, I used my time to play at private gigs and farmhouses. The pay, without doubt, is much better with them, but those don’t happen as often as these gigs,” says the western music singer.  

Performers are heaving a sigh of relief at the removal of the night curfew which was in place for almost seven months. “I’ve noticed that people have started coming in early to restaurants and pubs when they know there’s live music. It looks like people were waiting for such experiences,” says Paulmer. 
In addition to little or no business, artistes had to reduce their performance charges. But now, with business picking up, many are quoting pre-Covid rates. Raghav Huria, known as Muzzy Brown on stage, says that when things were still opening up, many tried to negotiate the price.

“The crowd and money have significantly picked up with more customers venturing out now. However, it was difficult to negotiate during the pandemic, we just had to take what we got,” he says, adding that at the moment they are still assessing the kind of music that works in different settings. “At brunches, the music is relatively soft, while stand-alone restaurants want peppy dance numbers. We are working to understand what the crowd wants post Covid to play accordingly. As for now, we are just happy that things have reopened and we can perform again,” Huria explains.

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