For those that got to see it, Bilal Khan at the Base Rock Café was a treat. Sure the up and coming singer/songwriter has a long way to go before he manages to keep audiences absolutely enthralled, but listening to the singer croon out Bachana and Tou Kya Hua, live, is reason enough to applaud.
The event was part of a campaign by a major cellphone manufacturer. It was attended mostly by college students where the activation campaigns were held as well as the usual dose of socialites and celebrities.
The event started by an unplugged performance of the band Saazain, who played two of their songs before a guest appearance by Syed Yorke Tipu Shariff, actor, model and self-styled singer. He sang four songs Aaja Na, Jhoom, Thehre Se Lamhe and Berbat Hayat from his upcoming unnamed debut album.
Other acts included Wajahat Rauf, with Waada and Shikwa, and Ali Khan of Saathiya and Koi Aaye Na fame who performed both acoustic songs to the pleasure of those listening.
But the night undoubtedly belonged to Bilal Khan. Of course there was always going to be applause from the girls with their cameras. But it was the fact that he was able to give an unplugged performance, improvising with loops that gave the performance its loungy, unforced feel. According to the singer, “It’s what I do in my bedroom.”
It would have helped if Bilal kept his attention on a song for longer than a couple of minutes; his repetitive loops gave the impression he was getting set for a long jam, but each time a song only lasted a few verses or broke into other songs — such as when he started off promisingly with Oasis’ Wonderwall, but then jumped into Greenday’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams. The medley didn’t work. Maybe he forgot the words?
But the boy’s got talent. He was trying to experiment with vocals, and it was interesting to hear, as well as the fact that he’s working on getting other songs to flow together on the same beat. A few more performances, a bit more focus and we might have a local Jason Mraz sans wordplay on our hands.