Diggin’ Up Mumbai’s Happening Live Music Hotspots
If you ask typical Mumbaikars to give 5 reasons why they love the city of Mumbai, they’d give you thousands! But the amazing thing is there would be one common reason on everyone’s list – Bollywood and its music. Of course, Bollywood is synonymous with Mumbai and people here love its music. However, in the recent years, Mumbai has seen a considerable change with the growing popularity of the indie music scene.
Live music in Mumbai has slowly grown upon the audience’s psyche here. Often in Mumbai you would find places where amateurs, professionals, passionate artists, or random travelers perform. However, if you belong to the breed of pure music freaks (the kind that eats, sleeps and breathes music!), you’d already know that if I started listing those places I’d rather write a book. So, I’ll list down a few places (read ‘the best of the best’) for you; the next time you want a taste of live music in Mumbai you’d have your options sorted.
NCPA – Narimanpoint
The mecca of western classical music not just in Mumbai but in India, the NCPA (National Centre of The Performing Arts) has consistently introduced the best musicians to the local audience. Being host to the world renowned maestros Yuri Simonov and Charles Dutoit, the NCPA has also hosted a number of other international conductors such as Alexander Anissimov, Fuat Mansurov, Adrian Leaper, Tamás Vásáry, Antonello Allemandi, and others. Apart from the western classical, the NCPA is well known for its Indian classical music recitals as well.
Being host to the world renowned maestros Yuri Simonov and Charles Dutoit, the NCPA has also hosted a number of other international conductors such as Alexander Anissimov, Fuat Mansurov, Adrian Leaper, Tamás Vásáry, Antonello Allemandi, and others.
Mehboob Studios, founded in the year 1957 by Mehboob Khan, is one of the most iconic places of Mumbai. And this brought Live from the Console to life. One of the best places for live music in Mumbai, Live from the Console brings together fresh music talents (the kinds not heard on television or radio even!) and like-minded people.It was only recently (2010) made available for cultural events, although Bollywood films continue to be shot here even today. The live music scene of Mumbai got a much-needed boost once the studio was thrown open for other activities. And this brought Live from the Console to life. One of the best places for live music in Mumbai, Live from the Console brings together fresh music talents (the kinds not heard on television or radio even!) and like-minded people. A great platform for bands to showcase their talent, and a great place to hang out with your friends. If you’re an indie rock fanatic, this is the place to be.
PS: If the music is not a good enough draw for you, the easy-on-the-pocket booze should do the trick!
Blue Frog – Lower Parel
From blues to electronica to electro-pop to rock – everything that’s non-Bollywood and has no masala (the baby-doll types) attached – comes to Blue Frog. Nothing can beat a young musician humming an original with the sweet six-string sound – bliss. This place has everything for everyone. Tuesdays to Thursdays are specifically reserved for jazz, rock, and world music; Fridays and Saturdays give you a taste of electronica with early acoustic sets being played on Fridays at times.
The acoustic sets are simply brilliant. Nothing can beat a young musician humming an original with the sweet six-string sound – bliss. Oh and there’s more – metal heads alert! The Blue Frog hosts a Metal Night on one of the Sundays in a month. Too bad the place stays closed on Mondays!
Bonobo – Bandra
A rooftop jungle themed bar situated in the queen of suburbs, Bonobo, is a small place with a capacity to hold around 80 people. But once the music starts, this places explodes like a dynamite. The gig nights happen on Fridays and Saturdays, a perfect time to de-stress yourself from the week’s tug-of-war. The Bristish-Asian multi-instrumentalist Shri, the beatboxer Testament, and the Indian electronica maestros The Bandish Projekt and BREED have all performed here.
PS: Create your own drinks here!
Hard Rock Cafe – Worli
If you’re up for the ‘Y M C A’ gig, this place is for you! The HRC has been host to greats like Indian Ocean and Pentagram, and has also treated Mumbai to international chart toppers such as Jay Sean, Wyclef Jean, Bob Sinclair, and Paul Van Dyk. Taking the experience of live music in Mumbai to the next level, the Indian outpost of the US chain of resto-bars has been the hub for indie bands for almost a decade now. Though, on most of the nights, gigs here include bands performing covers, you must come here for the ticketed events.
Of course, there are tons of other places that are go-to when it comes to live music in Mumbai. However, these 5 stand out from the rest. Also, if you have some more to add to the list, feel free to share them with us.
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