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Live music rocks back to Kolkata! Here’s where to get your groove on

Jazzy tunes at Chapter 2, indie pop at Hard Rock Cafe, Bollywood bops at Please Don’t Talk, classic rock at Someplace Else, and more

Lygeia Gomes | Published 08.04.22, 04:49 PM
Singer Dhvani Bhanushali during a show at Hard Rock Cafe

Singer Dhvani Bhanushali during a show at Hard Rock Cafe

@dhvanibhanushali22/Instagram

Live ‘western’ music has been a part of Kolkata’s soundscape for many decades now — arguably longer than any other Indian city. The city's live music scene as we know it today began in earnest in the early 1990s when Someplace Else emerged as the epicentre of live shows in the city. It regularly served up musical brilliance — from emerging bands to well-established artists. In the years that followed, many joints hosting live performances cropped up and even if they didn’t match the charms of the hub on Park Street, these pubs and clubs proved to be pleasant alternatives for musicians and music lovers, alike.

The pandemic, unfortunately, put an end to live gigs, compelling the city's music buffs to rely on virtual concerts. Now, two (long) years later, with the city’s live spaces reopening, a number of pubs, bars, clubs, and even restaurants have introduced live music nights featuring old favourites and fresh talent. My Kolkata brings you the run-down…

Effingut

Effingut — one of the most popular brewery chains in the country — hosts ‘Thursdays Tunes’ every week, which sees upcoming city bands bringing the house down with classic rock and blues tunes from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Each Thursday, the brewery is engulfed in the tunes of Purple Haze, Whole Lotta Love, I Saw Her Standing There, Boogie Chillen', and The Thrill is Gone. Recently, they’ve had performances from rock bands who cover popular pop numbers with riveting rock spins. “We sing classic rock numbers and a few rock covers of new-age pop songs. Our playlist never misses out on Bryan Adams, Pink Floyd, and Bruno Mars!” says Kiefer D’Rozario, the bassist of Switch, a local rock band that performs at Effingut.

Where: Level 7, Magma House, 24, Park Street
When: Thursdays, 8pm onwards 

Please Don't Talk

If you’re looking for a night of Bollywood bops, Please Don't Talk is the place to be. The gastropub has live performances every night featuring local artists like Devesh Lal, Vidya Sagar, Stanzin Norgais, Tomojit Bose, Mohona Sen, Inside Out, All Square, and Abhishek Roy Choudhury and Projects The music mix ranges from old-school Bollywodd numbers like You are my Soniye, Gori Gori Gori and Say ‘Shava Shava’ to contemporary dance tunes Badtameez Dil, Subha Hone Na De and Kar Gayi Chull. On Saturdays, Please Don't Talk revamps its interiors to sport a dance floor with high tops so revellers can shake a leg and dance the night away!

Where: 8, Harington Mansion, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Camac Street
When: Every day, 8pm onwards 

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe is known for regularly hosting ‘the most lit live gigs’. In Kolkata, the pub sees local bands play western music on Thursdays and Indian tunes on Fridays. Bands like The Grooverz, Urban Monkz, Ehsaas and Fakhir frequently perform a mix of old-school and new-age numbers. On occasion, Hard Rock Cafe hosts raging ‘Indie-Pop Nights’ featuring regional musicians who play the most intoxicating mix of eastern and western sound. 

Psst: This Friday (April 8), the Indie band Indicred is playing here.

Where: 57, Park Mansion, Park Street
When: Thursdays and Fridays, 8.30pm onwards

The Salt House

The Salt House is one of the few restaurants in the city that has live music every day of the week. You’ll spot dinners and brunches set aside for acoustic eastern music, blues nights, and a bevy of regional funk and folk tunes. The line-up consists of up-and-coming local artists — blues-boy Craig D’Souza, Indie artist Aamir Rizvi and acoustic duo Sagnik Dutta and Devesh Agarwal, among others — which rotates each week. Stay hooked on The Salt House’s social media handles for regular updates. 

Where: 40, 6th Floor, Shakespeare Sarani, Shakespeare Point
When: Every day, 7pm onwards

Five Mad Men

Five Mad Men is the go-to joint for live music in Salt Lake Sector Five and hosts two weekly live nights — ‘Ladies Night’ on Thursdays (acoustic Bollywood) and ‘Friday Live Wire’ on Fridays (rock). The gastropub regularly sees popular city bands like Urban Monkz, Ehsaas, The Grooverz, The ASP Project, The Radical Array Project, Gosai Gang, Fakirs, and Indicreed. “We are trying to bring the live music scene back to Kolkata, so we have something for everyone — acoustic Bollywood, old-school rock and Bangla rock. In the past, we’ve hosted a few big names like When Chai Met Toast, Prabh Deep, Ankur and The Ghalat Family, and Lakkhichhara,” says Sourav Sinha, one of the co-owners of Five Mad Men.

Pssst: Bangla rock band Fossils is performing here on April 10. Gear up!

Where: Block EP and GP, Omega Building, Bengal Intelligence Park, Salt Lake Electronic Complex, Sector 5
When: Thursdays and Fridays, 8pm onwards 

One8 Commune

One of the newest fine-dine restaurants in Kolkata, One8 Commune hosts troupes singing live tunes on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons. Independent singers and local bands such as The Bolly Monkey, The Yellow Taxi and Mixed Feelings regularly take the ambiance at One8 Commune up a notch with playlists packed with Bollywood hits and English pop tunes. On a few weekends (and special occasions), the restaurant hosts big names like the electronic music duo Tech Panda and Kenzani. Stay tuned to their social media handles or My Kolkata’s ‘Try This Today’ section for updates on upcoming gigs!

Where: 13, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Park Street 
When: Thursdays, 8pm onwards and Sundays, 1pm onwards 

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 — a low-key retro-dining spot in southern Avenue — is a sought-after location for people looking to wind down at the end of the day. The restaurant hosts city band Retro Cats on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and singer-songwriter Syamantak Sengupta on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Usually, the music ranges from retro to modern rock and regional beats. 

Where: P-377, Hemanta Mukhopadhya Sarani, Southern Avenue
When: Every day, 7.30 pm onwards

Momo I Am (Sector 5)

On weekends, Momo I Am serves up bands with their baos. The Asian restaurant hosts local bands playing western music, regaling customers with numbers from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stevie Wonder, AC/DC and Bryan Adams. Local bands Fourth Note, Bubblegum, and Satyen frequently perform at Momo I Am. Follow Momo I Am’s social media pages for updates.

Where: 1st Floor, RBD Cinema, Sector 5, Salt Lake
When: Saturdays and Sundays, 7.00 pm onwards

Someplace Else

Last but far from least, Someplace Else continues to hold its ground as the hub of live music in Kolkata. Hosting daily gigs featuring popular local bands and emerging artists from all over the country, the little pub is the go-to spot for locals and expats alike. On any given day, one can stop by for a fantastic night featuring progressive rock numbers from the good ’ol ’60s, to recent rock tunes. 

Where: The Park, 17, Park Street
When: Every day, 7pm onwards

Last updated on 08.04.22, 08:46 PM
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