A bit more than a week ago, long day at work, I was still slightly taken away from the night before at Shah Jamal, I met with friends at the Alliance Francaise de Lahore where an English guy exhibited photographs from a workshop up in Mansehra on the backs of Rickshaws. It sounds more interesting than it was, the best part was when the Rickshaws all raced off through the front gate, eager to leave the place and earn some money again.
After that we moved to Lawrence Road, St. Anthony’s School next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, a pretty impressive building for the Islamic republic of Pakistan. A 10 year tribute concert for Babar Khan, Rocker from the 90’s who was shot by his Base player came up. Musicians from the 90’s Pakistani Rock Scene were going to appear. Fadi and other members of Overload were on stage when I came, nothing special, Coven followed, again not really mentionable. Only that here Steve and me started to discuss the biggest mistake Bands in Pakistan in general make. The ‘wrong title’ of this article was going to be ‘The necessity of being silent or What Pakistan’s Bands fuck up collectively’. Already at the Youth Performing Arts Festival my ears suffered with Drummers giving a constant background noise while the Light guys were still setting up their positions (that were later totally wrong in any case) and the Guitar Player was trying to show everyone that he knows what ‘chromatic scale’ means. Five minutes noise. Finally the lead singer announces the gig, I can’t hear half of the stuff he says because the Guitarist decided to test his E String at full volume. Yes! After the first song – ‘Sorry guys, we gotta do some set up.’ Yeah sure, I can imagine. Better test your solos once more while the keyboarder makes sure that the black keys still work.
Similar it was at this concert. Steve and me got angry with all that inability to perform, to be on stage. But there was relief. The bands got better. No more testing between songs, nice cover versions, no pseudo East meets West Fusion. Just Rock. It was the best concert I have been to in Lahore so far. And I don’t expect any better to come up soon.
We ended the night at Shadman Market, at our Mobile Chinese place and then I drove Steve and Marta home. When I got rid of them I was happy for my bike that could relax again with only me to carry. Round the corner of PU University even heavier load waited. A Maulvi, with a red beard that probably weighed 2 kilos and a Turban that had double the weight stuck his thumb out for a ride to Doctor’s Hospital. And because I never took a real Maulvi on my bike before – yes, sure get on. The bike had troubles moving from the spot, this 150 kilo guy pulling it down in the back. But his warm ‘May Allah give you a long life’ made up for the 5 minutes I lost because of his weight. It was 3 am when I passed the U Turn on the Canal where the Morning Motor Cycle races were just about to start and a Tractor full of Straw blocked two lanes. That’s Lahore. And for days like these I love this city and this country.
Today, 10 days later I sit in a different World. And that’s not even part of the story anymore. Just a good reason to write it down. Jail Road, opposite the Cabrestan I wait since more than an hour in a Beauty Parlour to get my hair done for a Music Clip launching Concert at the National Concert of Arts. Mannequins sit around make up covering their face waiting for what do I know, a guy looking more metro sexual than my eyes can bear. Awful Lahore. I think about going out and getting myself some cigarettes or just leaving and doing something more reasonable than waiting for some narcistic bastards to show up four hours late. Well, all off the record. I am going now.