There’s something special about music that I can’t quite explain. It has the ability to captivate an audience and transport us to a frame of mind where we wish we could be throughout our otherwise worrisome and mundane lives. It allows us to be uninhibited in our thoughts, expressions, interactions, and general existence. It gives us the freedom to be in the moment, enjoying where we are, what we are, and not give a flying damn about the trials and tribulations which prevent the same in our everyday lives. It is diverse, bringing us all together in simple appreciation of the harmony created by that sweet, sweet, melody. It is, for lack of a better word, magical.
The Family Cheese is a band that clearly recognized this unique characteristic of music. A band comprising of three extremely chilled out guys, playing songs they enjoyed and which they knew the crowd would as well. Incredibly talented and greatly entertaining, they had the crowd going nuts from the get go. Their bassist (I presume ‘Homie’ isn’t his actual name) and drummer (a band which didn’t believe in the singularity of the word ‘frontman’) had everyone reeled from the time they announced the winners of the Battle of the Bands (which would have clearly gone to our own ‘The AK’ if they’d been competing). They had the crowd reeled in, starting with Ain’t No Sunshine and Hoochie Coochie Man, both great songs in their own right, famous but not populist enough to be considered selling out. They continued to rock the stage with smooth feet-tapping, hand-raising self composition reggae that had the crowd going wild (a response which I was thankful to see was not restricted to our man Yo Yo). They had me worried for a second when they started playing Another Brick in the Wall, because we all know that if there’s anything that’s a crowd – pleaser in an educational institution, it’s a song that goes ‘we don’t need no education.’ But it felt good in the moment, I was singing along (thankfully the speakers drowned me), and I was loving it. They maintained their powerful stage presence with quirky comments and lovely music, and the crowd was just grooving.
True to college expectations, the administration forced the fest organizers (and honestly, kudos to them for a bloody great job) to make the announcement that Family Cheese had time to play two last songs. What can one say, such is the NLU Delhi administration. Even at our first cultural fest, staying outside beyond 10 pm is a scarier notion than, well, staying outside beyond 9 pm, I suppose (give it up for the one extra hour, ladies and gentlemen!). In tune with their interactive style, for their second last song, they responded to the crowd’s demands, shifting their style from reggae to rock, with another popular but non-populist song choice with Blackest Eyes by Porcupine Tree. My fear was reinforced but suppressed, because, I don’t know, what the hell, it was fun, it was lively, and it was a rock show on the last day of our cultural fest on a proper stage outside campus, with trippy lights, at NLU Delhi. We were all happy. Unwilling to end on a note that would bring down that high, they announced that they would end with another song by Floyd. The first thing I’d told Shamim standing next to me, “I hope to fucking God they don’t play Comfortably Numb.”
Alas, God was not listening (possibly busy trying to figure out how the world he created had gone oh-so-fucking-wrong, but that’s a discussion for another time).
Now, here’s my problem. In the entire Floyd universe, there is a host of songs that an artist may choose. They may have been restricted by limitations of talent, or limitations of actual resources available. But there is still, nonetheless, a host of songs that an artist can choose. But if you ask anybody for two songs by Floyd that everyone knows, the answer will undeniably be Another Brick in the Wall and Comfortably Numb. What’s the problem with that, you ask? The problem is that just isn’t their best songs. Pink Floyd is a band that understood the magical characteristic of music I spoke about better (arguably, maybe, but I think not) than any other band. These two songs, absolutely mind-blowing though they are, are not their best, and are the most over-played songs that apparently gives every Tom, Dick, and Harry the liberty to consider themselves as Floyd fan-boys. As a band performing at a college fest choosing to play Floyd, they are the most populist, crowd oriented, unoriginal, boring-as-fucking-hell song choices that a band could have chosen. Time, Us and Them, Speak to Me, Brain Damage, Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Hey You, High Hopes are but a few alternatives which The Family Cheese could have chosen and it would have been a high like no other that NLU Delhi has known. But in my honest, and I’m presuming contested opinion, in choosing Another Brick in the Wall and Comfortably numb, the Family Cheese sold out.
Okay, I’m done with my rant. I concede, this previous paragraph was fuelled by a disappointment which was a result of the high standards that The Family Cheese had me expecting till that last song. They’re talented, they’re lively, they’re entertaining, and I would most definitely recommend them for any other cultural fest. As they proclaimed themselves to be, they are a great fest band. I’d love to hear them again. A stage presence like the one they had mixed with their musical ability to kick ass legitimizes the insanely appreciative response they received.
They made me expect better, is all.