Group Project: The Tenth Edition Of Crowd-Funded Gig Series Control Alt Delete

The Ritornellos.

Kolkata’s The Ritornellos will perform at Control Alt Delete 10. Photo: Naman Saraiya.

It is a significant achievement that the folks behind crowd-funded indie music gig series Control Alt Delete (CAD), which was launched in January 2011, will be staging its tenth edition in February. This is because the milestone is being celebrated just a few months after falling audience numbers led to the closure of the country’s biggest venue for independent music. To mark the occasion, CAD founders Himanshu Vaswani and Nikhil Udupa will present the most ambitious instalment yet, which will feature 35 acts across five stages over two days. The event will take place at the sprawling six-acre Roaring Farm in Malad on Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12.

As a result, they’re aiming for their highest target yet: Rs5 lakh of which they managed to raise Rs1 lakh within a week even before the line-up was announced. As always, the show will go on even if they don’t reach the amount. “CAD is a compulsively optimistic exercise,” said Udupa and Vaswani in an email interview they answered jointly. “The gig will happen no matter what. If we don’t raise it, we’ll put in the funds ourselves to make it happen. With a larger size and space, we’ll be exploring other avenues of raising money via food and shopping stalls.”

With multiple stages set up in a venue that also boasts adventure sports facilities, it would seem that CAD is being repackaged from an evening-long gig into a two-day music festival. Udupa and Vaswani are reluctant to use the “overabused term” to describe CAD 10 even if for all practical purposes, it will resemble such an event. Each of the five stages will be dedicated to the specific genres of metal, rock, electronica, singer-songwriters and hip hop. One of their main programming criteria is that there should be no repeats as far as possible so that each instalment features a fresh line-up. Five acts from across the country will be playing their first shows in Mumbai at CAD 10. They are Bangalore metal group Orchid; Jaipur electronica producer Kalab; Shillong hip hop crew Khasi Bloodz; and rock bands Karajimo from Delhi and The Ritornellos from Kolkata, which has two members of the now-defunct The Supersonics.

Also on the bill are metal purveyors Carnage Inc., Demonic Resurrection, Killibrium and Sceptre from Mumbai, Chaos from Trivandrum, Shepherd from Bangalore and Plague Throat from Shillong; rock groups Ioish, Mosko, The Circus and Zokova from Delhi and Gumbal, Lawntuba, Make The Scene and The Family Cheese from Mumbai; electronica outfits Komorebi from Delhi, Ox7gen and Paraphoniks from Mumbai, and Sapta from Chennai; singer-songwriters Dhruv Viswanath from Delhi and Jishnu Guha, Nush Lewis, Ramya Pothuri and Zoya Mohan from Mumbai; and city-based hip hop exponents Divine, Dopeadelicz, Emiway, Enkore, Mumbai’s Finest and Swadesi.

Udupa first came across the venue, which has a dirt track for motor sports and also offers paintball and archery sessions, while scouting locations for a video series for his former employer, erstwhile TV channel Pepsi MTV Indies. With Roaring Farm, CAD 10 will continue its tradition of launching music events at venues. In the past, Elphinstone Road culture spot Sitara Studio and Lower Parel gaming centre Smaaash made their foray into gig hosting with CAD.

Sitara Studio and Smaaash continue to host concerts, albeit intermittently, just like a number of new bars and restaurants. However, many of these don’t have the set-up required to provide a quality gig watching experience. “The way we look at it – the more the merrier,” said Udupa and Vaswani. “The [places] in it for the wrong reasons will eventually fall out because of a lack of audience or artists willing to perform. The same thing goes for festivals. We’ve seen our share of one trick ponies but we’ve also got a lot of talented, driven people in the game now and I am sure some of them will work out in the long run.”

Festivals in fact have grown to such an extent that CAD will clash with the seventh edition of the Mahindra Blues Festival and the fourth instalment of Vh1 Supersonic, which is being held in Pune. The pair couldn’t help it, they said, and that they already pushed the date to avoid coinciding with the Nariyal Paani festival in Alibaug. They feel there will be minimal audience overlap between the Mahindra Blues Festival, Vh1 Supersonic and CAD but for music fans with wide ranging tastes, it’s going to be a tough call.

Control Alt Delete 10 will be held on Saturday, February 11 and Sunday February 12 on Roaring Farms, Pathare Wadi, opposite Bageecha Swagath, Malwani Village, Malad (West). Tel: 98200 51509. Gates open at 2pm. Pay what you want at the venue or contribute here. The rewards range from a name on the sponsor wall for Rs100 to a gig for Rs25,000. Get directions here.

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