I was supposed to be writing on Wednesday night, but instead I ended up at a Celtic bhangra show as often, I’m sure, happens to writers.
Though I’ve meant to make Sundays my official work days with an added Monday as a safeguard, between a friend in town from Manila and a random Monday night gala, this week has not been particularly accommodating to my writing schedule. With that in mind, the plan was to take this Wednesday night work evening, get through a backlog of stories, go for a run, and be in bed by midnight.
Instead, I ended up at a Celtic bhangra show. I was in bed by two.
When my friend Taz recommends a show, that recommendation comes with a certain weight of credibility. The writer, curator, and mastermind behind "online mixtape for Brown-ish music" Mishthi Music, Taz does not deal in wasted time and so when she tells you to check out a show you know that you are not getting your time wasted.
Taz periodically sends out e-mails detailing work she’s doing and things she’s going to, and this week her run-down included a Wednesday night concert for a band called Delhi 2 Dublin, a Vancouver-based bhangra group that incorporates Celtic fiddle. Naturally.
So after dinner with a friend and a snap Facebook-driven decision (another friend tagged me in a post urging folks to go), I jumped in my car and headed over late. Or I thought I was late. The Facebook event said that the show started at 9:30 and I arrived at 9:46.
The show actually started at 11.
Eventually my friends showed up, some old some new, inside we went, and then boom, Celtic bhangra.
The set up was a modular assortment of guitar, fiddle, keyboard(?), drum set, dhol, and some of the most clear vocals I’ve ever heard. The band has been around for a while and it showed — they sounded tight. The songs had a driving rhythm articulated by a fiery dhol player. The vocals traveled between English and Gujarati (I am told) and navigated geography across Indian bhangra and Los Angeles-adopted electronic trap. The fiddle layered a fierce, flying fury between slices of electronic backing track and piercing guitar licks under a blanket of flashing lights.
As we danced and drank and stood around watching the show, our small group caught up with each other on our day lives, our night passions, and the thoughts that the show inspired. We were room full of daytime lawyers and IT guys who spend their nights as poets, organizers, and future-retro Desi disco punk musicians. We'd return to our day jobs the next morning, more exhausted than usual, but happy in the reminder that at 11PM on an odd Wednesday we can find ourselves at something as unique as a Canadian Celtic bhangra band in West Pico.
The show ended soon enough. There was no encore, the crowd was too tired to do anything but clap our hands and yell guttural noises. We left The Mint after some obligatory goodbyes to the ancillary friends scattered around the room, then went home.