Whenever we talk about the capital city, things like smog, political affairs, and communal issues appear first on our minds. Having said that, the music culture in Delhi has been unpredictable over the past few years. Irrespective of the issues, Delhi has witnessed a musical wave, be it underground electronic, be alternative or rock, or be it simple acoustic intimate sessions. For me, the right way to witness a music gig is when all of your attention is channelised towards the performance that is on stage. The city has a whole bunch of venues that host live music frequently, keeping the flag flying. We take a look at a handful, well aware that there are several others not listed here. Check our picks.
Auro Kitchen & Bar
Started in 2016, Auro is a new-age Indian fusion restaurant and as the name suggests, the place is paying tribute to Aurobindo market, Delhi. Spans across a 7000 square feet area, this is an absolutely wonderful place to go chill with friends or even a date. Both the outside seating and the inside performance area provide a satisfying environment, also the rooftop with its own bar made from an old shipping container is simply love. However, the indoor space can get really suffocating because of lack of ventilation at times when overcrowded. They carefully curate exciting music gigs from time to time. Don’t miss their handcrafted cocktails and the collection of draught beers. Coming back to music showcases and performances, Auro has hosted varied musicians such as French band Electrophazz ft. London-based Eneeks, Sickflip, Aera (Innervisions), PC Mag India Live featuring Apparat, Murthovic, OORT, Julian Jeweil (Drumcode), Zoya Mohan, Tanya Nambiar, Buttering Trio, Jody Wisternoff, Jitter, Burudu, Calm Chor, Yotto, Madame Gandhi, Sapta, and Indian Ocean to name a few. This is one of the best places to enjoy the music trend in Delhi, without any doubt. Do go for this gig where Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator, Fopchu, Kum Chirui will be playing at Auro on 28 June.
Gather with your gang, drink like a fish, grab some grub and enjoy the coolest live gigs at BandStand. Oh, they have a wonderful terrace to chill and it definitely adds more feel to the place. The Bandstand is a hub one shouldn’t miss out on. Known not just for its laidback ambiance, the place has a well-thought detailing for the decor. Primarily known as a pub venue, now they are organising gigs for DJs, bands, listening sessions, open mics, even some old blues, jazz, and rock n roll gigs too. Yadda yadda yadda. Artists/bands like Bombay Bassment, The Sine Painter, Noche Sensual, Barely Legal, The Midival Punditz have performed at the venue.
Blues Café is the oldest pub in town. Known for its retro ambiance, décor, Blues is the perfect place for classic rock, blues, and country music lovers. If you are one of those music enthusiasts who like the guitar-riffs along with a beer, you should not miss this venue. We loved the part that there is a guitar hanging from the ceiling, wall embedded sculptures, an old piano and all wood furniture. They host DJs too, just the missing part is the lack of space for the people who want to shake their legs too. This year they are completing 20 years and we really hope to see something special. They regularly host Rock Nights, Metal gigs as Art of Metal, Karaoke Nights, Folk Nights on Wednesdays and a lot more.
While enjoying the food and gulping down a couple of pegs, you will be treated to some lovely live music here at Farzi Café. Focusing on the gourmet dinner as well as the youth of India, the vision of Farzi Café has been ‘creating an illusion’ with its varied programming. The ambiance is quirky, chic, and contemporary; one can enjoy a sonic experience through the finest Indian music and cuisine too. When it is about curated line-ups musicians/bands like Rooh, Safar, The Local Train, Daira, Faridkot, Parvaaz, Divine, Mojojojo, Doktor Daniel, Dualist Inquiry, also Manj Musik & Nindy Kaur, Kutle Khan, Yathartha Sharma have performed here in the past.
The Piano Man Jazz Club
Launched in 2015 September, The Piano Man Jazz Club changed the way we pay attention to music. This place mostly attracts regulars for its live music performances. With its edgy curation of diverse Indian as well as international artists, this place has impressed the niche music aficionados. This vibrant place holds two seating areas, where the ground level serves as the venue for live music performances. On the second floor of The Piano Man building boasts an innovative menu with Asian and European characters, or as it’s called in-house ‘Eurasian’. Well, for all that jazz, The Piano Man would be the perfect space. In the past, they have hosted musicians and bands like Winston Balman & The Prophets of Rock, Kern Dalton Collective, Gilbert & Robert, David Helbock Trio, Helen Anahita Wilson, Jaroslav Sveceny & Lukas Sommer among others.
The People and Co.
Started by Canvas Laugh Club in 2017, Delhi NCR was treated to a colossal music dose by Canvas Music Hall’s The People and Co from the day of its launch. In an attempt to resurrect the dying live music scene in our country, Canvas is leading to accomplish a gig with a unique set with top-notch artists from India and abroad. In collaboration with Songdew, they have hosted local gems such as Pakshee, Nitin Nayyar (Outliners), Sejal Morris Duo, FRUZU in the past, followed by The Raven, Benighted, GUTSLIT, Elemental, and Acid Pit among others.
Launched in 2015 December, as the name suggests, Priveé is a pinnacle of luxe hospitality. Located in the heart of New Delhi, Priveé boasts of a 10335 sq ft area including a massive dance floor. Wide-ranging LED lights, excellent VIP areas, the seating arrangements, along with vintage alcohol options will give you a superior nightlife experience. They also have a membership programme of INR 500000 (1 Year Membership) where multiple offers and discounts can be utilised. Be it commercial or hip-hop or even underground music, this place has hosted artists like Hernan Cattaneo, R3hab, Nasha, DJ Aqeel Ali, DJ Notorious, DJ Suketu to name a few.
Probably one of the oldest places (started from HKV and now in Green Park) Raasta is ‘The Place’ where you can grab good food, sip amazing cocktails along with the great music of across genres. Home for many budding artists, with live gigs almost every alternative day, this place is one of the most happening venues in town. And, did we mention the beautiful rooftop seating space? It is love at first sight. The main genre of music played at Rassta is mostly Reggae along with Dubstep, Dancehall, and DnB. By bringing alive the free spirit of the Rastafarian culture, the funky specious Caribbean lounge has left a permanent imprint with their brilliance to the music buffs.
Summer House Café
Located in the historic Hauz Khas Village in Delhi, Summer House Café is making quite a buzz nowadays. Spread across two levels, the place is aesthetically done up in wood, dim interiors and will give you a very laid-back charm the moment you enter. They are doing almost everything including live music acts, DJ sets, open mics, Karaoke sessions, even stand-up comedy. Mostly featuring indie bands, underground electronic music acts from India and overseas too, this place is a gem in terms of hosting musicians. I am pretty sure, this place will be known as ‘the place where (Coldplay frontman) Chris Martin hung out’ in future. Summer House Café has hosted artists like Clap! Clap!, Baba Stiltz, Skober, Johnny Osbourne, Éclair Fifi, Daisho, Henry Saiz among many others. Up next is UK Garage and Grime producer the inimitable Flava D who is a core member of the Butterz label (UK).
Social/Antisocial (Hauz Khas)
The name is itself enough. A well-known place not only in Delhi, but also in other metros, this is place is aptly outstanding for its ambiance, programming, the open-air seating area, and of course, music. I personally love their quirky way of presenting things even if it is a glass for serving water/alcohol or the newspaper themed menu cards. Also, during the day, Social is a co-working space. If you believe in the saying work hard, party harder, you can’t afford to miss this place.
Antisocial, the place has its own rawness, a very different vibe from most of the live music venues in the city. For no-nonsense music, this 5,500 sq.ft of un-programmed space place will leave you with a deserted warehouse impact. For some eccentric performances by musicians all over the world, do check their event’s schedule. Antisocial has hosted artists such as Curtain Blue, Jeremy Olander, Telefon Tel Aviv, Maala, Kahn, Blackstartblues, Aswekeepsearching, Chrms, Demonic Resurrection, Swarathma among others. Next up is Shillong-based Soulmate on 31st May.
Tabula Beach Café
Obviously, Tabula Beach Café is not located on a beach or seaside and don’t expect to get the beachy Goa vibes. But, the ambiance of this beach-themed cafe is different and one of a kind. The weekends are mostly chill at Tabula. Also, they have Salsa and Live Music Wednesdays in their indoor and outdoor areas. The outside seating area is quirky, and you will love the idea of sitting outside on a pleasant day and sink your feet in the sand while enjoying music and food.
Please note, there should be no room for conversations when you are at a gig. Period.