ADP: End of a band
Karachi’s most active band, The Aunty Disco Project (ADP), has broken up. My earliest ADP memory was a gig at LUMS back in 2009. Being one of the organisers and performers, I got to spend some time with them at their place. Now when I look back at it, I was very fortunate to have seen them live their lives — together like a band.
I still remember how Yasir’s Darbuka swept a 1,500 plus crowd off their feet. ADP played the infamous “Sultanat” along with covers that included classics such as The Who’s “Teenage wasteland” and “Rock the Casbah”. Their onstage energy amazed me; I felt they truly were a remarkable addition to the country’s music scene. A year later, they made a greater mark on the mainstream. They played “Sultanat” live on Coke Studio. They also released this well-produced video for their song “Hum naa rahey”, which went viral over the internet within three days of its release.
Just when I thought the band was on track to establish themselves as one of the bigger names in the industry, ADP announced their split. In no way I am writing this piece to criticise their decision; their split in fact made me realise that our rock bands will eventually cease to exist.
And the primary reason in my opinion for this? Lack of paid gigs.
Omar Bilal Akhtar, ADP’s front man, maintains that his band was extremely lucky to have played in front of crowds, while adding that it was almost ‘unimaginable’ to live as a full time musician in Pakistan.
Already piracy and the non-existence of royalty payments on record sales were eating up our industry. This made artists cling to gigs as their final means to counter production costs. But then the country’s deteriorating security situation, amid financial recession, nearly killed that gig culture too.
One of Karachi’s last mainstream rock bands, I am sure ADP’s live gigs would have put smiles on a lot of faces. By writing this piece, I just wanted to thank and acknowledge them for their brilliant music. ADP, you will be remembered.
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