My love affair began with Delhi 2 Dublin around their second song when the lead vocalist, Sanjay Seran, asked “are you guys fans of Fat Boy Slim?” The question, coming from a man whose voice has the beauty of an imagined Indian lullaby coupled with the energy of a monsoon can only be answered with a frenzy of dancing. As ‘Praise You’ filtered through the speakers combined with Punjabi vocals, a tabla (small Indian drums attached together), a fiddle, a dohl, and a bass guitar, one can’t help to fall in love with all the members of Delhi 2 Dublin.
On the stage left stands a pint of a girl with a crop of bleach blonde curls and a fiddle, who would likely beat any burly lumberjack in an arm wrestling contest. Sara Fitzpatrick plays in a blur of motion, never standing still for too long, bowing melodies that paradoxically stand out by pairing so well. At points she would forgo the bow and strum a fiddle with her pale fingers. Poems could be written about Sara’s forgoing of the bow and strumming pale fingers against strings present on a dark fiddle’s body.
In centre back there is deejay equipment and a tabla, yet Tarun Nayar doesn’t stay situated with his instruments for very long. The fourth wall, a theatre term, denotes the ‘wall’ a play constructs between the audience and the play. A play’s action rarely breaks the fourth wall and acknowledges or includes the audience. An audience’s role is simply to watch. Concerts obviously break this fourth wall constantly: a band or a musician will shout, chat, or joke to the audience and perhaps reach out to touch a couple of front row hands. However, Tarun Nayar obliterated the separation between band and audience within the first quarter of the show. Everyone on the left side of the audience received a story to tell their grandchildren: “When I was your age, I saw Delhi 2 Dublin in Victoria and Tarun Nayar leapt off stage with a giant drum and played right next to me!” There isn’t a doubt in my mind that everybody wished that they just chosen the left side to dance at Sugar Nightclub, I certainly do.
Meanwhile on stage right there was Ravi Binning, the happy dohl maestro; drumming away on a large instrumental barrel decorated with multi-colored tassels. Throughout the three hour show, I don’t think a smile left his face. There is something amazing to me about a constantly smiling musician. I can hardly stay smiling long enough for posed photograph to be taken, but to focus on playing an instrument, remembering the setlist, interacting with all your other band members, and to keep this grateful grin on your face is astonishing. It seemed as though smiling was Ravi’s natural expression, which suited his joyful drumming perfectly.
Suiting the theme of band member juxtaposition, there is Andrew Kim. Sporting a kilt and alternating between a guitar and an electric sitar. I’ll repeat, an electric sitar. Those words should inspire you to stop what you’re doing, don’t even finish this review (but actually please do), and go buy a ticket for Delhi 2 Dublin. An electric sitar! An army green pleated kilt! There is no comparison to Andrew Kim, just an incredible being.
Sanjay Seran’s vocals are the spider in Delhi 2 Dublin’s web of instruments. The Punjabi and English lyrics climb from instrumental and electronic corners, spinning and weaving the notes and nuances together. As Sanjay Seran’s voice climbs and drops within the web, the uniting force of Delhi 2 Dublin becomes clear: energy. All D2D’s members contain an unstoppable energetic force which drives their seemingly conflicting talents into an unbelievable, amazing, and beautiful band.
Sugar Nightclub’s stage setup showcased each member’s talent by elevating a platform at the forefront of the stage. Fat Boy Slim’s wise words of “I have to celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should” were taken to heart by Sugar’s patrons, as every member of the band was praised and celebrated when they stood upon that platform. Delhi 2 Dublin is a band so unlike any other, so innovative, and most importantly: spreads and shares their happiness and energies with the audience. At one point, Tarun spoke of the positive energies in Sugar Nightclub and the negative energies outside and told everyone to raise their arms and place them around the person next to them, friends or strangers, and then he told us to jump. The audience became bopping lines of positive energy which lasted beyond the early song until Delhi 2 Dublin, sadly, left the stage. As Tarun told the audience to jump, you, reader of this review, should jump to find a ticket, go to a show, and experience Delhi 2 Dublin.
Photos © Louis Bockner