Divya Naik traces the evolution of the Mumbai edition of Hard Rock Cafe
Liberalization brought with it brought in cultural transformations and gradually, with time; many sub cultures started mushrooming in the metros. It brought Roger Waters to Mumbai. It also brought to India Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, and many such ‘Gods of Rock’ who were worshipped by the youth. It led to the doubling of underground bands, rock music fesivals, headbanging crowds and moshpits in college grounds. It left the music communities asking for more. Places like Mumbai’s Jazz by the Bay just weren’t enough. There was a dire need to create a place to accommodate all this energy and talent.
Come 2007, Hard Rock Café Mumbai was born, a branch of its original headquarters in New York. Five years later, HRC’s India ops have a presence in Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad as well.
Hard Rock Café Mumbai was also awarded the Top of the Rock performance award by HRC international corporate office in 2010. The café was hence inducted into the Performance Hall of Fame in November in the same year with its name being added to a unique plaque that hangs at the entryway in their corporate headquarters in Orlando.
Ambience: With the 6,000 sq ft of carpet area and 169 seat space, the café has memorabilia representing contemporary stars such as Madonna, U2, and Bruce Springsteen along with side items from rock legends Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles. A lot of attention has been given to retain the look and feel of an underground live music venue with the dim lighting, the murals and posters on the wall and the antiques displayed.
With duplex setting enough to accommodate a big enough audience, the café is a welcome place for not only those who love rock music but to anyone and everyone who wishes to become accustomed to it and start to listen. The service is open and friendly with the bar serving a wide range of cocktails and drinks with burgers, fries, steaks, salades and dessert on the menu.
Stages and Sound: With two stage areas that can be simultaneously used for performances, artists can’t find a reason to complain. The stage area is also sprawling and wide enough to accommodate anything from a six to an eight piece band. Sound is looked after by Pritesh Prabuhne who is a guitarist, drummer and audio enginner from Bajaao IT – all rolled into one. Live acts take place twice a week – alternate rock is played on Tuesdays and Classic Rock is played on Thursdays. Rest of the days in the week, music is played by the in-house DJ Roane who is also a resident DJ at Shiro.
Artists who have performed: Hard Rock Café has hosted a variety of acts ranging from Motherjane, Pentagram, Something Relevant, Agnee, Zedde, Airport, Three Guys and a Girl, Soulmate, One Night Stand, Cassini’s Division, Hard Kaur, Zygnema, Raghu Dixit Project, Euphoria, Kailasa, Blakstratblues, Suraj Jagan, among others. It has also played host to international performances by Dirty Vegas, Jay Sean, Alexandra Stan, Paul Van Dyk, etc. Major events such as Cry Freedom, Ray Ban Never Hide Sounds and Independence Rock Semi Finals have also taken place here.
Rock Shop: The rock shop which displays a wide variety of collectibles ranging from T-shirts to collectible pins. One of a kind Rock T Shirts designed by artists like Jon Bon Jovi, Green Day and Shakira make Hard Rock tee shirts top shelf items. Hard rock pins are also very unique with collections of Spinning Bike, Rock House series to the Roller Boogie Collection. There is also free shipping on orders placed online.
Money matters: The gate charge is usually Rs. 100/- but it differs on the nature of the live performances and may go up to Rs. 4,000/- when an international artist is being showcased. The food too is steeply priced and a meal for two may go up to costing as much as Rs. 1,500/-. A pint of beer may cost Rs. 250/-. However, on this, Jay Singh, Owner of HRC comments by saying, “A burger at a local stall will not be as good in quality as the one that we serve in our café. In the case of Rs/Gm, we win hands down as you won’t get the same kind of food in a dhaba – it will be less than half the size!”.