Last week, when Princeton Club in south Kolkata reopened its doors to live music, a collective hurray went up in the city’s band circuit. For this popular live music venue had been closed nearly five months for renovation.
Among the first to perform at the renovated venue was Cassini’s Division—the alternative rock act that was also among the first big names to perform there when it opened as a live music platform around four years ago. “I found the same positive vibe from young rock music fans. These dedicated young listeners have always been at the core of Princeton,” says Rahul Guha Roy, singer-songwriter of Cassini’s Division.
As a live music venue that would be open to non-members on Thursdays and Fridays, it was perhaps inevitable that Princeton—or Basement and the now dormant La Dolce Vita—would be compared with the big daddy of ’em all, Someplace Else. If Someplace Else has been the power riff, Princeton has provided the filler guitar lines, allowing a gamut of experimental bands to take the stage on Thursdays, when the performances are aimed at a somewhat evolved listener, and Fridays, when bands such as the Hobos take over for a raucous, free-for-all shindig. Skinny Alley, the Supersonics, Pinknoise and Brahmakhyapa, along with outstation bands, have been on the roster. P.S. Rawat, a senior club official, says they will have a more rigorous screening process.
Princeton may have been handicapped by its extreme south location (26, Prince Anwar Shah Road, compared with Someplace Else’s Park Street premises), but it does have its advantages. Visitors have revelled in the spacious indoor and outdoor experience (the live venue is part of 40,000 sq. ft of covered area and about 20,000 sq. ft open area). The in-house sound has improved, and the food and drinks are priced reasonably.
Yet, as it gets ready for a new season, the Cassini’s Division frontman offers some advice. “The place can do with some branding. The club’s profile can definitely improve,” says Guha Roy. For now, though, the happy decibels are back.