The finale of Nescafe Basement just aired and as I sit and listen to the two new songs on repeat, I can’t help but be thankful for the show. There was an air of nostalgia when watching this episode compared to earlier episodes. Throughout the season, Nescafe Basement has showcased each of the artists, off the top of my head I can remember the great work done in “Tere Ishq Mein” by the dual vocalists Asfar and Rizwan and the rocking version of “Akhiyaan” with Hamza on vocals, Usman and Shahrukh who both shone on lead guitars during “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Koi Mannay” respectively and the great performances given during “Sab Bhula Kay” and “Phir Se” and this episode is just stronger.

 

“Run to You” is a classic rock song by Canadian artist Bryan Adams (who made history as one of the first International artists to perform in Pakistan) and probably is the reason many people picked up a guitar in the first place (myself included). Usman Sheikh has shown his strengths as a vocalist and guitarist throughout the season but his rocker edge shines through in a heavy rendition of the classic. Armed with strong vocals, harmonics and an extreme whammy bar, this cover reminds us of the sheer power of stadium rock. Usman is aided by Shahrukh Aslam providing some truly face-melting solos and Mansoor Lashaari's drumming gets the adrenaline pumping. The song also effectively infuses elements of electronica and dubstep to modernize the classic, along with Abu Bakar Javed adding an eastern flair to the overall sound. This, to me, is the perfect display of what the show has to offer. It is filled with intricate parts, raw talent, experimentation and with eastern instruments, creating something distinctively Pakistani.

 

The season ended with a tribute to the legend himself, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with “Akhiyan Udeek Diyan”. While no one can reach his level of virtuosity, the three vocalists, Asfer, Hamza and Rizwan do a phenomenal job on vocals and their improvisations and melodies end this episode on a high. Definitely my favorite cover of this song, you see all of Nescafe Basement’s talent on display as tight and punchy as ever with Haider’s bass, Jibraan’s saxophone and Shairi’s Tabla bringing a lot of soul to the table. The backing harmonies by Rutaba, Turaab and Parizae considerably enhance the feel of the song and make it much more compelling. This song was a celebration of all the artists we have come to know and love this season. Xulfi’s aim with Nescafe Basement was to find the talent our industry sorely needed and all of these artists have successfully made names for themselves with some of the most refreshing music out of Pakistan in 2013.

 

Throughout this season, Xulfi has successfully shown what the youth has to offer and like he famously said ‘darna nai hai music banatay hoye’ and you can see that the artists took that to heart. Each song has a unique sound and Xulfi works together with these 19 super-talented artists to create one of the most memorable shows on Pakistani television and it deserves repeated listens. As this chapter ends, I find that I am on the edge of my seat waiting restlessly for what the next season will offer us. Until then, I have a new list of favorite songs I am addicted to.