On Sunday night, Columbia was visited by stars—Pakistani pop-rock stars, Strings. Bwog sent Pakistani Partier Sarah Thompson to check it out.
People stood outside in the rain for hours (literally) for the event put on by the Organization of Pakistani Students as the band perfected its sound. Like the herd of wildebeests that kill Mufasa in The Lion King, the excited fans stampeded into Roone Arledge. I trotted up to the fourth row—thanks, OPS. The announcer made things just edgy enough when he shouted, “For Pakistan, for India, for the rest of the subcontinent—are you ready to have a ballistic night?” Apparently we all were!
Confession time: I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Pakistani pop-rock music before, so I was expecting something similar to the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire or Non-Stop Collection of Bollywood Songs. That’s why I was so surprised when the band sounded like something you might’ve heard on the radio anytime in the past few decades in the US—perhaps not as groovable, but a bit more relatable.
The band was energetic—the drummer, who I initially thought wasn’t wearing pants, constantly waggled his head around with his tongue flopping about, enjoying the music—as well as fun—during a crooning song, they invited up on stage a delirious fangirl, who may or may not have had a heart attack following the encounter with her idol/fantasy-boy. Strings brought everyone to their feet, and the crowd never stopped dancing along to the hits, including the famous “Sar Ki Yeh Pahar” and “Titliyan,” off their last album.
In the end, Strings left the crowd happy, as they interacted heavily with the fans throughout the show, and we left Strings happy, as they can say to their kids, “We played at Columbia” (as they noted). Kudos to OPS for scoring a band with such a big name in the international and Bollywood scene. Everyone studying in Butler missed out on a good time and temporary deafness.