Yesterday evening as I was walking down New Friends Colony, I saw that the sign board for The Mezz a pub in that area and a regular venue for Metal gigs was missing ,I asked the waiter who was standing outside Daawat Khaana (the restaurant opposite to the mezz which was in collaboration) what happened, to which he replied that it has closed, I enquired till when, to which he said forever. On this hearing this I was shocked, as now one of the premier joints for metal and the place which had pretty much introduced me to the scene was now over.
The thing that separates mezz from other pubs was its ambience, which was perfect for a Metal/ Hardcore gig,I could easily imagine a band like WORMROT playing there. The look of Mezz can be best described as simple and raw, unlike the sleek and sophisticated venues of today like Turqouise Cottage and Double Decker, It definitely had a very underground feel to it which made it all the more exciting , something that the other venues lack. Perhaps the band which has played the most there and probably owe a lot to them is UNDYING INC, I first saw them 3 years back with THEM CLONES and THE SUPERFUZZ (now INDIGO CHILDREN) and although my friends didn’t like them at all, I thought that they were good but were kind of lacking something, as time passed the band changed its line up as Shashank Bhatnagar replaced Amitabh on Vocals and Yuvraj Sengupta replaced Sangyt on the Drums, initially with this lineup I was still not convinced, I thought UNDYING INC was pretty average and their routine of doing a PANTERA cover in every gig was getting repetitive, but all that was about to change. One day I headed to The Mezz to see PROJECT BLEND LTD. From Shillong with ARTILLERIE and UNDYING INC and it was then that I saw UNDYING INC change from something mediocore to the most Brutal Metal that The Mezz would hear in the years to come, they became faster harder and much more innovative, and had almost visceral moshpits in every gig they played, now that the band has become one of the biggest in India and has got a lot of critical acclaim, I feel privileged to have seen a small part of their history through The Mezz.
I also got to find out about bands from different places through The Mezz, two of them being BRUTE FORCE from Pune and the aforementioned PROJECT BLEND LTD. BRUTE FORCE had played on one of the worst days for a Metal gig, with barely 7-10 people in attendance and a very dull crowd who didn’t really want to mosh or headbang, all of this when two of the biggest bands from Delhi UNDYING INC and ACRID SEMBLANCE were playing, but all of that changed when BRUTE FORCE played people started headbanging, moshing and just going crazy and even though there were just a few people it still was a lot of fun and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. PROJECT BLEND LTD, however played on a night that was filled with a lot of craziness which was brought upon by the two bands who played before them and they added to that craziness by playing some really tight Old School Brutal Death Metal which got everybody in the pit once again, it’s sad though that their set was really short and they ended their set abruptly without saying goodbye, as Delhi would never hear them again.
I also got to find out about my favourite Death Metal band THIRD SOVEREIGN through The Mezz, it was when the now defunct ORITUS was opening for them and them and KRYPTOS, at that time me and my friends couldn’t really understand Death Metal, so when THIRD SOVEREIGN came along at first we started headbanging like wannabes I distinctly remember my friend laughing and headbanging which looked pretty ridiculous when I think about it, but then after two more songs were confused and got into the typical discussion of how Death Metal is not “Creative” and is just “Noise.” Today they are one of my favourite Death Metal bands; they play simple straightforward but extremely Brutal Death Metal.
But it wasn’t just about Metal, The Mezz also introduced me to a lot of different styles of music, in the form of Blues, Rock which was performed by Rachel Van Zantenn I was really digging the fuzzy guitar riffs and the use of two mics for two different vocal styles and also, how can I forget, THE CIRCUS, one of Delhi’s premier Rock bands who are reviving a dying genre, I was really amazed at the energy of that band, when I first saw them with ENGLISH WINE SHOP and HYPNOSIS. In India people usually associate energy with Metal and not Rock Music, THE CIRCUS was one band that definitely proved this wrong, their music and their stage presence was very active and made me feel like jumping and dance in the air. This was an extraordinary experience which the Delhi Rock scene hadn’t seen before.
One of the last gig at The Mezz was a really grand one; it featured the big three of the Delhi Metal scene ACRID SEMBLANCE, THIRD SOVEREIGN and UNDYING INC and it featured Lalit from GATES OF ASSUALT on Vocals with PHOBIA. I was looking forward to watching THIRD SOVEREIGN as they hadn’t performed for a long time, this time around I enjoyed their music a lot and although at times my enjoyment was a little restrained since I was busy shooting at that time for the "Documentary", I still had a great time and even moshed a little. After that came the BHAYANAK MAUT after party of GREAT INDIAN ROCK(GIR) which was special in its own way as BHAYANAK MAUT had never performed at The Mezz before, and that was how it ended.
So I guess The Mezz for me symbolised a lot of things, how I became much more mature in my taste of music, how the scene became better as the years passed, how I found out about my own scene which prompted me to make Capital Metal(my documentary on the Delhi metal scene) and most importantly it was a pivotal part of my college going experience and although there a lot of pubs which have live music which maybe even better than The Mezz. There’s just something about that place which you just can’t replace, Now even more so when it has shut down.