Hothat, an musical ensemble of 16 members, 'suddenly' came together for their debut concert on Friday, Hothat: Shobaike Janao, at the Liberation War Museum auditorium. But mind you, these Hothat folks have not dropped out of nowhere. All the members of the ensemble also belong to bands such as Arekta Rock Band, Owned, Conclusion, The Attempted Band and others. Headlining the show, Hothat was a hot melting pot of the contemporary Bangladeshi music scene and – boy, oh boy – was it exuding the zeal of youth.
Tasfia Fatima Tashfee was the first act to set the mood for the show. The auditorium was not as spacious as one would imagine but her high pitched yet superbly in-control voice, which hit the right notes every time, filled up every corner.
"You're beautiful!" shouted out an audience member at Tashfee. Drummer Arafat Kazi replied, on behalf of Tashfee, "I'm sure James Blunt wrote that song for her."
The crowd went wild for Arekta Rock Band, Conclusion and Owned. More and more members of the audience left their seats to form a mosh pit as the concert pressed on.
Conclusion of course performed Odyssey, a single release from 2019, among other songs.
And Owned owned the stage right after. Besides 'Bhabantor', the band's signature track, and 'Bibhranto'; they performed Omor for the first time on stage. The entire crowd sang along, a reception that took the band by surprise. "That was surprisingly good for its first time on stage," exclaimed Ratul, vocalist and bassist.
The Attempted Band came on stage as the final act before the headlining band. Their songs had elements of jazz, blues, rock n roll and psychedelic, all at the same time.
The Attempted Band's performance was something the crowd needed, but they did not know before they got to experience it. The pace slowed down, but it was a perfect way to welcome the main event of the night: Hothat's debut performance.
The only similarities that can be drawn between Hothat and any other band are The Watson Brothers. These two bands not only have a similar sound but they are also connected by a common member – Arafat Kazi plays drums for both.
The ensemble also included Shishir Ahmed (Aurthohin, dNA), Bass King Pavel (Miles, AvoidRafa, Fuad and Friends), Tasfee (Coke Studio Bangla), Fashiuddin Ahmed Itmam (Owned, Aftermath), Zakir Hossain aka Zakku (Conclusion, The Attempted Band), Riasat Azmi (Severe Dementia, Arekta Rock Band), Sakibur Rahman Zihan (EIDA, Petty Never Grew, Conclusion, Embers in Snow), Hasan Muhhamanna (EIDA, Conclusion), Ifaz Abrar Reza (Arekta Rock Band), Shahan Kamal Uday (Introit), Munif Kader Chowdhury, Mohammad Khalid bin Siraj (trained by Indian classical flute legend Hariprasad Chaurasia) and Aftan Monir Audhib.
"Zakku and I were losing our minds during Covid. Life was difficult, so we started long jam sessions back in August 2021. But we were just jamming. Bass King Pavel showed up one day and I asked Zakku to call up members from all the bands they are well-connected with," explained Arafat post concert about the formation of the band, adding, "Zakku used his connections and Pavel's influence really inspired the current line up to believe that together we can achieve something big."
Hothat performed five out of their six originals which will be released in an upcoming album. The show was a preview of what the album is going to entail.
"We have also made a 70-minute long audio-visual movie, or a documentary if you will, based on our songs which we will screen at Platinum Grand Hotel, Banani at 8:30 PM, on 6 August. If you want to come, sign up. If you really want to come but seats are all booked, message us," said Zakir.
Following this screening the album will be officially launched.
Organised by Dhaka Broadcast, the entire event was sponsored by the bands themselves, all because of their collective love for music.