Dilani Rabindran



ANIRUDH BRINGS THAMIZH EDM TO TORONTO, Anirudh, Anirudh Toronto concert


I’ve had the extreme fortune of attending almost every major Tamil film music concert ever conducted here in Toronto, Canada ever since they first began back in the early 2000’s with A.R. Rahman’s initial North American shows (thanks to my parents for being as musically/cinematically devoted as me). I’ve seen ARR, Illaiyaraaja, Shankar Mahadevan, Yesudas, Karthik, etc etc and the list goes on give various types of musical experiences to Toronto’s energetic Sri Lankan and Indian Tamil crowds. But I have never seen a type of concert like last night’s ‘Anirudh Live in Toronto’ show. 
Anirudh has always been one to create music that beats with the pulse of the youth - because he is youth himself! And last night he brought a truly westernized take on Tamil music concerts with a rock and roll/EDM (electronic dance music) themed show to the Powerade Centre that was catered to Toronto’s youth - complete with a mosh pit, glow sticks and bass that literally made our inner organs skip in time to “Aathi”. A far cry from any Tamil concerts seen here in Canada over the past decades; a true party-concert experience.
The concert began with a lively pre-show featuring Tamil talent from all over, including Ottawa and Toronto Thamizh dance crews, one of which provided a fitting dance tribute to SuperStar Rajinikanth on his 65th birthday! But the highlights of the “Chanceyilla” pre-show were certainly YouTube phenomenas comedian Dayan Shah (of TamiLOL), London England’s smooth crooner Inno Genga, Montreal Canada native rapper Ram Agarathi and Super Singer Season 4’s Canadian finalist Jessica Judes. But as entertaining as all these unique and popular artists the rounds of applause they received were nothing compared to the deafening screams of when the youngest composer in Kollywood, Anirudh Ravichander, finally took the stage like a true rockstar. 
As a whole the show was definitely tailored for younger audiences (much like his music), and meant to play out more like a giant dance party rather than a live musical performance. Accompanied by a small rock style ensemble on one side, with the particularly amazing Ananth on violin, and DJs on the other, Anirudh belted out his most iconic songs (sometimes over the recorded tracks themselves it seems), separated into 3 main acts, with only Shakthishree Gopalan appearing part way through to join him on about 4 duets. Anirudh’s spirits were high as he leapt continuously on stage and carried the show almost entirely by himself, vocally. He was sometimes accompanied by a troupe of over 40 dancers, and even showed us his moves once in a while! Although the AV, lighting & other theatrics on stage were impressive and appropriately excessive for the EDM theme, that many dancers often made the space seem crowded, especially when Anirudh’s megastar energy and voice was enough to fill the stage alone. 
Starting with Vedhalam’s “Veera Vinayaka” to open the show, Anirudh seamlessly transitioned through to his older hits from Maan Karate (striking the signature pose while he sang) and 3. Although the show’s songs were mostly separated by film the theme of the concert felt like Naanum Rowdy Thaan with almost the entire album being performed peppered throughout the night, much to my own delight (favorite Anirudh album to date!). As the second act began with Maari we were delighted with the entrance of Shakthishree Gopalan whose angelic voice executed a perfectly unique rendition of “Neeyum Naanum”. Ani then returned to his solo act with Vanakkam Chennai songs and the most energetic performance of “Why this Kolaveri Di?” that I’ve ever seen - live or online. 
The third act was all about high energy and getting everyone in the arena to their feet, which wasn’t difficult being that Anirudh and company so obviously saved the irresistible dance hits for the end - including “Selfie Pulla" and “Here Comes Maari". Then after dedicating a “Chennai City Gangster/Udhungada Sanga” mashup to Chennai and all those who assisted with relief efforts during the Chennai Floods of the past weeks Anirudh closed out the show with the infectious “Aaluma Doluma” while an arena full of Thala fans did the signature dance (yours truly included). 
As expected with Anirudh’s style of music the show itself was cutting edge, modern and high octane. Even the melodic renditions were remixed in some form to keep the show fast paced consistently throughout, which was cool but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see the genius composer pare things down with an unplugged section of just him on the keys and some of his better melodies. However, being that his aim was to bring something “never seen before in Toronto Tamil concerts” I must say that he achieved exactly that. 
I doubt that there is any other artist or composer who could have got my mother to wave a glow stick and yell “maariiiii!” along with the rest of Toronto’s hardcore Anirudh fans. 

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