Bangalore, of late, has been getting bombarded with a slew of international musicians starting from Swedish House Mafia and Zedd to DJ Tiesto and TATW. If you think of it, there have been so many international artists that keeping track of it has become a gargantuan task. Every artist has left an impact on all of us in some way or the other and this continuous pampering of our senses has turned us Bangaloreans into a greedy lot. To satiate our continuous need for world class performances, DNA Networks brought to us the second edition of Sound Awake, only this time it was bigger and better!
The second edition of Sound Awake was held on the 1st of December at the Supernova Arena & Convention Center, Yelahanka where the first edition had also taken place. The format of the event was more or less the same this time as well, but the twist to the show was the massive 150 ft long stage which was essentially a dynamic multi-stage format where we would get to experience 3 stages all together in the same space and direction.
Having reached there on time, I was quite surprised to find a-not-so-teeming crowd loitering around (maybe it was the heat). The food and the alcohol counters were in full swing, serving the hungry and the thirsty while Doctor A & DJ Siddharth played popular house numbers to keep the crowd entertained. The Goa themed flea market had artisans and merchants who were selling merchandise exclusively from Goa, which saw quite a number of people throng the different stalls and make their purchase before the start of the big party!
Around 2 pm, the first big name of the day Dutch DJ Patrick Hagenaar the key resident of Ministry of Sound global tours took to the stage, which was named after the EDM house. As I rushed to there to secure a cosy spot right infront, I realized I was one of the few people who had actually made an attempt to go close to the stage. Maybe people were oblivious about the fact that some of the biggest names in the EDM genre were going to play that evening. Nonetheless, the small crowd started dancing to Hagenaars (who was wearing a cheeky t-shirt which said I am Patrick Hagenaar. We are Colour Code.) electronic hi-octane dance tunes which mainly consisted of instrumental Dutch house tunes.
After he got the crowd moving, Shane Patrick took over by which time, a generous number of people had gathered in front of the Ministry of Sound stage and the Bangalore skies had turned a bluish grey. His rendition of the popular Fatboy Slim song ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat‘ got more people near the stage. The visuals that accompanied his tracks started getting more and more stark which was a treat for all the party goers. His remixes of popular tracks Like Icona Pops ‘I Dont Care‘, Zedds ‘Clarity‘, Lana Del Reys ‘Summertime Sadness‘ (which happened to be my personal favourite because of the tempo and the surprisingly different distorted backing track) and Daft Punks ‘Get Lucky‘ were real crowd pullers.
He took a bow making way for the Hedkandi heroes to take the center stage.The crowd quickly moved leftwards and gathered in front of the Hedkandi stage.All 3 artists namely Carl Hannaghan, Nathan Cozzetto & Dean Oram came onstage and would stay there till the end of the whole Hedkandi act. First up was 25 year old DJ Carl Hannaghan who started with a hard hitting electronica piece. Dean Oram a.k.a Drum Warrior accompanied his track with his electronic percussion thus adding a tribal touch to the track. ‘Youve got the love‘ by Florence and the Machine and ‘Sweet Dreams‘ were the popular tracks from Hannaghans set, to which Oram lent his tribal percussion dash. The crowd responded positively to all the tracks he churned out!
After almost an hour of what can be called an energetic performance Nathan Cozzetto took over the console.He played a fast electronic remix of Coldplays ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall‘, which got all of us to jump and jive. Dean Oram added an exciting angle to the song with his percussions. Cozzetto entertained the crowd with a lot of mashups of lesser known house tracks, while Dean Oram kept entertaining us with his stage antics while wearing a red Indian feather headgear and a body suit adorned with LED lights. Oram did not accompany Cozzetto with his percussions beyond the first few songs of his set, after which Cozzetto started playing tracks which had varying bpms and sick bass drops. His set ended around 6.30 in the evening, and a heavy accolade from an odd 400 people followed.
Jacob Plant took over the massive stage almost immediately, keeping the crowd energy levels at their peak. His fast paced ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat‘ got a better response from the crowd than Shane Patricks. His progressive house track ‘Fire‘ got me dancing, even though I was near the artist lounge waiting to meet SoundAwakes headliner (guess guess)! The bass heavy track had pulsating beats on the first and second count with swaying beats on the third and fourth and later transformed into a full beat song! The technical prowess shown by this 22 year old in his other instrumental tracks of the evening was nothing short of spectacular. No wonder he has been dubbed as the new Wonder Kid of the electro scene apart from having a forthcoming EP out on Dim Mak Records.
After an hour of heavy set electronic tunes and stark graphics, it was Rocco Rampino better known as Congorocks turn to make the crowd dance to his tunes. By then a slight drizzle had started, ready to mar the crowds spirits, but that had no apparent effect on any of them, as they continued dancing to the electro dance punk music of Congorock. His set mainly consisted of dance punk and dubstep which had a lot of complicated layering done thus lending a very interesting multi-dimensional effect to his tracks. He played a very heavy dubstep version of the club hit ‘Satisfaction’ which resulted in a positive uproar from the booming crowd. The other popular tracks from his set were ‘Babylon‘ and ‘Runark‘. After one hour of heavy dubstep and electronic dance punk, crazy visuals and a dense drizzle, he exited the stage following a heavy accolade from all of us!
Seconds after his exit, the ginormous stage was shrouded in darkness, and we could feel the tension building in the crowd which had multiplied by a manifold. A robotic voice boomed ARE YOU READY FOR AOKI? and the uproar that followed was almost deafening. People were screaming on top of their voices which was quite a crazy sight! The robotic voice now spelled out A-O-KI and continued repeating his name while the tempo got faster and faster with every second and with an imminent gush of fire and a blast the most awaited artist of the evening, DJ Steve Aoki entered the stage. With a Namaste Bangalore and an adrenaline pumped track he started his set – a perfect start! He kept his tracks short and made no haste in moving to the next one. With a varied range of electronic dance numbers to his name, our expectations from his DJ set were quite high, and boy did he not disappoint! The visuals that accompanied his songs were eclectic and stunning to say the least and the fact that it spread out from end to end on the 150ft stage made the effect even more powerful.
‘Boneless‘ from his new album Neon Future was a massive hit with the crowd and thats when he went for his classic cake throw which drove the crowd mad. Confetti burst out in the sky, hands went up in the air, screams and accolades filled the night sky and we knew that the biggest party of the year had arrived. With tracks like ‘Afro-ki‘ by Afrojack and Steve Aoki, ‘Who‘ by Tujamo & Plastic Funk and ‘Turbulence‘ he kept all of us on our feet. By the middle of his set, the confetti was replaced with fireworks, the visuals became starker, inflated boats were thrown at the crowd driving them crazier. Cakes were thrown by Kid Millionaire almost every 15 minutes, and the crowd didn’t protest. The visuals accompanying his tracks got wilder by the minute. The second half of his set consisted of songs like ‘Pursuit of Happiness‘, ‘Warp 1.9‘, ‘A Light That Never Comes‘ by Linkin Park & Aoki which had a transcript by Chester Bennington at the beginning which lent a very humane touch to the song. The one thing that was consistent throughout the one and a half hour long DJ set was the energy level which did not wane even for a second. The last few songs of his set were from his new album Neon Future and the concluding song was ‘Aokijump’ which quite literally had the crowd jumping!
The Steve Aoki party officially ended at 10 pm, leaving the audience wanting for more and thus to end the party in style Bangalore DJs Ajit Pai & Ivan took over. Playing popular house numbers kept a section of the crowd dancing, although quite a number of people had already started to leave. The party fever was still in the air and what had transpired that evening became a topic of buzz for everyone present at the venue. The smiles got wider and the experience overly satiating, to say the least, and we walked out of the venue thinking to ourselves What a hell of a party that was!