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SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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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!

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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.

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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!

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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 Hagenaar’s (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.

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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 Pop’s ‘I Don’t Care‘, Zedd’s ‘Clarity‘, Lana Del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness‘ (which happened to be my personal favourite because of the tempo and the surprisingly different distorted backing track) and Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky‘ were real crowd pullers.

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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. ‘You’ve got the love‘ by Florence and the Machine and ‘Sweet Dreams‘ were the popular tracks from Hannaghan’s set, to which Oram lent his tribal percussion dash. The crowd responded positively to all the tracks he churned out!

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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 Coldplay’s ‘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.

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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 Patrick’s. His progressive house track ‘Fire‘ got me dancing, even though I was near the artist lounge waiting to meet SoundAwake’s 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.

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

After an hour of heavy set electronic tunes and stark graphics, it was Rocco Rampino better known as Congorock’s turn to make the crowd dance to his tunes. By then a slight drizzle had started, ready to mar the crowd’s 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!

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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.

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

Boneless‘ from his new album Neon Future was a massive hit with the crowd and that’s 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!

SoundAwake 2.0: Re-living EDM

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!”

Debarati Sanyal

Debarati is a freelance photographer based in Bangalore and for the past one year has been actively documenting the music scene. When not shooting gigs, she can be found in front of a computer working on graphics and writing. Or maybe you can find her at one of the watering holes chugging beer!

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Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

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We all have been to at least one terrible NYE party – one you knew was going to be horrible but your parents dragged you there anyway. And once you got there, you knew from the very first second why you didn’t want to go. E Zone on the 5th of May was exactly like that. You couldn’t put your finger on what was wrong – because there was so much that wasn’t right at what should have been an evening of celebration. However, it lasted only until Fatboy Slim came onstage.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

The sun was out with its scorching heat. There were hardly any people at the surprisingly spacious venue and it didn’t look like many more would turn up. The music was very passive and impersonal – a score to a family picnic; the crowds reacted quite poorly to some good sets by both Tuhin Mehta and DJ Ivan.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

But all that changed at 7.45 p.m. when Ivan chopped out Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’. What I witnessed then was nothing short of miraculous. Was it the lost-now-found upbeat tempo? Or maybe it was the booze kicking in, accompanied by the realization that Fatboy Slim was going to be on in fifteen minutes? Either way – the crowd exploded and, as hundreds moved in unison, the party finally came to life.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

Norman Quentin Cook, loved and adored world-wide under his stage name – Fatboy Slim, is regarded by most as the Godfather of commercial EDM as we know it. The British legend who gave us ‘The Rockafeller Skank’, ‘Weapon of Choice’, ‘Star 69’ and a whole host of dance numbers brought out the Bangalore party animals to E Zone in such numbers that night. He hasn’t released an album since Palookaville (2004) but with so many unforgettable tunes on his CV, Fatboy Slim is a name that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

Waving his arms, he walked onto the stage to roars from the crowd. His reception was worthy of a man who holds a star on Brighton’s Walk of Fame, right next to that of Winston Churchill. Dressed to chill in a colorful shirt-and-shorts combination; his attire and demeanor showed how much at home he felt.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

Kicking off his set with a short from ‘Star 69′, he got into the crowd’s head using three simple words on loop – ‘What The F@%$’. Everyone at E Zone that night felt the eventual explosion coming, and geared themselves to completely let go. What followed next was sheer blissful madness. Norman jumped in the air, perfectly in sync with the beats kicking in – and the crowd crashed against the barrier, moving as one gigantic being.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

The first few songs were all high tempo club hits from the recent past; you could see that Norman had done his homework. He knew what his audience would love most. Singing along to ‘Clubs’ and then ‘Who is Ready to Jump’, Norman then took the energy levels through the roof with his signature dance step – the fist pump. Introducing lyrics from ‘Put Your Hands Up In The Air’ to complement his very scratchy yet funky mix, the crowd followed suit imitating him move for move.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

Mixing it up really well, he then dropped the bass altogether as he slowly faded in ‘Where’s Your Head At?” another sing-along tune that had the crowd at his mercy – eyes shut, heads tilted back and screaming into the night sky. Some more high tempo tunes followed suit with ‘Let the Bass Kick’ and ‘Let’s get This Thing Started’, but one of the highlights of the night was his almost gothic fade out on ‘Up’ while spinning in ‘Right Here, Right Now’– a Fatboy Slim anthem. As the crowd chanted along, he looped these famous words over a symphony devoid of any beats, tunes and bass – and as the words resonated over space and time, you knew you had witnessed something special.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

Keeping true to his Hip Hop roots from his early days as DJ Quentox at Brighton, Norman took the crowd to funky town with an absolutely legendary track in ‘California Love’. It was that WOW moment that differentiates a good gig from a great gig. The crowd was more than eager to take a break from shuffling, and put on their hoodies to go all out ‘Gangstah’. The ‘Diego to the Bay’ loop breaking into ‘Get Naked’ was seamless and well mastered to the point that no one realized the track had changed.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

Midway through his set, the 3D laser kicked in – green and red lights that moved beautifully with his mix of ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me’, putting the crowd into a trance-like state. He barely touched the deck for this number, sharing the out-of-body experience with his audience.

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

From the tuned-up, pacey ‘Rave N’ Roll’ to the slow and smooth funky electro of ‘Rockin’ High’, Norman demonstrated maturity by controlling the tempo throughout the night, building it up for a great finish. He caught the crowd off guard by mixing in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to open one of his all-time famous numbers in ‘Sunset’. We loved him for this; he’d figured us out perfectly. We love our singalongs even in the middle of an EDM beat-fest!

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

Keeping up with the singalong mixes; ‘I’m Coming Home’ gave way to what was to be the end of a fabulous night – back-to-back Fatboy Slim legends in ‘Praise You’ and ‘Star 69′, with a fade out to ‘TheRockefeller Skank’. The crowd howled their appreciation for a man, a legend, who had for the first time ever brought down his one-of-a-kind EDM style to this country. 

Cooking up a Dance Storm: Fatboy Slim at E Zone, Bangalore

TLDR? It was a night of private ecstasy where true Fatboy Slim fans turned up in respectable numbers to revel in the glory of his trademark sound. Edgy fade-ins giving way to legendary tracks had the crowd thumping to the heavy basslines and moving wildly to high-tempo singalongs. A blast from the past, Norman had these party people hypnotized. They wouldn’t stop moving till long after the curtains were drawn on a night we’d never forget. 

We’ve come a long way baby, but we’re still Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars!

 

Akash Kaul

Akash is an Investment Banker by day, and a video game junkie by night. He enjoys reading, writing sappy love songs and discovering new music. Follow him @defysky

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