Tag Archives: Nikhil Chinappa
Sunburn Noida 2013 – Burning Bright, Burning Loud
Theres very little that happens in Delhi that gets the population of the nations capital all worked up, unless its Sunburn. The festival debuted last year in the city (or in its vicinity at least) with a lineup that would make pretty much anyone who is even remotely into electronic music salivate. So obviously, the expectations with this years Sunburn were high.
This years lineup comprised of three artists less than last year, but the star power was equally matched. While last years festival had Afrojack as the headliner, this year, Delhi got TWO (technically three) major headliners – Dash Berlin and Nervo, and thats where the proverb too much of a good thing would fit in! There was an uproar on the event page, with fans being upset over having to choose between the legendary Dash Berlin and the models-turned-musicians-turned-DJ twins Nervo. I dont blame them (youll find out why soon enough).
The event started fashionably late. It was supposed to start at 2 p.m., but the doors (and the DJ set) opened at 4 p.m. We were told that there was an hour long delay. My math has never been too good, I was always a calculus person. Turns out the delay had resulted in the indigenous acts having their play-time cut short, so that the international artists could have their moments of glory. A wise move perhaps, considering the fact that the fans would have been upset had ANY of the international acts performed for a lesser duration.
The opening sets were alright, sticking to a generally lower tempo to warm up the crowd, and while the crowd of whatever age trickled in, what became evident almost instantly was the absence of Nikhil Chinappa and Pearl. Things really started to pick up when the two stages were taken over by Rank 1 and Indias own Sehaj Bakshi, better known as Dualist Inquiry. The venue, despite the expansive campus of Galgotia University didnt provide enough separation between the two stages and I came across this one sweet spot where you could hear the music from both stages mix together rather well. This spot was the entire bar area, conveniently placed closer to Stage 2 (I really dont want to use the name Space Jungle as that is just absolutely ridiculous a name). Stage 1 was taken over by Rank 1 and this is where things got really interesting. Dualist Inquiry has been playing the same tunes for the last year or so and there is very little thats actually new to his sound. Rank 1 on the other hand consistently dished out one hard hitting bass line after another, keeping his set incredibly jumpy, switching it up between Techno and Hard bass at occasions.
The next two artists to take the respective stages, didnt really do much to change the pace of things as the crowd was still warming up to what was about to hit them next – Shogun on Stage 1 and Porter Robinson on Stage 2. Shogun is no stranger to a massive fan following, while Porter Robinson is mostly someone who the hardcore enthusiasts would be familiar with. That did not stop the duo from pretty much leveling the place. Shogun kept his set more trance-heavy, employing tunes wrapped in more synth work than anything else. There was a point during Porter Robinson’s set where he was tossing out Dark Psy tunes like they were Halloween candy, and the crowd was eating it like it was cake! This was the first time in my life that I had seen the secondary stage at an event be more popular than the primary one. The only singular disappointment with Porter Robinsons set was the fact that he didnt play ‘Language.’
Shogun and Porter Robinson gave way to the two headliners, Dash Berlin and Nervo. Choosing a stage must have been a hard decision for most people but not for me! While I thoroughly enjoy Dash Berlins live sets, there is something absolutely different about Nervo. Twins Miriam and Olivia Nervo, are of Austrailian descent who started their careers as professional models and then got into music as song writers and composers, but felt that their true calling was working the crowd into a frenzy with their skills on the console. Nervos sound, in my opinion is best described as a very symmetric and brutal sound, with overtones of their love for bass. Im pretty sure new bass-lines were created that night!
The crowd swelled up at a rate faster than a mall during a Zara sale and it was hard to find someone not going ape shit at what the twins were throwing at them. Fans had showed up with signs expressing their love for the duo, and surely enough, the love was mutual. The Nervo twins made sure to step away from the console every now and then (one at a time of course) to engage with the crowd, with Miriam Nervo being particularly expressive about how moved she was with the crowd. She later went on to grab one of the smoke guns and blow it over the crowd, which, seemed to really work for her. The Nervo Twins music routine is incredibly fluid, with the two switching duties seamlessly and in fact, their stage presence seemed to suggest that they had undergone training as Jager pilots, with synchronized dance moves and gestures. But wait, were in India, so Im inclined to say it was more Bollywood.
While it was hard, I had to step away from Stage 2 and move over to Dash Berlins set, where the vibe was different altogether. I walked into the set, to find the man himself standing on top of the giant speaker stack, waving his hands fervently to get the crowd into a feverish frenzy. It was working, as I sighted many fans who had Dash Berlin shirts on, take them off and spin them around in the air like fans. Moving on, the headliner dished out all his popular tunes over the hour and a half that he was on console duties. Accompanied by an incredibly elaborate lighting rig that totally rendered hallucinogens useless, Dash Berlin played an incredibly satisfying set, probably even for someone who isnt really that big a fan. His sound is heavily reminiscent of the early Euro-Trance days, something I am not too particularly fond of, but I can appreciate the brilliance of his skill. He is one of the very few artists today who can make a crowd go wild with anything from a vinyl deck to the latest CDJs.
Overall, Sunburn Noida wasnt as spectacular as the previous Sunburn, but that isnt to say it wasnt good. In fact, it was GREAT! It was the one place where anyone and everyone could come and chill in the vibe of good music. You didnt have to be an EDM Nerd or a veteran to enjoy what the festival had to offer, and most people left such biases at home. There was no look at these people who dont even know what EDM is all about. It was love, it was acceptance, it was DANCE!
Parikramas Memorable Performance Inaugurates the new Turqoise Cottage in Delhi
Turqoise Cottage, the bastion of Rock music in the Capital, is one place that has embodied the dingy garage, the dark and amp basement and any other characteristic a venue can be obliged with. From the main venue in Adhchini that went through its fair share of ups and downs to the somewhat forgotten Vasant Vihar address, TC now has now moved to another new location.
August 22nd saw the brand open doors to another new venue in the city, this time one in a locality that is the hallmark of everything upscale. Sakets DLF Place Mall added TC as a new resident and while the venue isnt actually inside the main building of the mall, it lies on the outskirts, somewhat away from the manic window shoppers and incessant chatterboxes. Pulling up to the venue feels posh. There is a typical dais for an attendant who would open doors when an expensive car rolls through. The dais also plays host to the esteemed guest list for the opening night, one which was incredibly exclusive, not just because of the open bar night, but also because Parikrama was going to be the band to play live at the venue.
An invite-only event generally sees the whos-who of the socialite crowd trickle in, but the venue, which has a heritage of being the rockers haven, turned into an upscale lounge for the kitsch and the posh. Moving past the men in clean cut suits and the ladies in elegant dresses, right by the stage was a scene familiar to anyone who loves Rock, or Parikrama, or TC; the typical music lover. Turquoise Cottage has given way to most of its wooden interiors in favour of more concrete, as a symbolism to the strong roots TC now has, and saw well over 400 people attend the opening night. Some of the well-known names from the Music and Entertainment industries who came to relive the TC Nostalgia were Nikhil Chinapa and Hermit Sethi of Submerge, designers Nitin Bal Chauhan, Raul Chandra (Festival Director The Holi Cow festival) and Nida Mahmood, IP Singh and Randeep Singh of MenWhoPause, Nikhil Alva of Miditech, Escape Festival Director Lalrinawma Tochhawang amongst others.
However, once Parikrama took the stage, all names, social statures and elegance went out the sole window of the venue as everyone joined in to not just sway and groove, but also head bang and engage in the joy and frolic brought forth by being part of a moshpit. Nitin Maliks incredible vocals and quip kept the crowd enthralled, although it was Imran Khans (not the actor and you should bloody well know this by now!) cameos often resulted in screams so loud that they set a new aspirational standard for Nitin himself.
While the venues sound system still needs a little more burning in, and the concrete walls give it a nice cellar like feel (in line with their dingy basement stereotype), Turquoise Cottages new venue continues to carry forward the essence of what it means to be a rock and rollers venue.
#uXX, Indias First Under-20 EDM Experience launched
Oranjuice Entertainment and Barker Productions will be creating India’s first ever Under-20 dance music experience. Programmed by Submerge, #uXX is providing India’s next generation of music fans with an unprecedented opportunity: a series of concerts that’s ONLY for those who are 20 years old and younger.
The primary focus of #uXX is on giving young Indian electronic music fans access to young and upcoming talent from around the world – talent that is delivering fresh sounds. What makes #uXX different is that it will provide the platform to ensure that these young fans play an integral role in making these experiences come alive.
#uXX will give passionate young fans a chance to help create, produce, and execute a series of EDM shows. Fans will work hand-in-hand with the #uXX team to learn just how they put together world-class music experiences.
Rohit Barker, Director, Barker Productions says: I’ve been traveling across India as a radio presenter and a DJ for years now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met young people who have amazed me with their enthusiasm for and knowledge of electronic music. These fans have always had so much energy, but no place to share it because they were too young to go clubbing. I’ve seen so many tweets, I know how much the next generation loves its music. #uXX is the place where they can share all that energy and be as involved as they want to be.
Owen Roncon, Director, Oranjuice Entertainment says: “Oranjuice Entertainment pioneered the Electronic Dance Music movement in India. We produced the first set of concerts in 2002 and the first EDM festival in 2003. We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the EDM scene and we’re very excited to be involved in what we think is the next big thing in EDM for young Indian fans. We’re keen to have them involved with the music in every way possible not just by being the audience; but by being more integral to the creation of the experience. Thats the spirit of #uXX.”
Nikhil Chinapa, Director, Submerge says: “I’m thrilled that Submerge is helping our young fans channel their passion to bring about a revolution in the dance music scene. #uXX is a show for the next generation, by the next generation.
Together, Oranjuice Entertainment, Barker Productions and Submerge are keen to see the next generation of EDM fans be purview to something that is fresh and entertaining; the aim of this collaboration is to take Indias next generation of EDM fans right to the heart of the electronic music industry.
Tiesto Sunburn Tour at Bharatiya City,Bangalore
The air was rife with anticipation in Sunburn Arena, Bangalore on 30th March . Over 10,000 people had made the trek to Bharatiya City, which is fast becoming the venue of choice for headline concerts. The crowd watched as the sun set behind the gigantic Sunburn stage, grooving to the very commercial mixes ofl ocal heroes Rohit Barker and Nikhil Chinappa. The mood was set and it was time for magic.
Having dropped the DJ prefix in 2009 with the launch of Kaleidoscope, Tiesto is the Batman of Electronic dance music. Ranked near the top for most of the DJ Mag polls, he has a Grammy nomination under his belt for Elements of Life. Tiesto also holds the crown for being the first and only DJ to play at an Olympic Games opening. His radio show, YouTube series and iPhone app just goes to show the investment that has gone into brand Tiesto and all with good reason.
Famous for his early trance sets, Tiesto now specializes in electro and progressive house – exactly what he delivered to a crowd intoxicated with the nostalgia that a decade long career brings. Stunning visuals and moments of pure joy with wonder tracks Maximal Crazy, Sweet Nothing and Adagio for Strings glossed over what was a very choppy set that just about met expectations.
Opening with the very low key Chasing Summers, Tiesto never gave the crowd an opportunity to release that pent up energy of anticipation. It was melodic and foot-tap worthy, but with no real bite. We Own The Night however more than made up for it. This Tiesto and Wolfgang Gartner collaboration saw the crowd erupt with such vigor, singing word for word and aided by the lyrics flashing on screen. It might have been slightly delayed, but the night was alive.
A mix of the Afrojack track Cannot Stop Me Now and Tiesto’s very own Hell Yeah were very forgettable fillers in this two hour set. Just when things got great they would fall back down to ordinary – something that was very evident throughout the night.
What bothered me most was that his set lacked continuity. The tracks all seemed choppy, with little or no overlap. You know that sensation when you don’t know when one track starts and another ends? Yes, it was completely missing.
To his credit, Tiesto went with the tried and tested – tracks that have won hearts from Rio to Miami and feature regularly in all of his live performances. Mixes of I Love It and Clarity registered very well with the crowd, the up-tempo beats and heavy bass lines had the crowd on their feet. Tiesto was struggling to keep the crowd engaged, but it was perfect every time he got it right.
And it only got better. Unleashing Sweet Nothing to an expectant crowd, he had boys and girls busting their moves to every bass drop. Being one of my all time favorite tracks, I absolutely loved what he did with it live – the perfect scratch-beat switching was complimenting the melodic beat like peanut butter jelly on toast.
He followed this up with another sing-along blockbuster, his very own Love Comes Again and the in-your-face, high tempo Feel the Dada by Dada Life – the crowd was sold. Time flew by as the crowd took flight to every beat. What stood out most was the perfect loop on every beat change in Feel the Dada, so much could have gone wrong but didn’t.
Spaceman (Carnage Festival Trap Remix) by Hardwell was my find of the night. With a timid buildup leading to a beat that can only be described as beastly, this particular remix had a very Gangster Rap sound to it. And that release! Half way into the track Tiesto drops the tempo completely, the enchantment breaksand you get a moment to reflect on just how amazing life is. In a few seconds you’re taken back on that robo-beat rollercoaster and feel like you never left.
Tiesto’s mix of Adagio for Strings however, was a very big disappointment. One of his headline tracks from the Trance days, he drove this melodic low tempo legendary tune into the ground by throwing out heavy bass lines that didn’t belong. It seemed like a desperate attempt at staying relevant. We know he won’t ever go back to Trance, but chopping down this track damped a lot of good memories.
One place he didn’t experiment too much, and thank god for that, was his epic mash up of Every Tear Drop by Coldplay mixed with his prodigal track Maximal Crazy. This was the highlight of the night, something the crowd will not be forgetting anytime soon. The anthem-like lyrics, the beastly tune, the high tempo build up and that rock hard bass drop- this track had everything.
The CO2 dispensers, the confetti and the stunning, coordinated lasers all made that bass drop so much more legendary. Just the memory of it puts a smile on my face. What a night!
There were another ten minutes left on the clock, but most people started making their way out to avoid the traffic. They knew he couldn’t outdo Maximal Crazy and you can’t blame them for not wanting to spoil the aftertaste.
No longer searching for sunrise, Tiesto is now closer to his sell-by date than his prime. But as Bangalore witnessed on that hot Saturday evening, he still has a lot more to offer his crowds than just cold nostalgia. So as we all hiked towards the parking lot, intoxicated with the experience and congratulating ourselves on being there, we will tell everyone we meet that the night went Like This, Like That, Like This, Like That super Maximal Crazy!
Metallica at Palace Grounds,Bangalore
It took them 30 years to reach the Indian subcontinent. Most of the people attending the show were not even as old as the wait. The most successful and the most popular heavy metal band of all time, Metallica was going to make its debut on Indian soil on the 28th of October 2011. When the D-day arrived, it wasn’t without its share of hiccups. The much-awaited Gurgaon show was cancelled at the last minute which resulted in a massive riot at the venue, the damage of expensive equipment and most importantly, the disappointment of thousands of fans who hoped to catch a glimpse of their favourite band.
Yet, fans from Bangalore were desperately hoping that there wouldn’t be a similar turn of events in their city. Here was this near-impossible opportunity to watch the band that has influenced so many hard-rock and metal acts in the past 20 years, live. The flood of tweets and status messages prior to the show only reinforced the already hard-to-contain anticipation.
30th of October, 2011 shall go down in history as the day Metallica tore Palace Grounds apart with their first ever show in India. After the Black Friday in Gurgaon, the threat of the concert being cancelled in Bangalore loomed large but thankfully, the stars aligned and the Gods obliged – the stage was set for one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time.
I did my bit by patiently standing in queue for about forty minutes before realizing there was a separate, significantly less-crowded entrance for media! Once in, the show kicked off earlier than expected. Bangalore’s very own Inner Sanctum kicked off proceedings with ‘Human Disregard’ off their debut EP Provenance. The sizeable crowd inside the venue was matched in number by scores of black-tee-clad-people who were patiently waiting outside in queue to enter the concert area. I stood close to the stage and could feel the thump of the bass drum on the side of my face. Sanctum was THAT loud. Their new song ‘Guardian’ followed the concert-staple ‘Agent of Chaos’ as Sanctum ended their abridged set with vocalist Gaurav throwing t-shirts into the crowd. The new-look Sanctum (Suraj on guitars is relatively new and Narayan was filling in for Michael on bass) had yet again raised the bar for Indian metal bands with their combination of technical skill and energy on stage.
There was a steady stream of people trickling in as Nikhil Chinappa dressed in a faux-rock outfit, appeared on stage to introduce the next opening act – Guillotine. He was warmly greeted with a sea of middle-fingers and “f**k you” chants! Since they also hail from Delhi, it prompted a tongue-in-cheek “Delhi Sucks” chorus from the audience, the Gurgaon no-show still fresh in memory. Sadly, Guillotine sounded very flat on the day. Their own-comps were a pointless mish-mash of many genres and to add to the band’s misery, guitarist Takar broke a string during a song. Inevitable FTN comparisons were made as the patient crowd could only muster a lukewarm applause when the band finally finished their set.
Once Guillotine wrapped up, the concert crew set to work on readying the stage for the international bands to perform. Scottish alt-rock act Biffy Clyro‘s soundcheck took almost an hour to complete as the crowd stood expectantly in the pouring rain. It was getting increasingly difficult to stand or walk about at the venue owing to the annoying slush. I wasn’t sure what to expect when Biffy finally appeared on stage. The three-piece band hailing from Kilmanrock did have a unique sound but it wasn’t something that would whet one’s appetite for some Metallica. Most of their songs bordered on emo-ish indie rock although they did have some riff-y moments. Admittedly, I phased out for most of Biffy’s set, choosing instead to loudly crack Metallica PJ’s much to the annoyance of everyone around me. At this juncture everybody was on tenterhooks, eagerly awaiting Metallica’s appearance on stage. The slightest hint of sound emanating from the stage during the subsequent sound check- a stray guitar clang, a low-end bass note or a snare hit were all cheered excitedly by the hungry crowd. Fans even took to singing along with the recorded music that blared through the PA system. The rain had subsided and much to everyone’s annoyance a roadie was giving the patient crowd lessons on safety. But at roughly ten minutes past eight, a thousand hearts unanimously skipped a beat.
The LED screens to the right of the massive stage played a clip from the iconic western – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly whilst Ennio Morricone’s ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ played out in the background. And then…the epic intro riff to ‘Creeping Death’. That was it. The crowd got their first glimpse of their heroes and went absolutely berserk. This was the moment everyone had waited for. Hell, up until the day of the show there was a certain apprehension as to whether the Bangalore gig would even happen. Even during the opening bands’ performances we were informed that the show would only happen if all the safety arrangements were in place. All the apprehension and uneasiness was lifted off our shoulders in an instant as we saw and heard Metallica. Live for the first time in India!
They carried forward the energy of ‘Creeping Death’ into ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. A good chunk of the elated crowd sang along to the chorus and chanted “Die! Die! Die!” with fists raised in the air. Astonishingly, Hetfield’s vocals sounded exactly like the studio versions of the songs. The last few bars of ‘For Whom…‘ gave way to ‘Fuel’ and I’m certain that a few heads exploded thanks to the sheer awesomeness of the moment. The pyrotechnics on stage lit up just as the “Gimme Fuel Gimme Fire” lyrics were heard. People around me were flashing texts on their phones with the probable setlist and were trying to second-guess the next song. Hetfield then asked the crowd if they liked the vintage stuff just as the ‘Ride the Lightning’ opening riff drowned out the crowd’s cheers. The live version managed to capture the sense of maddening paranoia of the studio version even though the tempo seemed a tad slowed down. Lars Ulrich and Rob Trujillo provided the solid rhythm section to Hetfield’s riffing and Hammett’s solos. Hammett teased the crowd with a solo that was the lead-in to ‘Fade to Black’. Hetfield, with only his silhouette seen against the backdrop of the giant LED stood on the upper tier of the stage while the rest of the band thrashed it out below. They then played ‘Cyanide’ from their latest album Death Magnetic (after Hetfield asked the crowd for permission to do so!) before playing the iconic ‘Memory Remains’. You would be hard-pressed to find an audience in the world who would sing the outro for a minute after the song was over but Bangalore did just that. Hetfield and Co. stood at the precipice of the stage and just soaked it all in, conducting everyone to keep it going. 40,000 fans sang in unison even after the music had stopped. The moment cannot possibly be described in words, the closest description I can come up with – perfect.
Metallica’s newer work has been criticized in some circles but when played live it is a different beast altogether. The eight minute epic ‘All Nightmare Long’, one of their heaviest tracks to date, was played with ease. It didn’t escape my attention that most people weren’t too familiar with the newer tracks and chose to record the spectacle on their phone cameras instead. Helicopter and airplane dubs playing over the PA meant only one thing- the anti-war song (and my personal favourite) ‘One’. My trance-like state was mildly disturbed when everyone around me jumped up and down, devil’s horns held up in the air. ‘Master of Puppets’. That genius, Hetfield even did the evil laugh in the song much to everyone’s delight. People had travelled from far-flung corners of the country to witness this event and it lived up to all of their expectations and more. People clutched their foreheads in disbelief at what they were witnessing. Hetfield, clearly overwhelmed at the fantastic response thanked the audience before launching into ‘Blackened’ after which the lights dimmed for ‘Nothing Else Matters’. Words cannot do justice to how powerful their performance of this anthem was. It might sound repetitive when I mention 40,000 people singing in unison, but I can’t word it differently – it was precisely that! They closed their unbelievably good setlist with ‘Enter Sandman’. Scores of already-hoarse, nostalgic teens and young adults headbanged as fireworks went off above the stage. The stage was obscured by a sea of devil’s horns and whiplashing necks. This was as good as any climax can get.
Metallica reappeared on stage for their encore and began with a cover of Diamond Head’s ‘Am i Evil’ (Did anyone spot the intro riff to ‘Frayed Ends of Sanity’ just before it?) The pummeling riffs of ‘Battery’ soon followed. For a band that has been around for 30 years there was absolutely no dip in the energy level. Every song was a tour de force that had a vibe that united everyone present there – they were a part of something special. They ended their set with ‘Seek and Destroy’ from their debut album Kill ’em All. The band members individually thanked the people present and Ulrich promised to come back to India for a gig in the future. Plectrums were generously flung into the crowd and so were drumsticks. Heck, even a policeman managed to get one!
While walking out of the packed venue, I heard a few people complain about Hammett flubbing a couple of solos and about the band not being as tight as they should have. Complaints about the organization and the security at the venue also echoed. But the concert had a greater significance in the grand scheme of things for such glitches to matter. For years now, there have been several untrue rumours about the possibility of Metallica touring India and when it finally happened it left an indelible mark on the metal fans of the country who had waited twenty long years (or more) for this opportunity. All the hype surrounding the event was justified as Metallica brought along a killer setlist and oodles of energy and badass-ness to Bangalore. If a future tour does indeed happen, splendid! If it doesn’t, the memory remains.