What. A. Crazy. Weekend! It was that time of the year when lovers of music from all around the country make a beeline for Pune to immerse themselves in an experience like never before. The fifth edition of the multi-genre music festival, Vh1 Supersonic kicked off on 9 February 2018, continuing over the next two days. The festival line-up left the audience spoilt for choice. With stellar headliners, five stages, a major transformation of the main stage Sonic Realm, a new edition of Live arena stage, super flea, the festival was home to a diverse international music experience. It was all about music, thrill, excitement, good vibes, happy people, adrenaline kicks, art, cool interactive spaces, chill zones and all that jazz. Apart from a few glitches here and there (that’s bound to happen at any festival of this scale), it was really good; the Supercrew pulled it off and how!
Welcome to Day 1 of Vh1 Supersonic. Beautiful walkway, beautiful vibes…
On day one, the acts were explosive with names such as Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, Nucleya at the Sonic Realm, whereas English Indie band Alt-J, Donn Bhatt were slaying the Live arena stage. Nucleya who is known for bass heavy and wild live performances, upped the game this time around as he left the ever-lively crowd wanting for more. Major Lazer wowed the audience by a cliché move as they entered the stage with a popular Bollywood song Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai followed by Kar Gayi Chul and a few more Bollywood tracks. However, that was the trick to play the India connect and it worked.
P.S. On a personal note, I wouldn’t like to hear Choli Ke Peeche or Baby Doll or even Kar Gayi Chul by an International artist just for the ‘connect’. It’s silly.
I hated myself for missing out a lot of acts as I was pretty excited about Praveen Achary’s set at Spectrum by Awakenings, Sound Avtar’s set at Sonic Realm, also Nerm’s at Laboratoire. Though they were happening at the same time, I thought I would make it. Thanks much to Mumbai traffic. I ended up at the festival right after three of them finished their sets. Sigh! Apart from checking out the other highlighting acts like Parekh and Singh, Midival Punditz, I was mostly glued to the Spectrum stage. The Newcastle based producer Cristoph who has releases on Pryda Presents, Bedrock, Knee Deep in Sound among others, literally created a storm with his mysterious upbeat soundscapes. Next was the Delhi-based musician and Qilla Records bossman Madhav Shorey aka Kohra who blew me away, once again. I never get tired of his music and expertise. The closing act was Adana Twins, definitely the highlight of day one. They got us grooving over and out at Spectrum; we swayed to the hypnotic synths, shook our legs to the wacky duo. The first day of Vh1 Supersonic was indeed a massive hit. It helped me tick must-see artists from my bucket list, from renowned international artists to local gems, the first day of Supersonic had it all.
Brimming with good vibes on Day 2
While day one at Supersonic was nothing less than brilliant, I headed to the venue a little early because I didn’t want to miss my favourite acts. While Calm Chor and Minitech Project were slaying at the Spectrum on a Saturday afternoon, I enjoyed the breeze with a chilled beer at Laxmi Lawns. The crowd cheered One & One as they took on the Sonic Realm Stage followed by B.R.E.E.D. While Madboy Mink, The Ska Vengers, The Buttering Trio and Soulmate made their fans go wild at the Live Arena. Laboratoire witnessed some kickass performances by DJ Mocity, Johnny B, Grzly Adams, DJ Uri and Rynosax. Raja Kumari took the stage with her breakthrough single Mute along with City Slums, Meera, Believe In You and gave music lovers ample reasons to bounce and shake their leg. It was more of a therapeutic session as I immersed myself in a perfect mix of all things exciting and entertaining. After three months approx, Tuhin Mehta returned (He had a leg injury) to the decks along with Ash Roy for B2B sets at Spectrum, and, my friend, take my word, it was an absolute cracker! Two-hours of minimal trippy no-nonsense techno was as powerful as it could be. Last but not the least, the crowd went insane to Joseph Capriati’s signature songs like Basic Elements, Always Forever, and Enrico Sangiuliano’s massive techno beats. Period.
Fans were in for a treat as Marshmello made his way to the stage donning a teal and pink Mello helmet headlining the EDM side of things. Marshmello had the crowd leaping in the air throughout his performance. However, his performance had a marvellous turnover, it was funny as Marshmello’s opening act was just about similar to Major Lazer’s as both of them played Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai. Day two was both feet tapping and body grooving. Oh yes, I got that glittery face art too from the Super Flea.
On to the finale
While dance music dominated the scene on day three, Candice Redding and Zaeden didn’t wow me. When I entered the venue I went straight to the Spectrum stage where Vinayaka and Murthovic were playing a B2B set. Their two-hours hypotonic extended set was like some untold stories in a breezy, sunny afternoon. They pretty much set up an amazing vibe for the next acts featuring Browncoat, Truncate, Arjun Vagale and the killer Dax J. I couldn’t afford to miss the dream duo Paul Thomas and Aneesh Gera who were are firing up the Lab before sundown.
Love from the deepest corner of my heart to the whole Indian reggae family for 10,000 Lions Sound System at Lion’s den, it was a magical experience. Incredible sets by Oliver Smith, Jason Ross, Seven Lions and Anjunadeep legends Gabriel & Dresden. Oh, the B2B by Seven Lions and Jason too. I still can’t recover from Anjunadeep’s Oliver Smith set at Laboratoire. It was full of Trance Therapy and all we needed, except the main men of Above & Beyond, Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamäki were missed. Also, I witnessed something you won’t see every day as Gabriel and Dresden were learning to play the dhol!
It was a bliss to hear Plini featuring David Maxim Micic who took over the Live Arena to slay with impressive fretworks! 687 Days was absolutely brilliant. Special love for India’s freshest modern post-rock band Aswekeepsearching who went a notch higher on their debut at Supersonic. I was supposed to be at the Spectrum stage, but I snuck away for a few minutes to listen to AWKS because it’s downright criminal to miss an Aswekeepsearching gig when it’s literally next door. Even after two days of non-stop partying, fans turned up fresh and excited to witness the third day of Vh1 Supersonic 2018. I saw music lovers huddled near the stage, as Jamaican hip-hop icon Sean Paul and American Rock Band Incubus, and of course, Pentagram took day three on a different level with their power-packed acts.
I kept going back to the Spectrum stage as another heavyweight Dax J was about to take the stage. It was eight in the night, Dax J was closing the festival after two-hours of madness with a banging performance. It was fun to see how he was trying to pronounce the name Pune while saying ‘I love Pune.’ I instantly fell in love with him as I got to know that he loved chicken tikka tandoori. ROFL! Nevertheless, it was an absolute techno-takeover by Dax J with his ‘Dark, emotional, driving, and percussive’ techno. Words can’t describe this feeling, nothing can.
Last but not the least, the oasis at the festival were the bars. This is by far the most affordable festival bar I’ve ever encountered. During happy hours, the prices were actually lower than the MRP! Thank you, Nikhil Chinapa, Saugato Bhowmik, Sameet Sharma, the PR team, and everyone associated for the amazing memories, best production, seamless crowd management, security and of course the well-curated line-up. Kudos to the whole Supercrew for being spectacular as always. We’ve been through an incredible journey over the three days. Since its inception, I had been to the last three editions of Supersonic and can vouch for 2018 being the best one till date. On to the next one!