• Fri, May 24, 2024

Live Music Arena Review: VH1 Supersonic Puts Money Where Its Mouth Is

gig Reviews Mar 01, 07:36pm

Changing your identity to a multi-genre festival is never a cake-walk, but the execution and the turnout suggest Supersonic enjoyed a successful start to the new chapter.
 Photo Courtesy: vh1 supersonic

It was not the first time that a major music festival recreated its identity to accomodate more sounds and fanbases to its record. Similar to NH7 Weekender, VH1 Supersonic not only added a couple of extra stages to its venue, but also the effort of transforming its image into an 'inclusive' festival. Usually, globally, such efforts arrive with a risk; the risk of losing your traditional fanbase. That problem ceased to exist in Indian live music ecosystem, fortunately or unfortunately. 


As first time curators of multi-genre line-up, the organisers understandably mostly stuck to the list of the 'usual suspects' who have - in the past - managed to draw crowds at multi-genre settings. Parekh and Singh, Ska Vengers and Aswekeepsearching have become music festivals' darlings and the acts - on day one, two and three respectively - further proved why. Delhi-based Komorebi, Mumbai's funk/ electro duo Madboy/Mink and The F16s, too, were familiar faces in the multi-genre setting. These acts have famously acted as the common element between fanbases of varying genres, and that explains the festival organisers' growing obsession with them.


Kudos to the Supersonic team for hosting The Circus band that recently completed over a decade of live music engagements since its inception. Quite easily, the band was the reason behind an ideal start to the Day 3 proceedings that later featured Pentagram and "the act" of the edition - Incubus. What The Circus managed on Day 3, dream pop duo Parekh and Singh achieved on the opening day. The two musicians with their breezy and pop tunes led an ideal opening to American alternative rockers Alt-J who closed the Live Arena stage on Day 1. Not their first visit to the country, however, this was 'literally' the biggest stage that Alt-J was seen performing on, in India. With one crowd favourite after another, Alt-J executed their routine set, bowed down to the crowd and disappeared into smoke (thanks to the giant smoke screen machines set all over the stage).


VH1 Supersonic did not fail to provide some pleasant surprises throughout the festival at the Live Arena. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble was, quite possibly, the most refreshing and animated band on the roster. The Chicago-based brass ensemble came, saw and conquered the imaginations and hearts of the audience present at the Live Arena on Day 3. Also possibly, the only band that received an unanimous "one more time" plea from the crowd at the encore. The journey of Pentagram 2.0 continued at Vh1 Supersonic's Laxmi Lawns in Pune as the heavyweights of the live independent music culture, and multi-genre festival or not, the massive turnout for the set hardly came as a surprise.


What also did not come as a surprise was how quickly the numbers kept multiplying at the Live Arena stage even after the Mumbai-based rock legends closed their set. And that, majorly, had to do with yet another heavyweights from another continent. With eight albums and three EPs worth of compositions, fans did not waste a moment to express their wishes as soon as the California-based musicians, called Incubus, graced the stage just as the sun entirely set on Laxmi Lawns. With some of its best selling records to the compositions off their latest studio effort '8', the band delivered and helped the fans relive the nostalgic moments from the late 1990s. One of the highlights of the band's performance featured the emotional original 'Wish You Were Here' that also accomodated Pink Floyd's song of the same name.


In conclusion, Vh1 Supersonic took the leap and landed safely and it surely looks like the 'Live Arena' is here to stay. The review will not be complete without mentioning the Australian guitar maestro Plini whose set with fellow guitar hero David Maxim on Day 3 easily stood out when compared to other acts for the sheer energy, diversity and talent the duo expressed through their 45-minute long sundowner set. The 'crossover stage', with all its right intentions, somehow did not complement the festival's 'Support The Scene' ideology. Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator performed to a rather empty pit as hundreds of fans chose the nearest exit when alt-rockers Alt-J concluded its performance. A similar view was witnessed as Delhi-based electro rock act and headliner for Day 3 MOSKO opened soon after Incubus left the stage. 

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