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Festival Review: Life in Color 2018, New Delhi

The EDM paint party featured stellar performances by electronic forerunners like Diplo, DJ 4B, rapper Divine and more

David Britto Nov 27, 2018

Diplo at LIC India.

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Ambience (the real-world kind, not the genre) is always pivotal to festivals, whether they want to be a start-to-finish rager of a party or a specifically curated buildup of the senses. Just last month we attended EDM festival Sensation Rise in Hyderabad where a sea of people dressed in white were moving to their favorite electronic tunes. Last week at the debut Indian edition of EDM fest Life in Color in New Delhi, while the music was glaringly similar to Sensation, there were a lot more colors, literally, thanks to the gallons of paint sprayed onto attendees from the stage.

Smokey and Ritviz get the crowd warmed up

We arrived at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium towards the end of Mumbai-based drum & bass artist Smokey’s set. The DJ had all the right mixtures flowing with her trap electronica sounds coupled with bass drops. The highlight of Smokey’s performance was her remix of American rockers Linkin Park’s “In The End” with the crowd singing along to the late Chester Bennington’s vocal parts.

Next, Pune DJ/producer Ritviz brought his bass heavy and high energy sonic elements to the table. The DJ thrilled the New Delhi audience with his hit track “Udd Gaye” (which featured on last year’s Bacardi House Party Sessions), as well as material from his upcoming full length debut album VED! such as the dubstep leaning “Jeet” and club friendly “Barso.”

Right after Ritviz’s performance, host Sheldon Blake (dressed in an illuminated jumpsuit) made his way to the stage and said, “This is our first time ever [in India]. Tonight is a special night because we are here to forget about all the drama in our lives,” before spraying the crowd with paint. The now rainbow streaked audience was all pumped up for what was to come next.

 

Host Sheldon Blake hoisting the Indian flag at LIC. 

Divine sets the bar high and DJ 4B makes his India debut

When Blake exited the stage, the lights went low and Mumbai hip-hop artist Divine’s music video of his latest single, the honest “Junoon” started playing on the big screen on stage. As the song came to its climax, Divine raced on stage spitting bars to his aggressive track “One Side” backed by musicians; guitarist Randolph Correia (from electro-rockers Pentagram and one half of Shaa’ir + Func), bassist Krishna Jhaveri (of prog band Skyharbor), drummer Gautam Deb (from post rockers Aswekeepsearching), DJ/producer The Spindoctor and hype man/rapper JD.

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Divine – who was probably the best act of the night – pulled all his hits out of the bag which included his collaboration with desi bass king Nucleya on “Jungle Raja,” the anthemic “Jungli Sher” as well as his pumping Naezy collab “Mere Gully Mein.” The poster boy of desi hip-hop ended his epic set with the rousing “Farak,” which he dedicated to his mum.

New Jersey-based DJ 4B – who was making his India debut – took over next. With Divine being a tough act to follow, the DJ managed to keep the crowd in high spirits with an energetic performance. Like Smokey, 4B brought some rock to Life in Color that included remixes of Lenny Kravitz’s riff heavy “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as well as R&B favorites such as Chic’s “Le Freak” and The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”

The DJ also fed the EDM hungry audience with arrangements of Australian producer Fisher’s “Losing It,” Dutch DJ Alvaro’s “Welcome To The Jungle,” G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha’s “Me, Myself & I,” Drake’s “God’s Plan” as well as Dillon Francis and DJ Snake’s “Get Low,” among others.

Divine (right) with hype man/rapper JD spitting bars at Life In Color in New Delhi.

Diplo’s euphoric headlining set

Seasoned American DJ and producer Diplo, who was the most awaited performer for the evening, delivered a smashing headlining set to a crowd that was drenched in colors. Diplo rolled out his versions of Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang,” Cardi B’s “I Like It,” Ayo & Teo’s “Rolex” as well as his own Major Lazer and DJ Snake collaboration “Lean On.”

Diplo teased attendees with Bollywood hits such as “Choli Ke Peeche,” “Amplifier” and “Kar Gayi Chull,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy. The producer also threw back the clock with mixes that included a-ha’s “Take On Me,” Los del Rio’s “Macarena” and The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” In addition, the beatmaker presented his take on Ludacris’ “Move B***h” and “How Low,” OutKast’s “Hey Ya!,”  DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win,” DJ Snake’s “Taki Taki” and more.

While the 5,000 strong EDM loving New Delhi audience seemed to have enjoyed themselves – we did feel that there is definitely room for improvement at Life In Color in terms of curation (more live acts) and keeping their word on what is promised at the festival besides the music. They hyped aerial acts pulling out Cirque Du Soleil-esque performances, stilt walkers and contortionists, but we witnessed none of that. As for the fireworks, apart from a few stage pyrotechnics there wasn’t anything over the top. Attendees did however get to showcase their graffiti skills on wide-open canvases at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The debut edition in our country delivered on most counts. With rumors of Life In Color getting bigger in India and heading to two cities next year, one can only imagine what to anticipate at the biggest paint party in the world.

All photos courtesy of Fleck Media.

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