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Festival Review: VH1 Supersonic Day 1

Arjun Vagale, Dillon Francis and Goldie perform standout sets on the first day of the music festival in Goa

Lalitha Suhasini Dec 28, 2014
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Dillon Francis at the Iron Heart Stage. Photo:  Courtesy of  VH1 Supersonic

UK-based house producer Funkagenda at the Iron Heart Stage. Photo: Courtesy of VH1 Supersonic

As we stared at a long line of cars clogging up roads leading to Candolim all the way from the Goa airport, located in Dabolim, 25-year-old private cab driver Florence Agnel Martins blamed the bumper-to-bumper traffic on dance music. “Now, no one goes to the discos for two weeks because of these festivals,” he added and he sure didn’t mean Christmas. Martins was talking about the second edition of VH1 Supersonic, which brought to stage the likes of techno superstar Carl Craig from Detroit and Brit electronic music maverick Goldie to India for the first time. Local radio station Indigo 91.9 missed the distinction between VH1 Supersonic and rival EDM fest Sunburn though, announcing in an ad that Nikhil Chinapa and Pearl will play at Sunburn, suggesting the impossible ”“ the end of EDM wars in Goa. Martins added his two bit, an idea that he hoped would ease the traffic chaos, “I think Sunburn should take place in May so there’s no clash. People will come. Now, there are tourists in Goa the entire year.”

Carl Craig at the Spectrum stage. Photo: Courtesy of VH1 Supersonic

Carl Craig at the Spectrum stage. Photo: Courtesy of VH1 Supersonic

The powers to be at VH1 Supersonic would only be too happy to vote for such logic, but until sense prevails, Chinapa, who is the festival curator and partner at VH1 Supersonic has lined up some of the best talent from across the world at the fest. On the first day of the festival Arjun Vagale, who recently moved to the US, surprised us with a banger of a set, warming up the Spectrum “Detroit Love” stage for more techno wizardry a la Carl Craig. Introducing Craig, Chinapa said, “Three years ago, I was at DC 10 in Ibiza where I first heard this man. It was techno like no techno I’d heard before. It had spirit, it had soul and it moved me.” Craig, whose set kicked off on a bum note with his sound setup crashing for all of 30 seconds, had an uneasy beginning, but turned up the energy with his inimitable mix of funk and techno.

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About the same time, the crowd in front of the Iron Heart Stage had swelled from a few hundred, who showed up for a sun down set by dubstep producer B.R.E.E.D., to many thousands. All of the ravers were at the altar of American producer Dillon Francis, who went mainstream when he collaborated with Diplo on “Que Que” in 2011. While the crowd went nuts to every beat Francis played (not all knew or cared who Francis was), the set hit its climax when the DJ played his brand new track “What’s That Spell (FUCK”). Aside: It’s strangely comforting to know that EDM audiences across the world love cuss words as much as metallers do. The chanting grew louder when the crowd saw neon visuals of a giant fist and a middle finger backing Dillon’s new mix and as is the case with most international artists who perform in India, the producer was completely taken aback at the crowd he drew.

Although it seemed like the Laboratoire stage that had been shown the finger. This was my favorite stage at the festival, tucked away in a corner. Not more than 200 people showed up at this stage all through Day 1, when some of the most inspiring hip hop, drum and bass, jungle and every other sub genre in between found a place at the festival. It was also no surprise then that this was a stage that artists loved too. We spotted B.R.E.E.D in the audience soaking in the vibe when he wasn’t shooting videos of the audience, London-based Nerm from Shiva Sound System and Mumbai-based electro artist Ox7gen. Orifice Vulgatron from UK hip hop and dubstep group Foreign Beggars owned the stage, even if he was only the MC for the night, cheering on the likes of DJ Skitz and graffiti artist, actor and DJ extraordinaire, Goldie, who played the closing set at the festival.

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From a look at the schedule, the Spectrum stage and the Iron Heart Stage are likely to get the biggest turnout today as well with names such as Coyu, Maya Jane Coles, Gareth Emery and Paul Van Dyk taking over Day 2.

Dillon Francis performed the closing set at the Iron Heart Stage on Day 1 Photo: Courtesy of VH1 Supersonic

Dillon Francis performed the closing set at the Iron Heart Stage on Day 1 Photo: Courtesy of VH1 Supersonic


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