Festival Review: VH1 Supersonic ”“ Day 2
The Laboratoire Stage, featuring drum n bass, dub step and hip hop artists, continues to remain our favorite
Festival goers at VH1 Supersonic are probably getting more cardio workouts than anyone else in Goa right now. Dancing on beach sand for hours on end is hard fun. Said 30-year-old Seoul resident Leah Oh, who was in India for the first time and at VH1 Supersonic to “see how Indians party”: “In Korea, nobody stands up at a music festival. They are all seated. Here, there’s no room to stand or sit,” Oh was at the Iron Heart Stage, the biggest of the three stages at the festival, watching Brit producer Gareth Emery play his house-trance-electro mix of Lana Del Ray’s 2012 smash “Summertime Sadness” to a crowd of at least 8,000 people. We’re not sure how many even knew who Emery was, but that’s missing the point. Like Oh and non-resident Goan Elroy Pereira, most were here for “the experience”. Says Pereira, 33, an accountant based in Kuwait, “I rarely get time off during this season, so I wanted to see what this festival was about. I’m not sure who’s performing today but wanted to check it out.”
Day 2 of the festival unfolded exactly as we’d imagined. The Iron Heart Stage, drew the biggest crowd. Everything about the stage was supersized ”“ the LED screens, the installations, the fire guns and the lineup with names like Emery and headlining artist Paul Van Dyk, the Dutch trance veteran who has been performing in India since the early Noughties. Dyk, whose set even included two dancers up on stage besides the laser shows, fire guns and all the bells and whistles, knows his audience inside out. Besides being a fantastic entertainer, Dyk set the trail blazing for the likes of Emery with his vocal-led tracks such as “I Don’t Deserve You,” from his album Evolution, released in 2012. Regardless of whether anyone recognized one producer from the other, the audience lapped it all up, dancing until they needed to sink their feet into the beach sand at Candolim.
One of my favorite sets from earlier in the day was by Catalan tech house producer Coyu (no, there’s no bias here because of his love for cats) at the Spectrum stage, the second big stage at the fest. In January this year, Coyu released a mix of “Matter Of Time,” originally produced by Irish electronica act, The Japanese Popstars and it was one of the standout tracks of his set. The energy was only amplified by the fact that Coyu looked like he was having so much fun on stage.The beach discotheque vibe at Spectrum was perfect, enhanced by drones shooting laser beams on the sand. There were just the right number of people, room to breathe and of course, brilliant music.
When the music wasn’t so compelling, the fest had photo stages (who does just booths anymore?), where you could pose next with a lifesize dancing bear (believe me, this was a hit) and a WI-FI zone for those who ran out of battery for selfies (this was also a big hit). The fun stage may not have drawn a regular festival goer, but since it’s only the second edition of the festival, we’ll definitely expect some scaling up next year. Artist Shilo Suleman’s stunning traveling installation “Pulse And Bloom” ”“ a bunch of glittering lotuses with cushions at the base – was the site of several selfies. “Pulse And Bloom” definitely deserved a more prominent display to let festival goers know that this was also place to rest those dancing feet, but there was not a soul seated here.
Orifice Vulgatron of UK dubstep and hip hop group, Foreign Beggars, continued to reign over The Laboratoire stage, tucked away at the far end of the festival venue. Again, the stage hosted stellar acts such as The Upbeats from New Zealand and Stanton Warriors, who delivered some of the best sets of the day. As Orifice Vulgatron announced, “This is the best stage of the mother fuckin festival.” I completely agreed with him.
Outside the venue, enterprising Goans who lived around Candolim beach, ran bustling food stalls all through the evening. If finger food inside the venue wasn’t enough, there was “hot chicken biryani,” pizzas and even some pork vindaloo if you were lucky. Tony’s Place, a restaurant close to the festival site, was packed to capacity. Noticing festival bands around our wrists, a waiter asked us, “Koi Bollywood star aaya tha festival pe? (Did any Bollywood star attend the fest?)” When we replied in negative he said, “Only Hollywood? Sunburn pe aaya tha (There was a Bollywood star at Sunburn). Tito’s pe bhi aaya tha Salman Khan (Salman Khan also dropped by at Tito’s club in Goa).” VH1 Supersonic hasn’t got Bollywood stars in the VVIP audience stall as yet, but it’s early days still.