In High Spirits
Bacardi Blast resurfaced this year with a striking mix of Indian and international electronica artists
Bacardi Blast made a smashing comeback after six years last December. The two-day festival rolled in two super heavy weights Â”“ headliners UK-based Sister Bliss (of Faithless fame) and electronic dance music powerhouse Chicane. The festival also featured a fine mix of upcoming and established Indian electronica artists like Mumbai-based Lost Stories, Shaa’ir and Func and Delhi based BLOT,Â and a couple of DJs from the Ministry of Sound family ”“ Bangalore based DJ Ivan and UK based DJ Rae. Musically, the festival served up a fantastic variety of sounds, mixing the best of live music and DJ sets. While the likes of Sister Bliss and BLOT played spin doctors, Chicane and Shaa’ir and Func busied up the stage with live vocals and instruments.
The 5,000-strong crowd was easily accommodated by the sprawling field at Panjim Gymkhana. With Bacardi kiosks, lounging areas and even a trampoline (which literally assumed the responsibility of taking one higher) the space was tastefully metamorphosed to razzle-dazzle a party crowd, complimented perfectly by Goa’s balmy weather that time of year. Early evenings on both days saw supporting acts like DJ Ivan, tech/house DJ Rae, trance duo Lost Stories and IDM/EDM outift B.L.O.T warm up the stage as the audience trickled in. On the first day, as the night caught on, Shaair and Func made for the highlight amongst supporting acts with the unbeatable synergy of vocalist Monica Dogra, guitarist Randolph Correa and drummer Lindsay D’Mello.Â Playing songs like ”˜Roots’ and ”˜Do it Again’ from an all-original set-list, they got the crowd up and on their feet with their high-voltage set. Dogra ”“ fashioned in bohemian kitsch – pranced about in a some sort of Shamanic trance with Correa’s wailing guitars on songs like ”˜Light Tribe.’
Sister Bliss followed, opening her set with a sampling of the guitar intro of INXS’ ”˜Need You Tonight.’ Though she mostly spun of her Faithless repertoire with Maxi Jazz’s familiar sound on songs like ”˜Insomia’ and ”˜God is a DJ,’ she did throw in a couple of remixes. Especially noteworthy was her brilliant spell of electronics charging Imogen Heap’s rather solemn ”˜Hide and Seek.’
Day two was the real crowd puller as British dance music act Chicane took the stage. As songwriter/composer/DJ Nicholas Bracegirdle, the wizard behind Chicane, rolled out his sparkling grooves, guitarist Simon Small embellished them with his guitar work while Natasha Andrews animatedly gave voice to this musical terrain. Andrews felicitously said, “This is our last show of the year so we really want it to be a great party,” and true to their word the outfit played out a perfect close for the festival. Though the setlist featured most of their popular numbers like ’No Ordinary Morning,’ ”˜Offshore 97’ and ’Stoned in Love’ the audience gave a roaring acknowledgment singing along to the outfit’s most popular number ”˜Don’t Give Up,’ that originally featured Bryan Adams. Though with time restrictions ”“ the Gymkhana closes at ten ”“ the plug was pulled too early for a festival of this nature, a royal party hangover fairly made up for it for everyone involved.