DO YOU WANNA GET ROCKED?
By Nazuk Ahluwalia
India's image as the land of ‘slum-dogs’ and snake-charmers has got a complete reversal by booming into a world of global music both as a host country and our musicians bringing fusion as mainstream genre since a few decades. Mega world concerts by pop, rock and jazz greats such as Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman and Dizzy Gillespie having performed here to ecstatic audiences.
Apart from the earlier biennial Jazz Yatra to yearly jazz jamboree of late that have witnessed giants like Max Roach, Trilok Gurtu and Mohini Dey perform among many greats, the year 2016, was testament to India's growing popularity as a music hub with music aficionados both local and expats keenly looking forward to having them perform.
Rewind the tape by years; the scenario would have seemed dismal with India quite obliquely on the radar for present super international artists. A growing millennial population, recent internet penetration and the associated rise in pop culture has transformed the music arena for India by leaps and bounds!
India's track record can be traced to the the success of EDM festivals across various parts of India, such as the Sunburn, VH1 Supersonic and NH7 weekender. These events have proven India's mettle in terms of infrastructure and the magnitude of of the audience with a penchant for the same, willing to show up for the event. The land of diversity has embraced live music. International DJ's like Tiesto, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Armin and David Guetta have graced India with many coming back for repeat shows. Following the immense response has led pop artists to consider India as a tour spot.
The feather in the hat was the Global Citizen Festival and the out of the world line up set the ball rolling for India to establish itself as a live music destination. Artists like Demi Lovato, The Vamps and rapper Jay-Z took centre stage at Mumbai. Coldplay, the infamous British band headlined the festival and rocked the city of dreams with hits like 'fix you', sky full of stars and Paradise, the band certainly provided an "adventure of a lifetime" to the thumping audience.
Canadian Pop star, Justin Bieber's concert at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on May 10, this year can be considered India's crowning achievement in the arena of live music. I was lucky enough to experience it. The Grammy winning and nominated artist was the first ever international superstar to include India in a World Tour - The Purpose World tour. Alongside was a special guest- infamous DJ Alan Walker to add to the glamour of the event.
The Sweltering heat and humid conditions did not defeat the energy levels of the crowd who waited unabated for 6 hours for Bieber to hit the stage. Opening the concert with his hit track "Where are You now" and bowling hits like "Love yourself", "cold water", "I'll Show you", Bieber struck the right chords with a massive audience. The energy was palatable with the crowd cheering and jeering unabashedly.
The post concert criticism of few songs being lip synced, marred the big picture of an amazing live band, outstanding team of dancers and Justin's performance with young underprivileged children. What got lost in the media framing is the fact that India was host to a record- breaking global icon which otherwise was a distant fantasy in the past. All my eyes saw at the concert was a collective energy which didn't burn out with the heat and the crowd swaying with the beats even after the event had ended.
Despite recent glitches and cancellations of some concerts such as David Guetta's concert in Mumbai and Metallica also cancelling its Delhi performance. India is still a keen market for international music sensations. The only hurdle for organising a big event is an absence of a "one- stop place "for all approvals from the government due to which an artist gets restricted in terms of roaming freely with security.
The road ahead for the year 2017, promises an exciting journey in the world of music :
1. The Grammy winning American DJ duo - ChainSmokers with hits like 'Selfie' , 'Roses' , 'Closer' , 'Paris' and ' Young'. As a part of the Ultra Music Festival, the duo is set to perform on 7th and 8th September in Mumbai and Delhi respectively .
2. Ed Sheeran, English singer/songwriter is marked to swoon audiences in mumbai , on 19 November. His latest album "divide" released early this year. The album debuted number one in UK and USA with two songs 'Castle On the Hill' and 'Shape of You ' breaking the charts.
3. Hardwell, the famous Dutch DJ currently ranked number 3 in the world, is scheduled to start the close of the year with a bang as a part of The Worlds's Biggest Guest List Festival .
4. The Sunburn Music festival - India's premiere EDM event will take place in Goa in the last week of December, with some of the most popular names in the dance music scene performing. The Sunburn Festival is the biggest party for music aficionados with non-stop music and dance. This excitement packed event pulls crowds from all across the world, and is well-known for its elaborate productions and colossal structures
So all music freaks keep a tab on the tickets and registration dates on dedicated portals such has www.bookmyshow.com and get ready to dive into a world where “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You!”