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Bacardi Weekender 2013, Bengaluru: Day 1

28 Nov

In any enjoyable event of considerable length, there are always a few moments that shine a bit brighter than others. It’s not always clear why these moments in particular make it into this mental photo album. Maybe it was the confluence of several senses hitting you simultaneously. Maybe your mind just chose the most colorful, the most shocking or the most fun parts. Or maybe it was the way that you were both suspended in a moment that seemed to go on forever even as it ended too quickly.

When I flip through my mental photo album of the Bacardi Weekender 2013, Bengaluru edition, I don’t see the rains that played spoilsport on Saturday. I don’t see people craning to catch a view of Lucky Ali or Manganiyar Seduction betwixt myriad umbrellas. I don’t even see the fuming mob when TessaracT got cancelled.

Okay, maybe I see the last one a bit. (They were pretty angry.)

Anyway, the rather convoluted point that I am trying to make here is that at this year’s Bengaluru edition of the Weekender, the show really did go on. A sizeable chunk of artists, cutting across all genres, were cancelled on Saturday, and people stood drenched to the bone for hours to watch the artists that were lucky enough to perform. But they didn’t seem to care. When we left on Sunday night, there was no doubt that we were indeed leaving the Happiest Music Festival, in spite of every hiccup.

Let’s start from the beginning. Day 1 started off with a bus ride (Red Bull included!) that foretold of the day to come, with rain sprinkling fitfully as we headed to the venue. Once we got in, we marveled at NH7’s kickass aesthetic sense for a few minutes before heading straight to the stages. Unfortunately, the rain followed us there.

NH7 Aesthetics

However, the spirit of the festival-goer is not daunted so easily. We headed to the Breezer Stage, where Dakta Dub was entertaining the fast-filling crowd with their reggae beats. An unfurled Jamaican flag graced the laptop table. Dreadlocked members of their entourage danced with abandonment. A light rain, buoyed by breeze (get it?), tempered the air, and the stage turned electric with magic. Oh, and then Dakta Dub started playing Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up”. First entry into the photo album!

Dakta Dub

However, the next couple of acts didn’t fare so well, in my opinion. I never have been a big fan of metal, especially mediocre metal, so Bevar Sea at the Bacardi Arena really wasn’t anything to write home about. Singer-songwriter Winit Tikoo was rather forgettable as well. However, his song “GDS” did have a few nice moments from the band – especially the wall-like fuzz of the guitars and the confident bass.

With the Other Stage and Red Bull Tour Bus closed on account of roof-less-ness, we wandered to the Eristoff Wolves Den, the only other open stage, where we found the excellent Big City Harmonics. This guy had it all – the visuals, the lights and oh my, the beats. Definitely a find! Here, too, I added to my photo album: the radial lasers hit the vertical sprinkle of rain to create millions of tiny stars in the daytime. However, I don’t possess nearly enough photography skillz to capture that in a real photo, so that moment shall remain in my mind only.

Passing cursorily by Inner Sanctum (as I said, I’m not a big metal fan), we headed back to the Dewarists Stage for Lucky Ali. A seasoned performer, the man wowed the crowd with his stardom and sheer stage presence, and proceeded to sing everyone into a frenzy.

Lucky Ali

By that time, the good folks at NH7 had made arrangements to temporarily open up the Other Stage, where they skipped past Sulk Station and the F16s (sadly) to Kate Miller-Heidke. Under the makeshift red umbrella that sprouted up like a mushroom in the rain, the Australian singer-songwriter belted out gifted pop while dressed as Alice in Wonderland. It was a great experience!

Kate Miller-Heidke

After a quick bite at Faaso’s, we headed to Eristoff again for Shaa’ir + Func, starring Randolph Correia, Monica Dogra, and Monica Dogra’s midriff. I’ve never been a big fan of the band – I’m guessing it has something to do with my gender and orientation – but I will allow the fact that Monica Dogra has matchless energy and stage presence. Visuals aside, however, their live performance failed to impress me for the same reason as their recorded ones: they don’t have memorable songs.

Shaa’ir + Func

Soon, we left Ms. Dogra gyrating on stage to rush to the Dewarists Stage for the evening’s pièce de résistance (for non-metal fans), Manganiyar Seduction with Roysten Abel. The magic box of lights was already set up, piquing interest with its obvious theatricality. However, the uninitiated were simply left unprepared for the performance to follow. The way your heart flies as a Manganiyar singer lilts notes with his whirling hands; the thumping of your heart along with the big drums; the ecstasy when the rows and columns of the box light up all at once at the end… The moments are too many and too intense to recollect all at once. Needless to say, everyone in the audience was thoroughly seduced by the end.

Manganiyar Seduction

And thus ended Day 1 of the Weekender. The rain was the villain of the day, but thankfully there were quite a few heroes. We left the venue hoping for less rain and more magic on Sunday… and we weren’t disappointed.

Read on: Day 2 at the Bacardi Weekender 2013, Bengaluru

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