Despite a humble turnout, legendary dance musician and acclaimed record producer, DJ Fatboy Slim mesmerised the desi audiences with his rapid fire beats. The event is expected to become a guiding star to the burgeoning clubbing genre in the country.
Who is DJ Fatboy Slim?
For the uninitiated, Norman Quentin Cook a.k.a. Fatboy Slim, is popularly hailed as the "biggest DJ in the world," and a virtuoso of the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) genre. Compared to the likes of the legendary Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy, Cook pioneered a completely new form of music called Big Beat.
His accolades evenly live up to his reputation. He has bagged a record number of MTV and Brit awards including the famous star on the Brighton walk of fame alongside erstwhile British PM, Winston Churchill's. And it doesn't end just here, he also boasts of scintillating performances like Glastonbury festival, Big Beach Boutique, O2, Rockness festival, Coachella valley Music Festival and the FIFA world cup festival, each a Mecca for revelers world over, raking in a quarter of a million music buffs. What seems then a landmark event in the nation's music history on paper, definitely lives up to its stellar reputation in action as we were to realise.
The tempo for the historic night at HUDA grounds, Gurgaon was set by DJ Arjun Vagale and the Dualist inquiry complemented by the witty quips of VJ-DJ Nikhil Chinapa. But the night's loudest shrieks erupted when the fabled Fatboy Slim revealed himself on center stage with his zen like presence and trademark barefoot avatar. What followed suit was a rapid fire sound of bass, magical lights and psychedelic beats, transporting the merry makers to a completely unknown dimension.
The Artist who is acclaimed by Q magazine as 'the top 50 artists to see before you die', shot away his pet tracks like the Weapon of Choice, MJ's Bille Jean, The Rockafellar Skank, Right Here Right Now, including an Indianised version of his track Chuckie called I'm in Delhi. Clubbers in the VIP lounge were seen climbing on the bar stools to get a better view of the artist while throbbing crowds in the main arena breathlessly tripped and screamed at the most eardrum damaging, seismic acts of the day.
And if mind numbing beats were not enough, the open air discotheque truly came alive with 3D laser lighting, psychotropic visual effects and Cook's hallmark on-stage histrionics. The artist received a well deserved encore, etching a permanent EDM magnificent memory in every reveller's soul.
It was not suprising then to get rave reviews of the gig. VJ Anoushka, of the VIVA fame, was spotted at the event and had to say this, "DJ Fatboy Slim was absolutely amazing...you should have looked at the way people were going mad." She further added, "I absolutely enjoyed the gig and would be looking forward to his next performance."
Festival Director and our host for the evening Nikhil Chinapa opined, "Dance music has a huge market worldwide and I'm glad to see a legendary artist like Fatboy Slim finally coming to India. His performance will further the cause of dance music in the sub-continent and will lead to a generational shift."
A large section of the crowd consisted of people in the 25-35 age group. Uber riche, single, MNC employees found a perfect Saturday night to explore and enjoy.
But, the desi masses were conspicuous by their absence. 'Foreign' genre of music possibly is not as appealing to the Indians as Bollywood or Honey Singh might be? One Naveen Singh, 38, bank employee, who brought along his family complete with his mother-in-law moaned, "Yeh sab kya hain, sab log pagal ho gaye hain, main apni family ko lekar aya tha kyuki free passes mile the par yahan kuch maza nahi aa raha hain (What's all this, are these people mad? I brought along my family here only because I had free passes but I'm not having any fun here)." His mother in law, Meena Devi, 69, was more politically correct, "Apna apna shauk hain, kya kar sakte hain (choices vary depending on the tastes)," she sighed. These were just a few unfortunate souls who floated about the venue.
Notwithstanding the low turnout at the event, the God of EDM DJ Fatboy Slim enthralled one and all with his divine performance. We wouldn't be surprised if he would make more visits to India-On demand!... in the times to come though.
The brisk growth of the Indian Economy especially in the service sector and it's integration with the world has not only put money in the pockets of our youth but has also diversified our tastes and choices. DJ Fatboy Slim's maiden tour to India follows DJ Guetta's successful gig in March this year. These represent, as observed by music buffs, a growing trend where international bands and brands flock to India eager to tap into our markets. Musical concerts as well as hi-life events offer a golden opportunity to lifestyle brands (watches, liquor, designer wear, tobacco companies) to sensitise their target audience consisting of uber riche youth and creme-la-creme of high society.
As per analysts, with the saturation of the Western markets the future growth in the EDM genre will be seen in emerging markets of Brazil and India. According to some estimates, The EDM market alone is worth $2m, based on the salaries of the DJs.
The venues chosen for DJ Fatboy Slim's tour also corroborate these trends (Gurgaon: Millenium City, Bengaluru: Silicon city). As the popularity of music festivals in the country like Sundance (Goa) grows, sky is the only limit for this sector.
"From fashion ramps to the race courses, from popular sports like T20 cricket to motor racing, from Bollywood nights to socially relevant causes, Gitanjili has always been associated with not only lifestyle events but also musical nights of all genres," says Mehul Choksi, Charman and MD, Gitanjili Group, one of the sponsors for the event.
"Kingfisher Livewire is proud to be associated with the Fatboy Slim Tour, an amalgamation of world class music and the best of beer to give people the ultimate clubbing experience," says Gurpreet Singh, GM Marketing, United breweries Limited.