On day one (Friday), the large venue looked like there was enough space for you to comfortably walk around. But Saturday saw a sea of people descend on the Pune fest. It was never more apparent than in the end, when a huge crowd gathered at The Other Stage for the Maganiyar Seduction performance (one of the two final acts).
Director Roysten Abel’s act consisted of 43 Rajasthani folk musicians and a stunning red bulb-lit, four-storey high stage. True to its introduction, it was nothing like anything you have seen before. It followed the hugely popular Karsh Kale Collective performance on The Dewarists stage.
The bass-heavy sound from the Dub Station travelled far, at times, overwhelming some of the more mellow acts. On day one, Raghu Dixit complained about the clash. Early on day two, north-eastern musician Imli Imchen’s nifty guitar sounds were drowned out (on The Other Stage). Later, percussionist Trilok Gurtu (on The Dewaritsts stage) repeatedly voiced his displeasure. The ever-dramatic Gurtu’s act was one of the most popular of the evening. Apart from the tabla and the drums, he played on vessels and a bucket filled with water.
Hits and misses
UK-based rapper Akala drew in the audience with his solo-act, treating it like a collective unit of singers. The attendees sang along the catchy lines that he taught at the beginning of each track. Swanand and Shantanu’s folk songs were superb, but Swanand finished on a lukewarm note with a rather Bollywood-ish composition. Singer-songwriter Mou’s solo set of Bengali rock songs could have been more enjoyable if she’d played more guitar (she picked up the instrument only during the last number). Australian duo act Big Scary (at the Fully Fantastic Stage) surprised one and all with its wholesome band-like sound despite lacking in the number of members.