IN an interview last week,Mikhail Mehra,founder of the electronic music production company Oji,said he wanted their first gig headlined by Skream and Benga to be a somewhat intimate and exclusive affair. The chosen venue,Sitara Studio,can only accommodate about 500 people,and what Mehra wanted was to see fans book tickets well in advance,but also to have them queuing up outside to get in.
On Sunday evening,around the time the gig began at 6 pm with AlgoRhythm,followed by Sound Avtar and Nucleya,it became apparent that Mehras wish was going to come true. The dingy,narrow lane that leads to the erstwhile film studio was already crawling with fans waiting to get in.
Inside,Mumbai act AlgoRhythm was warming up,playing to those who had managed to enter the venue Following the duos set,both Mumbai-based Sound Avtar and Delhi DJ Nucleya played some incredibly ass heavy tracks,setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
But as Skream and Benga took the console just before 9 pm,it became evident there was little that could have truly prepared the audience for the duos set. Apart from their older,more grimy dubstep material,they played tracks from Bengas newest record Chapter II,and some by the dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man,of which the two musicians are a part,along with a third DJ/producer,Artwork. They cleverly threw in versions of The Prodigys Smack My B**** Up,Skrillexs Right On Time,and even part of Harlem Shake.
As the gig drew to a close at about 10 pm,the British duo played what was to be their last song for the night and possibly the most popular,Nirvanas Smells Like Teen Spirit. The dancing gave way to mosh pits,while the audience sang every word,relishing the surprise ending.
In all of this,there were many winners,but one of the clearest was the venue. Possibly every attendee agreed by the end of the night that there could not have been another better suited to this gig.