For the majority of India’s populace, the onset of autumn (or the season’s semblance which graces our tropical climes) is the time for gods and festivals. But, autumn also marks the beginning of EDM fervour across the country with a pantheon of DJs coming to bask in the adulation of their devotees.
This year’s festivities began last weekend with Sunburn Arena arranging a performance by Dutch DJ Hardwell, who’s real name is Robert van de Corput, currently top dog in his genre’s food chain (DJ Magazine voted him the world’s best DJ last year) at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, a familiar stamping ground for EDM enthusiasts.
While there were rumours that the performance would begin at the scheduled time of 5pm, it ended up beginning (see what we did there?) at the Indian Standard Time of two hours late.
The crowds streamed in while Dutch DJ KillTheBuzz opened for his countryman’s main act, and while things ran smoothly for a while, the situation soon devolved with fans deciding that nothing was going to kill their buzz. By the end of the evening, barricades were stormed, structural supports clambered on to, and bouncers rendered hapless by a crowd who were determined to “Go Hard” or “Go Home”, as several t-shirts and signs proclaimed.
Cops stood in droves, only reluctantly responding (kind of) to the more agonised crackles emanating from their walkie-talkies. Eventually, the day was saved when the cavalry rode in, in the form of a young Dutchman who clambered on to the stage and shouted “Namaste India” to his adoring fans, instantly turning the chaos into a concert.
Hardwell clearly ascribes to the classic definition of a DJ, remixing songs and layering them with pulsating, electronic beats, while massively engaging his audience. He exhorted Delhi to “Jump” and “Throw hands in the air” while he mixed his contemporaries’ songs including I need your love, Summer, Sweet nothing and Blame by Calvin Harris, Summertime sadness by Lana Del Rey, Fancy by Iggy Azalea, This is what it feels like by Armin Van Buuren, and Sky full of stars by Coldplay, in transitions smoother than the Santana song.
He also offered his techno-laced takes of Californication by RHCP, Numb by Linkin Park, Sweet dreams by Eurythmics and Nirvana’s Smells like teen spirit. Still, we wish he had had more original compositions to offer. Would that really have been so hard?