Before you go any further, we find it our responsibility to warn you- this is not a track listing or commentary on the events that took place at the gig. It’s simply an unbiased note of our feelings and opinions of the night. We will try and cover the basics like ease of entry, AV setup, stage production and crowd management- but this review is simply our rendition of what went down.
Given the multitude of choices Mumbai is now spoilt with even on a Sunday evening, we made the easy yet obvious decision of choosing high quality, emotionally driven music in an atmosphere created to make people unite called Above & Beyond’s #GroupTherapyIndia. After all the complaining and groaning about having to go all the way to Kamalistan- a place officially beyond our definition of suburbs, we were quite pleased once we got there. Empty roads on a Sunday and a fairly straightforward route only helped in building our anticipation for the gig! Extremely well planned ticketing and ease in entry is typical of Submerge gigs now (read our Zedd review). Kudos for making the entire approach towards a large event literally a walk in the park! We were also really happy to see the suave Festival Sherpa taking rounds at the ticketing counter with a video camera in hand, recording how excited we all were to get inside.
We got in while the Royalty resident Willy was mid-set and boy, were we glad! He set the tone for the rest of our evening in true style. Lying on the grass with a beer in hand, we braced ourselves for the storm yet to come. Pearl didn’t waste any time in making her presence felt once on stage. The next few words have been carefully selected to describe her set:
Deep, Loud, Tech, Dark, Journey, Love, Dive, Drown, Twilight, Crisp, Red and Intense. Pretty sure you’ve got the picture. Another topic we like to generally discuss is how important an opening set is. She was bang on in getting people on their feet, yet not moving too much because though we were prepared for a whirlwind called Seven Lions, we had no idea how much energy that man was going to release in one hour.
Cruelty knows no boundaries- he spared nobody:
Jeff Montalvo, better known as Seven Lions went on a rampage. Banger after banger, thumper after thumper- he simply smashed the place apart. We caught glimpses of Jeff’s hair (mane, if we may) bouncing all over the place paired with some fantastic visuals in those rare moments that we weren’t jumping around ourselves. Dubstep has come a long way and it still has a long way to go with indian audiences. Constant force feeding of mouthfuls of progressive and bigroom has left no room for imagination or appreciation of other subgenres and Seven Lions’ set was an absolute delight. He unleashed our yearning for more and had us hypnotized from track 2 itself- our all time favorite- Strangers along with Myon and Shane 54. Too much power, too soon, the night is young, the party has just begun!
Feet already hurting? Shut up and dance!
At 8 PM, things got a little out of hand, just a little. Group Therapy was in motion and the main act for the evening called Above and Beyond got on stage. Smiles on stage- screams and waves off stage. These guys didn’t need an introduction. The thousands of people standing around the stage knew what they were there for. Incase you’ve gotten this far and are still clueless, you may have to retake this class.
Moving on, to the more important stuff, these guys totally get our genetic need to add the emotional twist to spice things up. Having seen them play twice before on different continents, #GroupTherapyMumbai outdid those other monster gigs in style. Effective visual imagery on the LED screen paired with images of birds in flight, strings vibrating and mirrored road crossings were the order of the night. The beauty of it all was that a lack of surprises in the tracklist worked in favor of the DJs because we KNEW why we were there, what we wanted to hear and exactly how it would make us feel.
In this world of chaos and selfishness, initiatives taken to bring people together through the force of music are the ones that actually go a long way- Group Therapy was just that! A mix of emotions wafted through the crowd- bartenders and food stall servers were getting jiggy with it. Security guards who had no clue what was being displayed on the screen or what the lyrics meant lost their frowns and were seen smiling while doing their job ushering people around or taking rounds to check for illicit substances. Couples holding hands looking at the fireworks, buddies jumping together, ravers just closing their eyes to get immersed into the sound- the entire gamut that turns a night out into an experience you never want to forget.
Yes, they did play Sun & Moon and yes, they did thank us for being one of the best crowds they have played to but we are the ones who are truly grateful for the experience Submerge has worked extremely hard to create. All things said and done, something created with the true intention to spread love and share a passion will always result in a spectacular show irrespective of the time, place or competition that night