Mumbai's house music aficionados were in for a treat over the weekend. The MTV Bloc Party, a two-day long party featuring EDM DJs and Indian indie musicians, kicked off on Friday afternoon at the lawns of the Juhu Hotel, Mumbai. Yes, the same venue that housed Razz. The hotel was completely decked out with colourful decorations including slinkies and post-it notes.
The party venue overlooked Juhu beach, and the Mumbai weather was being kind to the sparse crowd that had gathered there by 5pm. Veteran scenesters probably remember this lawn as home to all the weddings they crashed after attending gigs at Razz.
Shiny disco chameleons chilled on palm trees. Their disco ball camouflage was very apt for the setting.
What? No K-Pop?
MTV Bloc Party did not encourage cell phone usage or memeworthy K-pop dancing. I saw several punters flout the first rule, but no one dared mess with the second.
The Goa DJ inaugurated the proceedings, playing his trademark house beats to a not-really-there audience. Bloc Party host Nikhil Chinapa also hung around at the console, overseeing proceedings and getting the audience pumped up for the rest of the night.
The party host played an hour-long set of danceable house fare, while a scattered crowd fist-pumped. Several people took the opportunity to sit around on the grass with a beer and chill before the venue filled up.
Sit back and look at sunsets.
Chinappa directed the crowd's attention to the spectacular sunset behind them, and about five minutes later, a photo of this sunset was flashed on the LED panel on the stage, in case we missed it.
Dance moves 101
More well-dressed people filled into the lawn gradually, opting to do the awkward foot shuffle and head-bob to the music. This was to change soon.
This guy has swag. And cool eyeglasses.
Jean Elan and Cosmo Klein
The German duo's set was what really started the party on Friday. Singer-songwriter Klein and Berlin DJ Elan are frequent collaborators, and kicked off their set with 'All About Us'.
...and, the crowd bounces.
I wanna hold your hand?
The duo's set covered several of their popular tracks, which the audience seemed more than familiar with. Elan also threw in a remix of 'Sweet Dreams'.
Klein also sampled a couple of tracks by Bob Marley, referring to the reggae legend as the guy who liked to smoke a lot of weed. By this time, the crowd had expanded to form a raging dance party.
Turkish house DJ Koyu brought the groove to the party with his headlining set, sampling Basement Jaxx and MGMT, among others.
The overall scene during Koyu's set was a good indicator of the ideal Bloc Party vibe. The DJ also threw in some of his newer releases, including his recent collaboration with Dirty South.
What he said.
We spoke to Koyu earlier about his gear and his touring experiences, check out the interview here.
No standing only dancing
This guy followed the motto on his T-shirt almost religiously.
Always accessorize appropriately.
Happy dancers at Bloc Party were made happier by the various accessories on offer.
No drugs! No drugs!
These guys were very excited about MTV Bloc Party's no drug policy. Thus ended day one at the dance party of the month. Attendees could continue partyin' it up at Night Blocs, three simultaneous after-parties happening at different clubs around the area.
Day two at Bloc Party began in the early afternoon, with Hindi alt-rock act Safar kicking off the day's proceedings.
Who are Safar?
Safar comprises Jimmy Bhore (of Zygnema) on vocals, Akash on guitar, Asxem on bass, Jeremy D'Souza (of Goddess Gagged) on the drums and Omkar on Indian percussions and vocals. The band played a short set comprising original tracks, including 'Carvan'.
Beginning their set with 'March', Sky Rabbit set a great vibe for a breezy afternoon. The quartet played a tight, feel-good set that included gig regulars 'Anti-coke Ganpati' and 'I Become I'.
"This feels like a homecoming," frontman Raxit Tewari said of the gig, and the venue.
While the metal act may have been a slight misfit at the electronica-dominated event, Goddess Gagged played an extremely tight set which included regular songs as well as a new track.
Frontman Siddharth Basrur recently released a music video for 'Stay', off his solo project Chasing Rain. Check it out here
Mumbai's DJ Willy began his set with a sample of 'Riders On The Storm', going on to play an hour-long set that eased the audience into the mood for some house and techno beats.
Defected Records head Simon Dunmore and London percussionist Shovell played a two hour set, with the latter laying down some impressive beats over Dunmore's old-school house set.
The duo's collaborative performance set a good beach party-esque vibe, and the crowd gradually grew larger during the set. Check out our interview with Dunmore here.
The Drum Warrior
Shovell was decked out in his Drum Warrior regalia, lending a distinct visual and auditory style to his performance. The percussionist has immense energy, and did not stop throughout the set, moving seamlessly from one instrument to another within his elaborate setup.
Almost like a picnic.
While some people danced, some were just content to spread out on the grass and relax.
The party hat means business.
After two hours of classic house beats, no one was prepared for the bass attack that B.R.E.E.D unleashed upon the crowd.
Bounce with the bass
After a few seconds of being shellshocked with the sheer power of the wobbling bass, the crowd regained its senses enough to bounce around with renewed energy. "This is bass music like you've never heard before," said Nikhil Chinapa, and he was right, this crowd probably hadn't.
B.R.E.E.D loves you too.
B.R.E.E.D's grimy basslines were a welcome change from the previous beats, and the crowd didn't take too long to get used to the groove of his short set.
The New Zealand glitch-hop DJ was up next, dropping a bass-heavy mix on the audience.
More apt accessories
We found more sections of the audience looking very closely at the console through very funky glasses
Funk, soul, bass, love.
The Kiwi DJ's set was infused with old-timey funk and soul tracks, and the steadily growing crowd was spoilt for choice.
When at a party, dance.
Hark! The crowd doth dance to Opiuo's glitchy mixes
Swedish EDM prodigy Alesso was to headline the MTV Bloc Party, and cameras were whipped out in anticipation.
The 21-year-old Swede slammed out a powerhouse of a set, making sure the energy in the ground didn't drop for a single second.
He brings the crowd.
The lawn was packed all the way to the back, a massive fist-pumping crowd amassing almost out of nowhere.
"Emotion is Important" - Alesso
The young DJ has had an incredible 2012, and he told us all about it. Check out an interview with Alesso here.
The two-hour-long set made sure that the 1,000-strong crowd at MTV Bloc Party left happy. The first edition of Bloc Party was a grand success, and we're intrigued to see where it's going to go from here.