Gig Review: Sunburn Arena: Hardwell’s ‘I Am Hardwell’ Tour With Dannic In Mumbai

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“I AM HARDWELL…AND THANK YOU MUMBAI….YOU HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC TONIGHT..!!”

Over the past year, an array of DJ’s have made their way onto our shores and into our hearts. And almost each and every one of these artists, have certified how zealous Indian fans and their intense passion lends an infectious energy to them which marks an important phase in their Tour calendars. So, when the world renowned Spaceman acknowledges a packed arena of some 10,000 of his loyal devotees with words of praise, you are assured that we have cemented our spot on the Dance Music Map as one of the World’s favorite audiences.

26-year old Robbert van de Corput, or as we all prefer to call him-Hardwell, bought his ambitious concept ‘I am Hardwell’ world tour to Indian shores (Remember how we bought this exclusive news to you back in July!). Partnering with the Sunburn Arena, the Dutch artist presented everything he stands for in a long, extensive three-hour DJ performance. Playing with his good friend and a powerhouse performer in his own right Dannic, Hardwell ensured euphoria as the night was soaked with heavy basslines, beautiful visuals, ceremonious jumping and a slight hint of rain as well! The ‘I am Hardwell’ concept that made its debut in Amsterdam in April 2013, is a result of Hardwell’s own vision and together with his signature musical productions, remixes and mashups, this has led to a brand new dance event.

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Hardwell is one of the most popular DJs in the world and ranked #6 in DJ Mag’s 2012 Top 100 DJ survey up from #24 in 2011. In the year 2013, Hardwell has more #1 hits than any other DJ on the planet. But it all began for the Dutchman at the tender age of 13, when he began to try his hand at DJing. His international breakthrough however came with his “Show Me Love vs. Be” bootleg, which became one of the popular and played dance hits of 2009 and still finds its place on playlists in dance clubs today. Hardwell and his musical styles have been a constant driving force that have shaped the world of dance music today. Widely acknowledged for his elaborate mashups and remixes, Hardwell has imprinted his name in the Dance Music History books as one of the industry’s most prolific performers and artists. While his own productions are characterized by complex drum synths and melodic riffs, Hardwell’s remixes too instantaneously find their way on the dancefloor from the moment of their release. For a man who has defined the ultimate-festival-going-experience for dance music fans, Hardwell coming to India again was nothing short of an incessant dream turning into a reality for most of us!
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The atmosphere outside the venue was electric. There were huge queues of fans with an insatiable hunger to be blown away by the powerhouse duo that were to perform. The gates opened by 5 pm and there was a huge swarm of buzzing kids and adults alike rushing inside the venue. From then on, the entry points were witness to a relentless flow of people, curious to experience the I AM HARDWELL phenomenon that was taking the dance music world by storm.

By around 05:30 pm, the wheels to a power packed and thrilling evening were set into motion by Dannic, who took to the stage. Daan Romers (in real life) is a producer and mash-up maestro from Breda in the Netherlands – the hometown of Tiësto, Funkerman & Hardwell. He  won the Dancetour DJ contest in 2009 and a slot playing his productions to an audience of 10,000 people. The following year his remix of Funkerman’s Automatic won the Funkerman remix contest and got himself added to Hardwell’s new label Revealed Recordings. Those in the know already knew he was one to watch, but to a wider audience, Dannic had arrived.

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Dannic started what could only be described as nothing short of an  absolutely smashing and phenomenal set (as he is already very well known for), with a very curious, yet demolishing mash-up of Breach’s Jack and his very own Viper. The vocals to Jack and the spectacular beat and synth heavy hook to Viper, grabbed everyone’s attention instantly. Within seconds of him pushing play, the crowd turned into a frenzy of bumping fists, stomping feet and hand waves.  From this moment on, we knew were in for an absolutely spectacular treat.

From then on he treated us to a delicious mash up of Fedde Le Grande’s Back & Forth with HIIO’s Get Up and his very own smasher, Tombo. After which, he managed to pull on the heart strings of everyone gathered by transitioning into his remix of Arty, BT and Nadia Ali’s emotional Must Be The Love. Everyone around, had huge smiles on their faces while their feet pounded away to his thundering beats. From here, he moved onto his edit of The Wanted’s We Own The Night, a track that has been garnering a huge amount of praise by critics and dance music enthusiasts alike.

The crowd went wild with every transition he made, and the arena resounded with constant cheers and woots as Dannic kept spinning, jumping behind his turntables.  He carried on to drop his remix of the ethereal Strong by Kid Massive & Alex Says with Miella’s heavenly voice on vocals. He then got the audience to sing along to the Acapella of Sunrise(Won’t Get Lost) as he mashed it up with the very grinding remix of Franky Rizardo & Roul And DoorsElements. 

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By then, though almost everyone present had been relentlessly dancing, not one single individual showed signs of slowing down. Neither did his set. He kept the energy going and raised it even higher with each progressive mash-up, drop and transition. Effortlessly flowing from one track to another.  He further proceeded to push the crowd to the limits, dropping monster electro bangers such as Prototype by Don Diablo & CID and
Nicky Romero’s Underground, and the most recent Sick Individuals, Axwell and Taylor Renee collaboration, I Am.

Having raised the energy around the arena already to it’s peak, he proceeded to treat us to what he’s so very well respected and known for. His mash-ups. He killed the audience with his mash up of his most recent release Rocker with  Nari & Milani’s Atom and Maarcos vs. Michael Calfan & AxwellBlaze (Dirty south edit) vs Resurrection (Dannic Bootleg), the acapella to Syndicate of L.A.W’s Right on time with his very own Clobber. 

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By this time around, the arena was already filled with sea of people, lost in their own grooves while Dannic continued to dish out destroyer after destroyer of some of the most electrifying production in recent times.  He played his remix Example’s Say Nothing, Followed by the AdamTay & Adam Marcos mash up of Clobber, this time with Fedde Le Grande’s and Nicky Romero’s Sparks.

Everyone was so lost in Dannic’s mesmerizing set, that we hadn’t realised it was coming to a close.  He ended his power house performance with the enthralling Viper, followed by 3Lau & Paris & Simo Feat Bright Lights’ Escape, and finally he ended with the perfect icing on the cake of his absolutely tantalising set with his remix of Nicky Romero & Nervo’s Like Home. His set sent the entire audience into a tizzy with barely enough time for us to recover for the gargantuan act that was up next.  By now, I’m sure, most of the crowd had already received way more than they had expected from the evening.

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At about quarter to 7, the arena went dark and the ringing wave pads grew increasingly louder, causing the ground to tremor and crowd to rise into ritualistic cheers. The artwork and visuals on the side screens came to life, as the announcer presented the ‘I am Hardwell’ presentation. Images of Hardwell and crowds dancing feverously flashed onto the now dark arena as all eyes and camera lenses were focused on the main stage. With rumbling beats and a ticking melody, the presenter announced, “LADIES & GENTLEMEN…WELCOME……HARDWELL!”, and out popped Robbert from behind the console. With hands raised and the ‘I Am Hardwell’ intro track ringing in the background, Hardwell had arrived to Mumbai!

Already raring from the energy from Dannic’s opening set, which the crowd received with alacrity, Hardwell simply rebounded some of that energy when he dropped a massive mashup of Jewelz & Scott Sparks vs. Swedish House Mafia & Knife Party vs Eric Prydz vs. Hard Rock Sofa & Swanky Tunes with ‘Flashbang vs. Antidote vs. Every Day vs. Here We Go’ . And after a colossal mashup like that, the crowd was further rewarded with one of India’s favorite anthems of recent times Alesso vs. One Republic’s ‘If I Lose Myself (Alesso Remix). Next, what followed was an illustration of poetic justice and an example of how the universe conspires to give one something when they want it the most!

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As Hardwell dropped the anthemic mashup of Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford vs. Henry Fong & Toby Green’s  ‘Sun & Moon Revival (Hardwell Mashup)’, and as the warm and comforting voice of Mr. Bedford indicated to us, “its raining, its pouring…”, right from a scene of a delightful movie, the heavens parted and the skies rumbled as rain came trickling down onto the arena drenching everyone in a state of ecstatic bliss! It seems that even the weather Gods had approved Hardwell’s impressive playlist, as apart from the welcome downpour to the melodic mashup, the rains didn’t play spoilsport to the event any further.

Hardwell, through the course of the night dropped some seasoned hits and the latest chart toppers, to ensure that the crowd got their envisioned ‘Biggest party ever’! With tracks such as Alesso feat. Matthew Koma’s ‘Years (Vocal Mix)’Zedd feat. Foxes’s ‘Clarity (W&W Bootleg)’ and Martin Garrix’s ‘Animals’, one can say that Hardwell got the obvious out of the way! From his own backyard, he bestowed upon us some rockers such as his collaboration with Dannic’s ‘Kontiki’Blasterjaxx’s ‘Fifteen (Hardwell Edit)’, his collaboration with MAKJ’s hot and fresh ‘Countdown’ and the ceremonial collaboration with Dyro feat. Heather Bright’s ‘Never Say Goodbye’.

Never a disappointment with his mashups and always surprising us with those sneaky acapella’s, the night was flooded with Hardwell’s creativity. With a storming mashup of Ivan Gough vs. Steve Bleas & Stevie Mink vs.Hard Rock Sofa & Swanky Tunes vs. Tiesto vs. Avicii & Nicky Romero’s Boom! vs. Here We Go (Acapella) vs. Chasing Summers (Quintino & R3hab Remix) vs. I Could Be The One (Acapella)’Deorro vs. Krewella’s Yee vs. Alive (Hardwell Remix)’Tiesto & Hardwell vs.Steve Aoki feat. Wynter Gordon vs.Pendulum’s ‘Zero 76  vs. Ladi Dadi (Tommy Trash Instrumental Mix) vs. The Island (Acappella)’ and Hardwell vs. Matt Caseli & Danny Freakazoid vs. AutoErotique & Felix Cartal & Charlie Darker’s Encoded vs. Raise Your Hands vs. The Alarm (Hardwell Mashup)’ for starters, Hardwell further propelled us into a higher state of dance with mightier smash-ups such as Jordy Dazz vs. Linkin Park vs. Chuckie & Glowinthedark’s ‘At Night vs. Numb vs. Who Is Ready To Jump (Hardwell Smashup)’Empire of the Sun vs. W&W & Ummet Ozcan vs. Daft Punk’s Alive(Zedd remix) vs. The Code vs. Harder Better Faster Stronger (Hardwell Mashup)’Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell & T.I vs. Showtek & Justin Prime’s Blurred Lines (Will Sparks Remix) vs. Cannonball and Hardwell vs. Above & Beyond‘s ‘Thing Called Spaceman (W&W Mashup)’! Whew!

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Tired legs, aching backs and sore throats could not prevent us from raving harder and harder even as the night progressed! It’s not everyday that you are in the presence of legends in the form of the beloved Spaceman! Hardwell repeatedly took to the mic on several occasions pushing the audience to cheer, scream, clap and of course “JUMP“! An exhaustive three hour set had a plethora of tracks for the attendees to rave on, and with tracks such as Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX’s ‘I Love It (Sick Individuals Remix)’Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie’s ‘This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix)’Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch’s ‘Sweet Nothing (Tiesto Remix)’Florence & The Machine vs. Dada Life’s ‘Sometimes I Just Wanna Say My Name (Dannic Mashup)’ and Bruno Mars’s ‘Locked Out Of Heaven (Sultan & Ned Shepard Remix)’), Hardwell ensured we were singing along as well!

The final hour of his set saw a surge of relentless energy from the audience members as the chanting and cheering never ceased for a quantifiable amount of time. Hardwell, who was feeding off the crowd’s overwhelming energy the whole time, let sparks fly in his final hour as he dropped some of the biggest monsters of the night. With mighty mashups like Mightyfools ft. Alesso’s ‘Calling the Footrocker (Hardwell UMF2013 remix)’Chuckie & JunxterJack vs. Showtek’s ‘Make Some Noise vs. Slow Down (Chuckie Edit)’ and the legendary Nari & Milani & Maurizio Gubellini & Delayers vs. Otto Knows vs. One Republic’s ‘Million Atoms To Apologize (Hardwell vs. Thomas Gold Edit)’, Hardwell blew the metaphorical roof of the open air arena with other monsters such as Krewella vs. Avicii vs. Bingo Players’s ‘Live For The Night (Instrumental) vs. Wake Me Up (Acapella) vs. Buzzcut’ and Hardwell & Showtek vs. Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E’s ‘How We Do vs. Need U (100%) (Acappella)! A special moment came late in the night when Hardwell dropped the massive Tristan Garner vs Nirvana’s ‘Teen Overdrive (MAKJ & Chuckie DBag MashUp)’, as the younger audience members found a connect to those rebellious Nirvana lyrics!

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As surreal as the night had been, all with spectacular visuals, the flying confetti’s, the smoke guns and the laser fields, the night was undoubtedly about the love & passion shared between one man and 10,000 of his loyalists. With final mega mashups including Alvaro & Mercer feat. Lil Jon vs. Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs Sander Van Doorn’s ‘Welcome To The Jungle vs Californication (Acapella) vs Project T’Kid Cudi feat. MGMT ‘Pursuit Of Happiness (Steve Aoki Remix)’ and Alesso & Dirty South vs. Dada Life’s ‘City Of Epic Dreams (Chuckie Mash-up)’, Hardwell added the famous brake stutter effect to bring the night to a close under the backdrop of the incessant cheering of thousands. Hardwell praised the crowd as fantastic and bid adieu but soon after, Joint MD of Percept, Shailendra Singh took to the stage. He further went on to state how ‘…Mumbai is the capital of EDM…‘, arousing thunderous roars from the departing crowds. And with that came to close, a night of dance music revelry with arguably, one of the finest DJ’s and performers of our time!

Check out our Favourite Ravers & Top 10 Tracks dropped at the gig!

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Special Thanks to Sunburn Festival!

Reviewed by Hamed Khalidi & Shule Puri

Edited by Angelica Pereira

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7 responses to “Gig Review: Sunburn Arena: Hardwell’s ‘I Am Hardwell’ Tour With Dannic In Mumbai

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