Snapshots From Future Music Festival Asia

11 April 2012

It’s always fun to travel with the hometown contingent to any festival. It’s even better when that contingent comprises of Pearl, Nikhil Chinapa and Jalebee Cartel. The fact that the destination was the debut of the Future Music Festival Asia, seals a very profitable deal.

Sprawled over the Sepang International Circuit, just outside Kuala Lumpur, FMFA had a lot riding on its shoulders. The Future Music Festival is an extremely well known Australian property, which carts itself from city to city across the continent annually. This year, they decided to conquer another part of the globe and set up shop in Kuala Lumpur after the festival finished its rounds Down Under. It was a one-day festival, which meant they had one day to make it or break it. We’re happy to report they made it!

The artist roster – spread over four stages – was exhaustive, including top-class acts like Tinie Tempah, Grandmaster Flash, Flo Rida, The Wombats, Holy Ghost!, Sneaky Sound System, Pendulum, Cosmic Gate, John ’00’ Fleming and Chase and Status. The icing on this four-tiered cake was the headlining act: The Chemical Brothers. Do not ask what went down during their three-hour set later that night. It’s hard to remember what happens when delirium is being induced.

To catch our delegation in action required a certain amount of legwork. The festival was designed in the shape of an “S” of sorts. The two main stages - Flamingo and Las Venus – capped a small hill, and were separated by a rather large VIP bar. A large Ferris wheel, more bars, and a live graffiti wall insured there was always hefty traffic in the area. The slope rolled into the main stage — the Future Music stage, which was also surrounded by more bars, a food court and the merchandise vendor’s section. The tail of the “S” sheltered the smaller, more indie Gnome stage. Electronically speaking, this is where the more hardcore sounds were being blasted. Pearl fit right in with her night-time slot. It was a big set for such a petite lady, weaving epic breakdowns with strong, progressive melodies. The glow sticks came out, and she transformed the whole area into a pulsating rave.

Chinapa and The Cartel shared the same slot, sadly. The Cartel took over the vast outside arena that was Las Vegas and had people swarming to hear their live set. They even happened to get honest-to-goodness-mobbed afterwards! Arjun Vagale of the band, after escaping unscathed said, “We had an amazing time at the festival. The set-up and organisation was par excellence, everything was really well thought off. To top it all our set was superbly well received, and it was surprising that we had so many fans in Malaysia.” The rave review continued with Ash Roy. He also talked about who the band was most excited to watch. “I think as an artist the fact that they had everything so well organised just amazed me. Everything was ready for us to go on stage to set up and perform on time“ he said. “My favourite act was the Chemical Brothers, whose set was spectacular. And course Chase & Status. I'm not a big fan of their music but their set-up, production and performance was just bang on.”

Chinapa, at the same time, was doing plenty well for himself, making it a three-for-three. He played right after Flo Rida, who cleared out the tent after he was done, as people were curious to catch other acts. You would think that would be a disaster, right? Not precisely. Chinapa described what went down best: "I came on after Flo Rida and had the unique experience of watching a stage go from 4,000 strong to 5 curious Malaysians trying to figure out who this Indian DJ was. What was very satisfying was being able to build the stage back to 4,000 people within 45 minutes, before handing it over to the next DJ, Eddie Halliwell." It’s the truth. He had them packed to the rafters and eating out of the palm of his hand, especially when he’d pick up the microphone to check in. You would think that all three would be tired after their sets. Let’s just say that the Chemical Brothers took care of the adrenaline.

Does Asia have a new epic festival to boast of? Quite simply… yes it does.


Words: Ambika Muttoo


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