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The Insider's Diary

Johnnie Walker – The Journey, 2015: You Had To Be Seen Here

Posted by: Liveinstyle on December 15, 2015

‘Surreal’, ‘Magical’, ‘Out-of-this-world’ – these are just some of the adjectives that dominated the social media posts in the wake of `Johnnie Walker  - The Journey’ festival  held on Saturday, December 12th. , which saw the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Explosions in the Sky and Tycho playing to a packed audience at Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio. So what was it really like?

The Journey So Far

In a short span of three years, Johnnie Walker – The Journey has managed to find a unique space amidst the clutter of December music festivals by following a simple tenet -- programming artists that are value for money for the steep ticket price. Also, the multi-disciplinary character of the festival, especially the presence of cinema in it, has attached a fair amount of aspiration value to The Journey; if you’re a ‘creative’ professional living in Mumbai, you have to be seen here. Like the past two years, the organization of the festival was largely smooth this time around as well.

Explosions In The Sky: The Real Headliners

Ahead of the show on Saturday, American post-rock instrumental act Explosions In The Sky’s guitarist Munaf Rayani [who has Pakistani roots] told us that it was his mom who couldn’t be more thrilled about their India debut. “This, to her, means that we’ve really accomplished something,” said Rayani. Well, we can say that Rayani and his band of boys did do his mom very proud that day. Endearingly dressed in kurtas, all members of the band displayed exceptional musicianship at this gig. Their set was replete with intriguing sonic textures and tones that have become their USP, eliciting consistently loud applause from both fans and the uninitiated.  

Tycho and His Cinematic Soundscape

With a constant ebb and flow of fascinating sounds, Scott Hansen aka Tycho’s set was no less enjoyable than EITS but we wish he’d been programmed before the band for the sake of maintaining a rising momentum. Hansen, who has been a solo producer for the larger part of his music career, is definitely blessed with a great band that ensures nothing is lost in taking the act from the studio to the stage. The producer played tracks from his 2014 album Awake as well as previous records such as Dive [2011] and kept each one of the compositions engaging also by means of interesting visuals. Crisp sound and genre-bending grooves made his set a joy to just close your eyes and listen to.

LEO Did Shake Our Perspective

If you enjoyed the theatre act Dislocate in 2013 and the inimitable Ouroboros – The Handspring Puppet Company in 2014, you probably came in expecting a more marvelous act. And LEO did turn out to be quite the stunner with its goosebumps-inducing mix of acrobatics-meets-theatres-meets-mime-meets-circus.  Well done, The Journey, in bringing mind-blowing fringe acts to Mumbai year after year.

Giorgio Moroder And Nostalgia Shots

The Italian DJ and producer sure knows how to drop nostalgia bombs, although we wished those bombs had come in a more rationed fashion. The 75-year-old emperor of disco chose to play some of his most iconic songs – Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”,“I Love To Love You Baby”and Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” – right at the beginning, switching to remixes recent hits such as Discipline’s “How Deep is Your Love” mid-set. The duration of each of his hits tracks could’ve definitely been longer, but we guess the veteran party-starter was only trying to pack in as many hits as he could in the time he had at the gig. The master blaster finished his set with Blondie’s 1980 disco dynamite “Call Me.”