Islamabad’s The Rock Musicarium, a venue that hosted prolific American DJ and record producer Diplo two years ago for the first time, once again breathed a familiar vibe as the Mad Decent Block Party descended on the Pakistani capital this Sunday.
Beginning at around 2: 00 pm and going on past 10:00 pm, the event headlined by Diplo’s hugely successful side project, Major Lazer Soundsystem, featured a combination of Pakistani acts as well as some electrifying acts such as Brooklyn-based Chrome Sparks and LA-based Valentino Khan.
Adil Omar and Talal Qureshi’s collaborative project, SNKM, took the stage and played a thrilling set that included some of their biggest hits such as ‘Nighat and Paras’ and several others, while reminding Islamabad just how good it felt doing so.
Other Pakistani artists who filled the day with beats and showcased just how good they are as entertainers include Shamoon Ismail, Mikki Murshed, Haider Mustehsan, Osama Cum Laude, Lyari Underground and a UAE-based artist Zoh.
While the gig brought electronic dance music, hip-hop, rap and many more such variations to the front, collectively this night was akin to not just a big party in the park but about the manifestation of club culture as more than 2500 people danced to the music. The club culture exists in Pakistan and it needs a place to thrive.
There were organizational flaws though. The stage needed to be elevated because a lot of people struggled to see the artists on top. Because too many people had been accommodated, there was a constant rush of crowd and there are some reports of women being groped; better management was needed. The sound went off on multiple occasions as well but it did eventually comeback.
As for two-time Grammy winning Diplo, he went on stage with his band members, surrounded by a circle of guards with fans cheering on all ends.
Upon entering the stage, Diplo’s Major Lazer Soundsytem not only played a set that included their biggest hits but iconic tunes from across genres as well. Theirs was a performance of collaborative fashion, as they asked fans to pitch in with their voices or “jump”. Diplo told Islamabad “you’re so beautiful, we love you” and that it felt great “to be back with you” and waved the Pakistani flag.
In a post-game interview, Mad Decent Block Party tour manager, Brandon, confirmed that there are plans to bring the festival to Karachi and Lahore as well.