What Went Down: Future Music Festival Asia 2014 @ Bukit Jalil National Stadium

source: Ashish Parmar

Text Isaac Miranda

Day 1 – Opening Party feat. deadmau5 and Friends
Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) was always going to be interesting this year. With all the controversy surrounding Malaysia, from how our authorities were able to find a tiny fertilising cell in a man’s posterior, but not one of the largest technological marvels known to man, the festival was supposed to be a welcome respite for us to let loose and take a breather. Of course, you can’t please everyone. Murmurings were to be heard around the block about how dance beats and hip hop rhymes had toppled guitar driven rock; nary an analogue band with guitar strings were to be found roaming the Bukit Jalil showgrounds after all. This would be the year where electronic acts cemented their spots at the top of the musical food chain.

Doors opened at four to a largely nonexistent audience. Over 80,000 people bought tickets to the event, and yet you could probably hear a pin drop onto the tarred grounds if not for the thumping bass grooves by some of Malaysia’s top DJs. The party tarmac was mostly empty for the first hour or so save for a couple of maniacal gwai los. Thankfully, the party started to pick up towards the end of Eva T’s set, and into the start of BATE’s. Despite playing tight sets, it’s obvious that some of our freshest still have much room to bloom and blossom.

With the city plagued by the haze, many partygoers could be seen with safari-themed masks in the sweltering heat. Everyone could be forgiven for rushing into the indoor air-conditioned bar as the first raindrops started to pelt down. But it was indeed a sight to behold when practically the entire audience rushed towards the stage in the pouring rain as Canadian duo Adventure Club dropped their first beats. This was what the festival was supposed to be about. The pop punk (we know, unbelievable right?!) group who turned the EDM world upside down played one of the best setlists JUICE enjoyed throughout the entire festival, incorporating elements ranging from samples plucked  from metal behemoths Bring Me The Horizon to their own collaborative works with singers across the globe. They sent the crowd into hysterics, with Christian stagediving into the maniacal crowd towards the end of their set. We know they’ll be back, and we hope it’s soon.

By the time the boys were finished, the sun had set and there was no better way to kick off the night than with Australian prodigy Will Sparks. Clad in nothing but his boxers and a tee the Melbourne native electrified the crowd, just like he did in Zouk KL a couple weeks prior as his mix of hard and progressive tracks got the audience animalistic and craving for more. It’s hard to imagine that he was still living with his mom less than a year ago. See? There’s hope for all of us bottom-dwelling moochers to become internationally renowned spinners.

By the time the ethnically exotic R3hab took the stage, row upon row of grinning youngsters and frenzied raveheads were plodding the terra firma while waving their arms in the air like they were participating in some sort of sacrificial ritual. If Livescape intended their safari-themed festival to convert everyone to ancient animistic beliefs, they certainly seemed to have achieved their goal. The Dutch DJ (okay, come on, how is it that a country with barely a sixth of our population keep churning out so many members of electro royalty!?) set the stage alight with his signature brand of dark dutch house. Mr. Fadil El Ghoul (see, some spirits must have been involved!) set the tone for the rest of the night, the very person we were all there to be entranced by.

Time for deadmau5, one of the bastions of the ever-evolving dance world. Through all the fads and flimsy producers in eternal flux, Joel Zimmerman has been away at it, constantly churning out hit after hot hit. Despite the somewhat ridiculous mau5head, there is no doubt that this man deserves to be billed and respected the way he is, and he closed the show with much aplomb after ripping apart everything that we ever imagined dance music to be like and stitching it back together in his own fashion. Leading the massive crowd like the pied piper, Deadmau5 crafted a journey through his huge discography with moments bordering on pindrop silence swinging back towards bass heavy drops with textures  unbeknownst to the bewitched crowd prior to this. Somewhere at this point JUICE just lost it and woke up the next day in a strange hotel room in Chow Kit with a bunch of Singaporeans. Such was the magic of deadmau5.

Sponsored by Asahi, Future Music Festival 2014 Opening Party featuring deadmau5 and Friends went down on the first day of FMFA on Thursday 13 March ’14.