Diplo delivers a night to remember in Islamabad

More than 2,500 people attend once-in-a-lifetime concert by renowned American DJ

Rahul Aijaz February 05, 2018

KARACHI: You enter Lake View Park and turn right. Pull the brakes and prepare to wait forever in the never-ending queue of cars and people walking all around. It's late Saturday afternoon and the Islamabad’s skyline is either breathing out music or I'm just hallucinating.

Nonetheless, the energy is undeniable. Thousands of people are headed in the direction of music. Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party is making its debut in Pakistan and all those who fill their lungs with delayed beats and ambient synth cannot wait to witness the live spectacle.


It takes a while for us to find a parking spot and make our way in. As we enter the gate, finally, the electric current flows in its thick wavy form in our direction. Music loops and loud, crowd cheers fade in. Funky lights illuminate the stage but that's all we can see, as people have gathered around on the stairs in a circle surrounding the fighting gladiators. Instead, tonight, Valentino Khan pumps up the audience with thumping beats and wakes their inner party animals up.


The venue isn't packed yet; it's too early for that. But the crowd slowly grows. Some can be seen walking around and eating by the nearby food stalls, others waiting for the party to heat up. And it surely does.

The sun sets and the party gets going. I step out for a while and when I return, it's nearly impossible to find a place where I won't be crushed under people's feet. The key here is to keep moving and dancing until your or your immediate circle's feet hurt.


You take one look around and observe the crowd. What you can mistake for shadows or silhouettes are black coats, hoodies and leather jackets. The young crowd of Islamabad's most posh neighborhood is here for what's been promoted as the biggest party of the year.

For a moment, you step away from the crowd to take in the bigger picture of the scene. This is the point where you realise the venue could have been bigger or the stage could've been better positioned as to allow a larger amount of people with a view of the performer and the performance. It's merely one DJ scratching on the discs or pressing buttons but there comes a different authenticity when you can watch someone play the music live. It screams you were there and you witnessed it happen in front of you.


This is also when you realise the sound isn't loud enough to penetrate and create an ecstatic atmosphere if you step away from the stage and the nearby vicinity. Enter into a club and you understand the power of the deafening buzz that makes you want to pay attention. It's then that you know that electronic music only gets you when it's too loud.

However, the quality of the music by all the artists, local or international - Mikki Murshed, DJ Chrome Sparks, Adil Omar and Talal Qureshi (SNKM) and Lyari Underground, among others, trumped the sound or venue flaws.

And by 9 pm, after much anticipation, the main event act began. Diplo, as part of Major Lazer, stepped on to the stage and played for about an hour. Never letting the crowd take a breather, he did what Busta Rhymes roared in C'Mon – his collaboration with Diplo and Tiësto: "We got 'em hypnotised.”


The American DJ brought the energy to an all-night high and set Islamabad ablaze. If you weren't dancing hard, you were a sinner.

While party may have been straight fire, Diplo didn't forget to thank the Pakistani people for their support and energy. After all, the point was to foster good relations between Pakistan and the US. On the other hand, part of the proceedings are to go to Sahil, an Islamabad-based NGO which works for child rights and protection.

What was nearly a perfect night ended and thousands marched out in clusters, perhaps still wobbling their heads to the tunes. The night may have ended but the music didn't.

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