When I first saw the promotional video for this year's “Closeup Volt”, I was amazed. The event, which was organised by the brand, Closeup on December 27, 2014 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka, was more than just a concert; it was a celebration of the young and talented artists who are trying to do something new. The underlying objective of the brand was to create a platform for the opposite sexes to come closer. The evening – filled with music, dance and other performances – was a perfect and much-needed retreat from the busy city life, with one's friend or significant other.
The gates were supposed to open at 4pm, and a long queue formed outside the auditorium from an hour earlier. While there was a slight delay, it was made up for when all the guests received gift merchandise from Closeup in the form of some cool wristbands and jackets. Each and every individual could choose the colour of their wrist band based on their relationship status (green meant “single”, red for “dating” and blue for “complicated”). Once we checked in our tickets and moved through the tunnel into the hallway in front of the auditorium, we were amazed to see a number of very unique activity booths. Automated photo booths were set up which took pictures of couples only when they came close to each other, and a couples' photography competition started, where the couples had to comply to the event's tagline, “Dare to Get Closer.” The top three couples who stood the closest were later revealed during the show, and they received Samsung Galaxy phones from Closeup. There was also a “Dare Dial” for couples, with dares like “Enact a romantic scene from a famous film with him/her” or just simply “Kiss him/her”. Winners from this booth won themselves a jacket in which a couple could snuggle into. Similarly, numerous selfie booths were set up throughout the venue for the guests' convenience.
Inside the concert hall, the stage was beautifully set up. The large screen at the back remained active all through the evening with some superb visuals. However, the lights dimmed suddenly and electronic music started playing, and with it came on a spectacular laser show, which hinted at what lay ahead.
This segment was opened by Arbovirus, with lights on their jackets, illuminating their performance. The band was joined by Turjo (drums), Salekin (guitars), Tawfique (rap vocals), Saad (synth), and Shanto (beatboxing). They started with an out-of-the-box rendition of Queen's “We Will Rock You”, and that clearly was something the crowd wasn't expecting; that didn't keep them from singing along though. The eight other numbers that Arbovirus and company performed included covers like Linkin Park's “Numb” and “In the End”, Blur's “Song 2”, and Arbovirus' original songs like “Keu Karo Noy”. Sohini from Khiyo joined them for the last performance in the segment, another electronica influenced rock rendition of the band's famous song, “Hariye Jao”, which the entire crowd knew by heart and sang along. Nafeez, the band's drummer, took the opportunity to crowd surf during this time. This segment of the show was quite experimental, but one that successfully got the crowd up and moving.
After a short break, transitioning two segments, Naur Fire Spinners took the stage with a spinning act that righteously matched the music playing in the background. After them, Kadin and Zayan of Bedheadz came on stage. The young music producers featured their electronic dance music, including house and deep house. The duo played tunes such as The Chainsmokers' “#SELFIE” and Krewella's “Alive”, as the lasers danced, creating a party mood.
Bedheadz was followed by a masked trio, called Appeirus. It didn't take them long to mark their presence, as they immediately made the crowd dance to their electronic renditions of famous tracks like Linkin Park's “Numb”, LMFAO's “Party Rock Anthem” and Michael Jackson's “Beat It”. They stayed for quite some time, but for not a second did the crowd get bored. It was impossible not to dance to their party tunes.
But wait, there was more. It was Author's turn (Sarfaraz & Misha) to groove. Theirs was one of the most enjoyable performances of the evening, as the dance crew Anonymous freestyled and performed choreographed hip-hop to Author's music. There was rap as well. The best part came next, as a fashion show showcasing futuristic designs by Radiant Institute of Design was underway, while Author continued their groove.
The host, Sarzina, announced that it was time for the final and most awaited segment of the evening, Stellar Storm.
AvoidRafa came next with the Beatboxer Shanto, and they remained till the end of the show. Rafa himself assumed his position at centre of the stage and he added an electronic touch to the songs from that point. Zohad and Zerif from Nemesis joined AvoidRafa first, and covered U2's “With or Without You”, and Nemesis' own hit, “Kobe”. Powersurge's Jamshed entered as Zohad and Zerif exited. Jamshed worked the crowd with Nirvana's “Smells like Teen Spirit” and Disturbed's “Down with the Sickness”.
Lincoln from Artcell was next. He toned down the aforementioned heat with a rather experimental, yet soothing, rendition of his band's songs, “Tomake” and “Pothchola”. In between the songs, he confided to the audience that this was a new experience for him. That having said, the audience didn't mind the minor lapses in his performance. After Lincoln's exit, AvoidRafa and Shanto performed Linkin Park's “Crawling”. Bangladeshi YouTube sensation, Xefer Rahman, was up next and sang Imagine Dragon's “Radioactive”. She was joined by rap artist G.Sifz, and they performed Eminem's “Stan”, with a sudden mash-up of “Drop the World” and “Lose Yourself”.
Elita doesn't need an introduction. As her name was announced, the crowd went berserk. She made a short appearance, and just sang one song, “Hridoy”. Ozzy, a young musician, took the stage after Elita and covered Gorillaz's “Feel Good Inc.” It was after him that the audience actually went crazy, for BassBaba Sumon appeared on stage. With Rafa backing him up, Sumon sang Aurthohin's, “Amjonota”, ending the song and his performance with a bass solo, although the audience wasn't prepared to let him go.
If you think that was all, you're mistaken. With his acoustic guitar and lyrical genius, Arnob appeared on stage, and did an interesting rendition of his own track, “Bakshe Bakshe”. The crowd was indeed disappointed when Arnob left after just one performance but they didn't remain as such for long, as Rafa introduced the next artists. Performing together on stage after eight long years, former members of the band Black, Jon and Tahsan, surprised the crowd. The duo introduced each other, and together performed the song “Tobu Keno”, which was recently composed by Rafa himself. The emotions ran high. This brilliant performance was followed by Rafa singing Coldplay's “A Sky Full of Stars”, as the audience gradually started to leave. And AvoidRafa thus marked the end of the Stellar Storm segment, and the event itself.
It was a great way to bid farewell to 2014. “Closeup Volt” was indeed the most electrifying event of the year! Live2 was the event partner who managed the whole event from planning to execution, while SHOUT was the print media partner of the event.