17th International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art
This was the last Sonar edition underage, next year Sonar become 18 years old. The happy teenager left the youth with a A+ in school.
Difficult year in Spain, the crisis affected all the events but Sonar rise up and this year edition the festival got their record of assistance in their long history. More than 84.000 people attend the Festival and the Sonar by night was sold out.
First reviews of the festival were skeptical about this year line-up, but the crowd response with their willing to music, party and celebrate on of the most influential music event in the world.
The night of friday was a total record of assistance with more than 25.000 people.
Its important to emphasize that almost the 45% of the audience were foreigner, which is a huge success and shows the big importance the Festival have overseas. The professional and press attendance was increased with more than 1461accreditations.
The line-up: The Chemical Brothers, Roxy Music, LCD Soundsystem, Plastikman, Jónsi, Dizzee Rascal, Hot Chip, Broadcast, Flying Lotus, 2manydjs, The Sugarhill Gang…
This time lets make and overview through the Sonar by Day stages, starting with the Red Bull Music Academy at the SonarDôme. This stage have become over the years the people’s favorite venue, maybe because the green grass, or because the tent helps to get rid of the sun. The fact its that everyone have a good memory all over the years of the SonarDôme stage… I think there is people that spend the whole day there without moving.
This year the Dôme haved maybe the best selection of artist during the Sónar by day.
On friday the eccentric mexican rock and roll electronic provided by Teri Gender Bender started the show for the people that seems to come already warmed up and ready to dance non-stop.
Later on, the first day of Sónar was crowded, almost impossible to enter to the tent to welcome the Live show by Caribou. The electronic pop of the Canadians was one of the highlights of the day since they started with “Leave House”. It was hot, it was packed but it was so much fun to dance with the new sounds of the band named in the past Manitoba.
The Redbull stage continued presenting a big cocktail of music and early on friday was the time for the Colombian artist based in Barcelona Lucrecia Dalt. Lucrecia have the power to hypnotize a crow that was crazy for dance into a hard techno, she captivates the crowd with his space-pop, the tender voice and her presence. The audience were delighted to see the young local artist creating a universe by looping notes on guitar and bass. beautiful.
Friday at the Dôme it was the ladies day. A variety of music genres performed by womans from pop, to electro rhythms to soul and hip-hop. The last show of the day presented the artist from Uk, Goldielocks with a solid performance and dance breakers tunes connected with the audience.
Saturday was the time for sweet old school with Kenny Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann. The house legend put the Dôme upside-down with all time tunes and fantastic sampling, it was big time funky, soul, and hip hop with some big moments mixing. Moddymann is one of the most charismatic turntables and he showed his great taste in this session with authentic jewels of soul, big time funk and disco fever. The audience loved the fact that when he was asked to end up the show due to the time, he tooled the mic and said ” I don’t want to stop I still have records” great!.
After this overview of the SonarDôme, lets go inside the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art) to the SonarComplex Stage. For me this is one of the best stages in the whole festival, maybe not the most popular or crowded, but the one to take more risk and presents the most interesting bands and performer of experimental and avant-garde music.
And the first day the live show of DP-S the new project of Patrick Pulsinger exploring the sound of the analog and modular synthesizer. It was an incredible performance.
Right after for me one of the highlights of the whole festival, the live show by cult Krautrockers veterans Cluster presented a cosmic and minimalistic performance. This was a taste of the importance of SonarComplex , the first day was amazing, if other stages start the slowly, like warming up to end up the last day at the top, I think the Sonar Complex it started at the top already.
During the next days the Complex presented a selection of local music including the performance of bRUNA and his amalgam of electric and ambient sounds. The exoticism and colorful sounds of the local band Bradien were presented as a kaleidoscope mix of melodies and textures.
Another band with a experimental approach and a rich explosion of atmospheric textures is the local Narwhal that presented their live show early on Saturday. The freak folk and a origami of mixed references and kind melodies together with honest and straight up lyrics is the proposal by the Galicia artist Emilio José. Another artist presented t the Complex were Macromassa(Esp), Lesley Flanigan (US), and the american sound artist Phil Niblock together with Carlos Casas.
Tim and Puma Mimi
Outside between the CCCB and MACBA its the place for the big party stage SónarVillage, this is the biggest one, the one were everybody gets together to dance and party and the biggest names performs. There’s no experimental, ambient or dreampop, here is were the audience come to move their bodies. This year it was not an exception the crowd enjoys with the live shows of Tim and Puma Mimi with their energetic electro pop and a great Japanese vocalist.
Jimi Tenor with Afrobeat Band Kabu Kabu
The eccentric sounds and performance by the great Jimi Tenor that brings his Afrobeat Band Kabu Kabu was a fantastic show full of percussion, spatial melodies and vintage sounds. There is always a big band on the Village that make the people dance like a dancehall.
The cocktail of latin cumbia with punk rock, champed, reggae and folklore was coming from Colombia powerful Bomba Estéreo, the concert was one of the most unique performances of the festival by day, with the crowd shaking and jumping. The concert ended u with part of the audience dancing and singing with the band on the stage… latin rrriot !.
New Young Pony Club
We talked about big names, and one of the most expected were the UK band New Young Pony Club, the band came back to Barcelona after two years in silence and with a new record “The Optimist”. The band performed a great show and seems to still be fit which promises they will continue being a new rave punk reference.
One of the Spanish most active bands with tours all over is Delorean. They were presentd in the Village were the audience is mainly foreign but everyone seemed to know them and enjoyed so much the show. The Basque band is in a great moment and they showed on stage.
Inside the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Comteporánea) is located the SonarHall. This is one of the most difficult stages of the Sónar by Day ones. many of the greats shows take place in this stage and you have to be aware of the time is you wanted to make it through because it gets packed easily.
But with the incredible line-up the stage have its actually pretty normal.
The first day the presented one of the most expected performances ( the people was there taking position one hour earlier) the cult band from the UK, Broadcast presented a mystical sound-visual concert. It was like travel into the forest, unique and special.
Continuing with the dark atmosphere the show by Necro Deathmort using electronic and guitar to dig into the obscure drone and doom metal make the act to go down to the Sónar Hall a whole experience into the darkness.
The Slew featuring Kid Koala
The top performance of the Hall stage and maybe one of the most powerful show of all the Sónar by Day was the presence of The Slew featuring Kid Koala this show was fantastic. Kid Koala and Dynomite D together with two members of rock band Wolfmother.
After all the excitement provided by Sónar by Day its time to talk about the Night. The experience of Sónar by Night its completely different, sometimes it seems that the Fira 2 (Sonar by Night Venue) its like going to a new country. Its the total party and the place where the past, present and future get together. Every year its getting more crowded, so if this is a country will be something like China.
Even with the fact that the venue is hughe the performances are sometimes so expected that you are unable to move into the multitude.
The Sónar dy Night on Friday started with the live performance from the french duo Air, the show of this electronic landscape duo its a experience completed by the use of visuals, neon lights and aesthetic. Air is a band that continues playing the same atmospheric sound as years ago, it seems that the time have not pass trough them, but this is the magic of it.
Hot Chip at Sónar Pub was something different, it was a cocktail of sound, with no need for external imputs, visuals or effects their music was the starting point of the big party that happened on friday.
LCD Soudsystem with James Murphy surrounded by a big band played for one hour a repertoire from their 3 albums, hit after hit and the attendance was in total ecstasy. LCD Soundsystem have trough the years earned the status of one of the most important bands of the last years and with their performance at SónarClub they demonstrate that the public and critic its right about it.
The Sugarhill Gang
Thought all there was time for maybe the best show of this year festival. The old school pioneers of Hip Hop, the “Rappers Delight” The Sugarhill Gang makes the audience get crazy and dance non stop with the classic super hits and the band members showed up a energy and charisma that no other band showed on stage this year. it was a great show, the hip hop legend showed were it all come from. They remember Michael Jackson and keep the crowd on ecstasy for the whole show. Great!
On Saturday night after a exhausting Sónar by Day full of emotions, we have to run to attend the expected returns to Barcelona of Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay Roxy Music. The audience at the SónarClub for this show was formed by the parents of the audience that were also there in other stages. The last time Roxy Music played in Barcelona most of the people who attended Sónar weren’t even born.
Roxy Music still have the touch and Bryan Ferry was really energetic, the three cult members have a great band of musicians that completes the sounds and make their mitical hits sounded as fresh as before.
Right after at the SonarPub the Live show by Sigur Rós frontman presenting his new project Jónsi. The show its like a magical trip with the support of beautiful visual of animals in the forest and the incredible voice of Jón Pór Birgisson. I must admit that if you close your eyes (so you cannot see the band) its a bit like being in a Sigur Rós concert, but anyway, its always exquisite.
Angel Molina Dj set before of Dizzee Rascal show was really incredible by the visual effect of a dancer with a sit full of little mirrors (like a Disco ball) with laser light protections that creates a wonderful explosion of light.
And then Dizzee Rascal showed up why he is one of the most respected and influential hip hop artist in the UK, performing songs from his latest album “Tongue`n´Cheek”, Rascal its a bomb on stage and the show was fun and energetic.
Matthew Herbert’s one Club is actually Matthew Herbert doing whatever he wants on stage and he proved on the SonarPub with a eclectic show. Really bizarre sound and electronic mixtures. But we all know Herbert performances and this was another unexpected and enjoyable one.
The Chemical Brothers
To end the Sonar 2010 Edition not of the people head to the SonarClub for receive the super expected show by The Chemical Brothers.
The Chemical Brothers
The shows of the Duo have became one of the most expectcular experiences nowadays in a music spectacle. This was not the exception. The huge space of SonarClub was overcrowded by people ready to lost their minds with a unique show.
The Chemical Brothers
And it was like that the show presented the most advanced technology and the hit of the Chemicals are received as the anthems of the ecstasy and wild party.
After a weekend that seems like a month, running from stage to stage, jumping, dancing and screaming another edition of Sonar passed through are bodies and minds. Next year Sónar will celebrate his18th years old Edition and everything announces that it would be big.
Date: June 18th, 19th, 20th, 2010
Place: CCCB, MACBA, Centre d’art Santa Monica
Address: Montalegre 5, 08001 Barcelona
Text: Julio Cesar Palacio from Panopttic
Photos: Julio Cesar Palacio from Panopttic