Sonar 2013 – the music

To be honest I find describing music and artists equally boring as describing art.. However, I’ve decided to give it a go this time, as it’s difficult to mention a music festival without mentioning its musical acts.

After discovering the new venue of Sonar day Thursday afternoon, V had some meetings regarding Bridges for Music, hence I decided to check out Richie Hawtin’s free popup gig in its new location. The annual and very popular off-Sonar show is known to take place in La boqueria in Raval (read my post from last year’s Sonar here) and see , but has now moved to El Parque Ciutadella, near the harbour.

Stepping out of the metro 10 minutes away from the park I felt the typical mega-excitement among young Spaniards that already had lined up along the way for their botellon (expression for the concept of drinking plenty somewhere public before entering a party), and smiled my way to the park. Sweating too that is, because oh my it was cooking..

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The above pic shows how it looked when I arrived

and the below pic shows the crowd from stage, just when Rich started.

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As you see what started as a secret popup gig isn’t very secret anymore.

I’m not convinced if it was worth it missing out on Gold Panda at Sonar, but it was fun to catch up with the Minus guys again over some Sake and talk about last time we met – in South Africa – (read post from it all here) while bouncing to techno in the boiling heat. Also fun to see Rich’s parents who always are in Europe around this time; both so fresh, happy and easygoing.

Heading back to Sonar I was super eager to discover an artist I’ve read about lately, but never heard of before; the pianist Fransesco Tristano. And WOW: What an explosion of classical and electronic music mixed together, a rather unique experiment of pure and rough piano playing accompanied with deep bass in both melancholic and dance-rhythm like tunes. Kinda reminded me of some of the old sets of the Norwegian electronica and jazz artist Bugge Wesseltoft in his glory days.. Point is: not one single person was sitting down during the second half of the concert. Just amazingly refreshing and surprising all together! I’ll definitely continue checking on him from now on.

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Before Tristano we got a quick glimpse of Sebastian Tellier whose song La Ritournelle is one of my favorite of all times. As much as I’d like to hear that song being performed live I must say there is something with Tellier that just makes me see a big banner with PRETENTIOUS written over it. Why the attitude?

Finally, the two DJs hired to close Sonar Village on Thursday were the two Norwegian cutie-pies Lindstrøm and Todd Terje, with nothing but a live act! We met some friends by the bar and loved finally being able to stand under the sun. What I liked the most from the gig was to see how intensely the DJs were concentrated on their set, which was a fun contrast to the crowd that was going absolutely mental on the dance floor. And – maybe it was due to the crowd, maybe it was due to the sudden blissful feeling of summer – that made the DJs put on Whitney Houston’s “I wanna dance with somebody” as a closing track (!)…

Hahaha, true story!

Anyway…

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The best festi-day of them all was of course Friday when Annabelle came, a friend from the time I lived in Buenos Aires in 2007. We were actually at Sonar 2009 together when I met V on the dancefloor (yup, we have our anniversary during Sonar), but she hasn’t been since. Loving this year’s lineup Annabelle decided last minute to come for one day. Meaning I got to spend a full day with my favorite giraffe!

Look at her!

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Luckily, she came on the day with the Bridges for Music conference, which attracted over 200 persons and was delivered amazingly well by Bridges’ founder Valentino Barrioseta (yes, I’m proud of him and already wrote a post about it all), and that way got to understand more about what Bridges for Music is about after having heard me talk about it for months.

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Later – just like in the old times – the men had to go out networking so Annabelle and I ran out to the sun for some fun. We got to see the funky group Foreign Beggars at Sonar Village before we met some Spanish friends and increased the party level. Super Sonia brought with her the bartender gene like always, and started serving us shots of Tequila on the very dance floor.

That’s the way!

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Everyone was keen to see Matthew Herbert during the sunset at Sonar Village, and got likely disappointed by understanding he was doing a DJ set and not a live act. But the tequila helped.. and then Jamie Lidell came on stage. I think these moments of good music, random encounters with plenty of friends in the sunset hours are of my top favorite thing when on festivals.

Here some handsome up and coming Spanish DJ friends; Edu Imbernon in the middle with his friends Los Suruba.

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When we started to feel perfectly blurry Friday night, we had a quick burrito dinner on site before we took the bus to Sonar Night. The group to open Friday night was Kraftwerk, whom we obviously all were keen to see.

Thing is now that the festival fixers are getting smarter for each year, making sure to put some of the main headliners on early, meaning one can’t sit too long around the table after dining (or sit at all).

Upon arrival we were handed 3D glasses and suddenly we found ourselves in a hall with 4000 others with these on. Fabulous idea.

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Unfortunately I was way too happy to get it at all in the moment, but I had a lot of fun dancing on right hand side (I’ve read reviews of their new concert concept saying that the trick is to stand rather close to stage to get the 3D thing) afterwards. The two V’s kept buying Vodka Redbull and Annabelle just seemed to be in heaven, but then we understood we were in a festival again with a loooong lineup. We headed over to the Sonar Lab to see Nicolas Jaar, which has been one of my favorite artists the last two years..

Apparently I’m not the only one because that stage was crowded, man. It wasn’t possible to even hear the music well as Sonar Lab covers one of these rectangular long open air dance floors that everybody seem to be crossing at the same time in a steady flow. Disappointing!

However, after some radio cars we cheered up …

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And were ready to see the next gig on the list: Bat for Lashes in the Sonar Pub. Since I read they were playing at Sonar this year they were highest on my personal lineup of must sees – and yes – they delivered! It feels a bit random with such an organic, slow-styled gig during Sonar night, but it worked thanks to their electronic elements, the energetic singer Natasha Khan whom by the way is truly amazingly good live! And SEXY! She got this little touch of Bjork going on, which I’m sure she won’t mind being tagged as (and that she probably is aware of).

Here is one of their more up beat tracks:

From there on the night turned into a backstage affair with reunions with artists that we’d met South Africa some months ago. First we spent half an hour with the super nice Skrill crew, – with bulging eyes over the sick space ship on stage in which he perform his set. Again I say what I said after the first time I saw him live, the music isn’t my favorite but man is he a cool DJ! His energy and way of engaging with the crowd is very impressive!

We moved over to Richie Hawtin’s stage and from there Sonar was loads of fun people, champagne, laughter and crazy ideas. Basically Annabelle and I swayed our 1.83 m tall bodies into Saturday morning alongside people like Skrillex – that had come backstage to see Richie after his own set. C U T E

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A great Maya Jane Coles set later we were tired and went home where we smuggled Annabelle in to our rented room and got a few hours sleep before party day 2.

This got long, man and I gotta dash so the music and fun from Saturday has to be continued… if ever..

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