We arrived at Sonar by Day Festival on the Thursday and after an incredibly efficient backstage pass collection we enjoyed welcome beers whilst walking around the exhibition stalls centered around electronic technology. There was one art installation that for me was beyond incredible; Imposition- the collaboration between Daniel Schwarz and Davide Cairo is an audiovisual performance. Dark, blurry electronic music in which non-linear rhythms meld with hypnotic, abstract visuals. Image and sound go hand in hand; each influences the other, feeds off the other and in this fusion they play with the perception of space and reality.
We later went on to check out James Murphy and 2ManyDjs in Despacio, presented by the prestigious American audio company Mcintosh. Despacio is a new unique clubbing experience designed so that the focus is on the partygoers’ experience instead of the stage spectacle that has become so common in music today. A pitch black circular space with speakers all around the edge makes for an incredible show yet unfortunately this didn’t stop a huge amount of people flooding to find the DJ booth thrusting mobile cameras into James Murphy’s face. This was something that later urged Murphy to hang a hand written sign asking for people to put the cameras down and enjoy the moment they’re in, just for today.
Admittedly I’ve never been a fan of WoodKid but in my ecstasy state of mind, I went with the flow and was truly blown away by the show. The monochrome visuals and the band’s all-black look worked harmoniously with their moody, orchestral and atmospheric performance. After standing on stage for part of their set I really felt the reciprocal energy from the crowd- both the entertainer and the audience are working together.
Finding the backstage bar was like finding water in the Sahara. The Sonar venue is colossal, but the backstage areas are even bigger- one walk way hosts an airport moving walk way with birds-eye views of the entire festival. It’s fair to say, we accidentally found this small, lantern-lit sanctuary of a terrace filled with the likes ofNile Rodgers, James Murphy and Neneh Cherry. Everything was free and everything was unlimited, forcing us to take advantage and act as the drink mules to our friends in the main arenas.
I was a little apprehensive about coming to Sonar- being naïve enough to think it was just a haven for drug fuelled kids to enjoy the latest techno. It is so far from that- much more than a festival. It offers education in electronic music, pushes technology through innovation workshops and entertains through an array of carefully chosen acts and installations. The crowd was far from trashy, instead welcoming clean, crisp dressers wearing colorless outfits that complimented the cold concrete and steel aesthetic of the festival.
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