Just back from the year’s most exciting event on the music calendar, Sonar. Well, we came back a week ago but we have only just recovered.
Barcelona is our go-to place for a good time. It seems come June time, we always gravitate towards the Barcelona buzz. The food, the weather, the big drinks, the beach, city and a whole host of serious parties, that all come together in an addictive mix of the good life.
There really is magic in the air for Sonar. From the minute you arrive, you can almost feel party goers rubbing their hands together.
Sonar by Day, held in Fira Montjuic, is split into rooms with tech and art exhibitions run alongside. The main area is a huge open air terrace equipped with fake grass and a stunning backdrop and open sky, it’s hard to draw yourself away.
Damian Lazarus closed out Friday in a way only he can. His vibe, from the tunes he selects to his dancing, he energises a crowd in a way that's hard to explain. A master of his sound, he took Friday to the perfect level before the crowd moved on to Sonar by Night.
On Saturday we stopped to catch some tunes in the sunshine. Soulection were rocking the crowd. Followed up with the bassy Canadian band, ODC.
'Sonar by Night', held in Fira Gran Via is a venue of epic proportions. Once you’ve understood what seems like a maze of different areas, it’s beautifully laid out.
Exploring becomes a wander through the stages; Sonar Lab outdoors, to the circle of 'SonarCar' inside, to the open air 'Sonar Pub' and on to the massive warehouse space of the main room.
Every stage has something special going on at all times. There are acts you’ve never heard of doing truly epic sets in beautiful settings.
Friday night started for us with Anderson Paak kicking off with an absolute hit, Come Down, so there was no time to mess around. His set was vibing from start to finish with a mad energy and a smile even bigger. Barcelona was extremely happy to see him.
The end of Jon Hopkins’ set had the whole main room with hands in the air. The main room is a cavernous space and the vibe he had laid out was unbelievable. Energy levels were high as his set came to close, to await the arrival of Moderat.
Nicolas Jaar had Sonar Pub captivated. Playing live, his set was hypnotic. Derrick Carter showed what experience means. He played with an infectious energy, packed full of the kind of house we simply love. At 4 am Giggs showed London was more than in the house, the Sonar Pub was electric with Giggs' lyrics sung straight back at him.
The production is mind blowing in a way that isn’t big or mental; it’s so simply well done. From the nights with screens in SonarCar, dressed all in red, showing the DJs from left & right angles, in black and white, to the main room with lights stretching all the way down the ceiling so the projection on the big screens of the whole room is immense.
Saturday saw us take a turn around a few artists we’d never seen before and a lot of time enraptured by Seth Troxler and Tiga.
Justice did what they do best. Playing in the main room, perfectly suited to their epic lights shows and production, we caught the last of what seemed to be an epic set.
Avalon Emerson & Courtesy played a bouncy trip of a set as part of a series of festival collaborations they are doing this year. The duo took us on the perfect journey.
Later in the night, Vitalic Live was a ball of energy before we stopped off to close out SonarCar with Seth Troxler and Tiga. SonarCar was a sweatbox; a dark vibing place with two of our favourite DJs in perfect balance and most definitely having a good time themselves.
It could only be Marco Carola to close out Sonar. He took control of the main room, doing what he does best in a way that only a master like him could.
As we're leaving in amongst the crowds, spontaneous cheering breaks out. That's the vibe Sonar gives you. It's a true celebration and we can't wait to see what they have planned for their 25th edition next year.