This time we can start with the easy part–the daytime. I slept through most of it, then sat on the beach and ate a huge plate of tiny broiled squids.
Nighttime gets a little bit more complicated. Here’s some background. Sonar By Night takes place about a 15 minute bus ride away from the center of town, around a mountain that has a cemetery built into the side. The venue resembles a large convention center in the middle of an industrial park. The venue itself is massive–about 10,000 squared meters, they say, and that means four giant hangar-type spaces to cram people. Two are essentially that; traditional hangars, while two are longer and thinner and have no roof. After steaming at Nitsa the breeze was a welcome ally.
So, you get bussed out to the spot and after that what you get up to is anyone’s guess. But it probably involves freaky music, dancing and intoxication. There’s plenty of open space, enough to play tag, do a conga line or just writhe around on the floor (yes, I saw all of those things happen.) The first folks I got a chance to see were the Pigna People, of the label with the same name. I was very impressed with one of their members, Raiders of the Lost Arp, several years ago, so I was looking forward to seeing what he sounded like with a few co-conspirators. They delivered the shimmering Italo-house I was missing. The MFA played live next in the Sonar Club. Some hits came out– “Disco 2 Break” to mention just one. I was a little surprised the Spaniards were getting into that atmospheric stuff, but Miss Kitten playing next may have helped. She’s huge here. Next came an unenthusiastic Matthew Dear as Audion. It may be me, but the last few times I’ve seen him he’s seemed pretty detached. The “Take Me Home, Country Roads” award goes to Diplo and A-Trak, who got into the usual mashiness and scribbling. Diplo dropped TI’s “What You Know,” and that was enough to inject a little bit of gangsta in my evening. Ryan Elliot dropped Aaron Carl’s “Down,” also covered by Aguayo the night before, making it the ersatz song of the festival. I’d figured on “Rej” by Ame (caned by Hawtin later on) or “Falling Up” (which I hear has been saturating Berlin).
Big stars of the night, though, were Hawtin and Villalobos. They went on at around 4:45 and played until 7:15. I’d seen Hawtin a few weeks before at DEMF and was nonplussed, but the Chilean injects a certain funkiness that seals the tasty package and wraps it in a bow of jamon Iberico. Towards the end Hawtin bounced around pleading for one more record, some nuts climbed a light tower and it got brighter and brighter as things wrapped up.
Getting back to Barcelona proper was a bit of an adventure. Imagine thousands of f-ed up kids trying to get onto five busses (only five because one cannot come until one is loaded and leaves). Things would have gone smoothly if the busses were free, but they weren’t. So you can imagine the nonsense. I wasn’t too concerned though, so I watched the human zoo.