Sonar 2011 – two nights of fun and education

Sonar 2011 music festival has just happened, and it was decidedly a bright pink event. Probably influenced by the SONAR 2011 pink-purpley box that surrounded the trademark name. For my final post I thought I would reflect on this last weekend – another shredded time that made little sense, with disrupted sleeping patterns and pink colours and radiating madness from every corner of every page of each day, Sonar came to Barcelona. Sonar 2011 was pink. The music was pink, bright pink, emanating from the pores of every stage, from SonarClub, to SonarCar, SonarPub and the one in between, SonarLab – arriving alone at the last minute through the amiable misfortune of a friend meaning I had an unforeseen ticket, with a tucked away beer, with a charged phone and with credit added, I burst into the crowd as MIA began, finding Delphine and Paula and all the others “to the left of the sound box”. Sweating from the intoxicating heat, I peeped at the people around me and could not understand why people (the other people in the crowd) were not dancing and smiling as much as I was/we were, in my concentrated excitement – the Mexicans to the back of us, Jessie and Guillermo and Laura and Nina and Nina round our sides, MIA was a good start to SonarNight (for there is also SonarDay). Better than Primavera Sound 2011 for me, because there was more space and less people so one could breathe, the night was long but exciting – the sound pierced through the gaping space beneath the tall roof of the warehouse (or beneath the tall roof of the night sky in SonarLab) and darted around like a livid pink bolt of light (pink, like I have said, the colour of Sonar). I lost my friends  but I found Leo (another friend), who had a free pass for the two nights because of his prolific writing about music events, and hung about with him – we found Toddla T in SonarLab, the London DJ who bounced and smiled and moved as he played out his choice of songs as if he was enjoying it as much as we were. Boring at the deep drum and bass songs because I was dancing right next to the speakers at the front, feeling ripples in the lakes of my internal organs, across the skin on my arms and in my throat and eyeballs because of how loud it was, we left and went to SonarCar where there were food stands, bumper cars, and more electronic music (unknowingly missing Tiga who was on after Toddla T in SonarLab…). After polishing off a three cheese pizza slice and a white chocolate crepe, whilst watching Leo creep around the tables collecting discarded drinks, sniffing and gleefully tucking in, like a rat, or like that rat from Ratatouille, we encountered an electric joyful DJ duo who declared “WE PLAY THE MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU FEEL HAPPY” half way through their set – and they were right. It was 6 in the morning and energy had not petered out, not one tiny shining gem – not able to stop smiling and even laughing, they could not have been more right. The SonarCar stage was a Disney/reindeer-themed-fairground-car-ride and their music was intoxicatingly fun. They were…. the German Schlachthofbronx (Mad Decent-Man Recordings/DE) – and though the other acts were good, like Scuba who played after MIA, and Toddla T who played before Tiga that we missed, I’d say this was my favourite and most fun set, where I was there from the beginning to the 7am end, finishing like all good acts do: before you get tired – of them, or in general.

Saturday had less acts in the lineup than I recognised or knew, but though this would not have been a problem, unfortunately my energy had expired and it was like a tiny nightmare, unfolded from an hour into the beginning, like a piece of card with someone watching from above. Too many people, too much movement, too little energy and so much pain in my feet, with something wrong with the bone in my left foot and with raw new blisters on my heels from a foolish experiment in the day with wearing my squash trainers, I could barely cope. I stayed til after Paul Kalkbrenner, liking how he waved and bowed goodbye in between the last parts of his set, and then walked home in a metallic haze of exhaustion, pausing to lie on a bench surrounded by broken tomatoes, entering a kind of clearing of peace as my feet were lifted off the ground, before making my white early morning way to a bus-stop, then the metro from Pl.Espanya, whilst Leo took off home on his blue road-bike that he had hidden in a hilariously hidden spot.

I wish I had seen more of  the 01:30 live set of Buraka Som Sistema (Fabric/PT), catching only the end of it after seeing the whole of the Underworld set, but the ending was sensational, and better than not seeing it at all. Then followed, at 02:30, DJ Mary Anne Hobbs (UK), where I danced with Delle, then lost Delle, then could not handle the crowd, nor the pain in my feet, not the fuzzy tear-gas-stormcloud of tiredness my body was creviced in, so I left the crowd and sat on the floor beside the makeshift white wall of the toilets area in SonarCar watching the millions of tiny groups of people walking past in ceaseless synchrony like ants in an anthill at the peak of  summer.

Finding Delle with the others at the ending streamers of Magnetic Man in SonarClub, I returned her bag I had safe-guarded so we could ballroom dance to Mary Anne Hobbs, and then we returned to SonarPub to watch the 03:30 live set from Paul Kalkbrenner (Paul Kalkbrenner Musik/DE) – I lost the group, again, and out of the blue found Leo, who, after I expressed my intense tiredness, got us beers and we clambered round the back, inhabiting pockets of space, til we settled on some makeshift steps scaffolding where I took care of my tiredness and failing eyes as Kalkbrenner played his electric set – lightshow, presence, music. Then we took off home, like a bee to its hive (empty of all the other bees), as mentioned above. This overlap reflects how little of the night had consecutiveness that made sense. Thanks to Jessie’s kind txting, communication was not dead, but energy was, and I could not face rinsing the crowds to find them, especially as the night had more people than I could put up with. Arriving home from the Saturday night at 8am, a cooler night than the hot dripping Friday, I didn’t need to shower, I needed rest by over 200%, and changed into a t-shirt and was out until 13.55PM on Sunday. Sunday I failed at understanding my Advanced Syntax assignment, which I am trying to understand right now. Zeta is asleep on the sofa, Indiana the tortoise is in her yellow aquatic home with fake palm tree on a chair on the balcony (with the door shut so the street noise doesn’t molest my concetration) and the wind is pulsing through the veins of the building – I can hear it. Pichon the black and gold fish is hanging in the same position in her perfect globe of a fishbowl (plastic) and I am at the table.

I will finish this assignment, then I will organise my notes and begin revising for the final exam on Thursday – then I will prepare for visitors and MY FINAL FLIGHT FROM MY BARCELONA HOME where I will be flying JUST LIKE THIS BEE.

So to summarise:

Sonar night 1= really really fun – Mia, Toddla T, then the really good German DJ duo who said “WE PLAY THE SONGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY” and this was true, I did not stop smiling laughing and dancing like a coconut tree; Sonar night 2 = too tired to enjoy it, but oh well!! Underworld played and I got a free beer when I was sitting on the floor in my own pink bubble world. My movements… final exam 23rd, father arrives 27-30 June, Zoe 29 Jun-4July, when my rent ends – 7-9 July Bilbao BBK live festival, my final flight out 13 July… It’s been a pleasure.

Categories: Barcelona, Spain

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