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Sónar 2023 – 16 June 2023 (Barcelona)

18 June 20237 min read

After a good first day at Sónar by day marked by the concerts of Marina Herlop and the Belgian duo Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul, Friday, the first day of Sónar, was a spectacular night out with names such as Aphex Twin, Fever Ray and Max Cooper.

Fever Ray - Sónar 2023

Fever Ray, Sónar 2023 – Photo by Víctor Ramos Santafé  for Indieofilo©

Our first contact with Sónar during the day would be with the saxophonist Bendik Giske. His spectacular staging, both in terms of lighting effects and costumes, made him stand out from the very first second. In addition to this visual aspect, his proposal makes you hallucinate because of the constant changes in rhythm (reminiscent of proposals such as those of the Canadians BadBadNotGood) and the elasticity that he achieves with an instrument as classical as the saxophone, which approaches electronics with astonishing ease. After his show, we made our way to Sonar Park to see what the Spanish Albany, known to the new generation for their trap songs, had to offer. Her concert failed to connect with the audience, perhaps because of the technical problems that hampered her voice, so when “My Crush“, one of her best-known songs, was played, she saw the lack of momentum in the crowd and decided to interrupt it with a diva attack. It’s true that the response wasn’t massive, but turning people against you in this way is not the best way to get people’s spirits up.

Bendik Giske - Sónar 2023

Bendik Giske, Sónar 2023 – Photo by Víctor Ramos Santafé for Indieofilo©

Thank goodness we had Crystal Murray on the main stage to turn the tables. The British singer captivated the audience with dancing and catchy songs in a concert full of sensuality and pop mixed with R&B. After a well-deserved break, it was time for one of the big moments of the day, the show that Max Cooper had prepared under the name 3D/AV live, which promised some incredible audiovisuals. Between images of the universe and the cosmos, his musical focus is on his latest album, Unspoken Words (2022), where his proposal is at times somewhat empty and inexpressive. For all these reasons, it is all the more painful to have missed The Blessed Madonna from the start, as the American had put on one of the biggest parties in these parts at SonarVillage. With jugglers, drag queens and dancers, the stage was more crowded than the tube at rush hour, but it has to be said that all the paraphernalia that accompanied the show did not interfere with the mainly house hits that kept the tent dancing for almost an hour.

Crystal Murray - Sónar 2023

Crystal Murray, Sónar 2023 – Photo by Víctor Ramos Santafé  for Indieofilo©

It was time to be on our way to Sónar by night for a taste of the main course of this edition, which was the Aphex Twin show. With glitch as his banner, creating melodies that are equal parts enchanting and horrifying, the Irishman offered an historic session on a stage that featured a metal cube surrounded by screens that created an incredible 3D effect. As the show progresses, you get the feeling of being in front of a boxer who gradually punishes your liver, wearing you down mentally with accelerated beats and deconstructions of sounds that bring you closer to soundscapes unimaginable a few minutes earlier. Between rhythmic changes and, why deny it, noise everywhere,  Richard D James seems to be gradually moving away from the IDM label to provoke uncomfortable sensations in an audience that adores him with a show that is mainly techno and acid.

Aphex Twin - Sónar 2023

Aphex Twin, Sónar 2023 – Photo by Víctor Ramos Santafé  for Indieofilo©

To get closer to the less electronic commercial proposition of the night, it would be necessary a good run to the other end of the festival. Fever Ray, or in other words Karin Dreijer’s alter ego Beetlejuice, gave an electronic pop concert presenting a good part of her third album Radical Romantics (2023). The ex-member of The Knifeliterally ate up the stage in what was the best concert of the day, not only musically but also in terms of stagingas without the use of digital paraphernalia, she did an incredible show with her two backup singers, a drummer and a keyboard player (complete with a cloud of polyfoam on her head). With a clearly overwhelming start with the concatenation of “Kandy” and “Carbon Dioxide” and a sometimes excessive bass volume, the concert kept up a very high tempo. Between light colour changes and impossible dancing, the almost hour-long concert flew by until she closed with “I Had a Heart“.

Sónar 2023 - Fever Ray

Fever Ray, Sónar 2023 – Photo by Víctor Ramos Santafé  for Indieofilo©

With the years falling like a stone, our last concert of the day was to be the British rapper Shygirl, who gave a good show on a not very crowded stage with a mixture of pop, hip-hop and electronica. With incredible energy on stage, the show generally maintained a delicate profile that made much of their debut album Nymph (2022) sound like a dreamlike dream full of rhymes and verses in tracks like “Heaven“, “Shlut” or “Firefly“. The best part of her show, however, would be in a very direct and aggressive middle section, where they would play some of the songs from their EP ALIAS (2020). As the icing on the cake of a remarkable day, the one from London would give us the gift of a collaboration with Erika de Casier on stage to close a concert that showed why the English singer is one of the emerging talents to watch on the British hip-hop scene..

Victor Ramos

Fanático de la música desde que mis padres me ponían a Eydie Gorme y Los Panchos o el Discotuna por la A2. Intenté tocar varios instrumentos, pero soy muy torpe con la mano izquierda, así que ya sabéis el resultado final. Fan del britpop, Post-punk, el rugby y el baloncesto...


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