From February 13-14 the Waterfront Convention Centre became the largest dance venue in Sweden, as it welcomed the Sónar festival for the second year in a row. Offering 37 music performances on 3 stages, Swedish artists as well as international musicians coming from various dancing scenes – from pop to techno to everything in-between – pulled off edgy musical and visual displays to make locals and visitors dance for 2 days.
Among Sónar’s best performances was Lorentz. He appeared on the Sonar Club stage, the main stage of the festival, in a futuristic all-over-the-body white outfit that included a white heart shaped umbrella, framed by an impressive light show and colour projections on a massive screen behind him.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the festival was given by the unexpected appearance of Robyn, who jumped onstage to join the brilliant music producer Adam Bainbridge, a.k.a Kindness, who was already giving an electrifying performance with his whole band.
Chilean producer Mattias Aguayo was among the most charismatic artists to perform at Sónar and his show was one of the most applauded and cheered. He has a very particular way of performing; he not only he spins around the turn table playing and singing his upbeat rhythms, but he also dances to them with innovative choreography. It’s hard not to be possessed by his energy and shamelessly dance like nobody’s watching.
There was one presentation, however, that each and every one of the Sónar goers awaited with great expectation: superstar producer Aaron Jerome a.k.a. SBTRK behind his wooden mask. He definitely didn’t disappoint. Jerome was accompanied by his band and singers, but he was like a whole one-man band himself, moving around the complex structures of synthesisers, microphones, percussions and samples around him.
Several other artists captivated the attention of the people during the two-night dancing extravaganza. Raising people’s dance pulses to the highest levels were Jamie xx and his spinning records, Jaakko Eino Kalevi who within his bad had a powerful girl saxophonist, Tokimosta, as well as the industrial atmospheric duo Roll the Dice (and at some point they even created sounds by smashing their synthesisers). Last but not least, festival goers vibed to the techno of Maya Lourenco, and even though she was playing at the Sónar Lab stage, the smallest of them all, at the same time of some of the biggest headliners of the festival, she managed to recruit quite a crowd to dance to her set.
Berlin-based DJ, Paul Kalkbrenner was another very charismatic personality on the stage. He just wouldn’t stop dancing, smiling and shouting during his entire show, dragging the entire public into a happy madness with him. Kalkbrenner, along with Nina Kraviz, took the festival to a mind-blowing closure, spinning records until the bluest hours of the night.
In my opinion, however, the best show of the festival was the crowd. Unlike the people you find on a common club night somewhere else in town, the crowd at Sónar was there solely because they loved the music. Sónar’s acts made them dance, scream and jump around with the happiest of vibes that one will find at any other summer or outdoor festival. The crowd made the festival a full-circle experience, perhaps because the festival happened during Valentine’s weekend and love was in the air, perhaps because it was the perfect blend of Stockholmers looking for a way to bliss out of the long, dull winter, perhaps because of the foreigners drawn to their first winter music festival in a Nordic land – probably, however, it was all of that put together. Whatever it was, one could feel there was an energy of love all around.
Sonar music festival is the first festival of its type to grow in branches. It was born in Barcelona in 1994 and has since expanded to many more cities in Europe, two countries in Asia and five countries in the Americas. Last year it was inaugurated here in Stockholm and this year it also took place in Reykjavik, Iceland. Next month Copenhagen, too, will have its chance to take in the grooving pleasures of Sónar for the first time.