As many of you may know, Sónar is a three-day electronic and advanced music festival. Founded back in 1994 in Barcelona, Spain, the festival is basically divided into two parts, one by day and one by night also known as Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night. Since it was founded, Sónar Festival has evolved into an amazing festival experience. It has transformed the european city in the summer and it seems to be intent on transforming Latin America.
This year was the first Sónar festival held in Buenos Aires, Argentina and one of the largest cities in South America.The festival featured more than 30 international and local artists including The Chemical Brothers,Hot Chip, Babasónicos (a local band) among others. Sónar festival was held at 2 huge exhibition venues - one for daytime activities called Usina del Arte in the south of the city and one for late night concerts called Complejo al Rio.
Since its birth, Sónar has been more than just a music festival launching several activities parallel to the gigs given by some of the best acts in the world. These activities in Buenos Aires included lectures mainly focusing on sound and audiovisual work.
Regarding music, the music schedule was fantastic.
On Thursday evening, just a ride to the outskirts of the city took us to Complejo al Rio in Vicente Lopez; the venue picked to hold this first Sónar Festival in Buenos Aires featuring more than 30 performances in front of thousands of music lovers spread over 4 stages – SónarClub by Movistar, SónarHall, SónarVillage and SónarPub.
On the bill, were some emerging bands as well as big names such as the Chemical Brothers and Hot Chip. Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions and the traffic we got there a bit late but managed to catch Hot Chip's show, one of the acts before the Chemicals and with five albums worth of material to pick from, Hot Chip's live show was great entertainment. Never seen them before but they sounded great live.
But going back to the main headliners, the Chemical Brothers. My hat’s off to the band composed of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons. They stole the show. They lifted the whole crowd with their best sounds in a master class in electronic music live performance. The band took to the stage later than expected and smashed through a packed 90-minute set featuring old and new classics to a crowd who went absolutely mental to the sound of 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' first song of their set as well as with new songs and old time classics.
It was great to see the younger crowd who knew every word of the British band’s timeless tracks. The vibe was excellent.people dancing, singing. It was great. Guess it's hard to find these days an act where there is so much energy from beginning to end. Unfortunately, at least for us, classic 1996 tune 'Let Forever Be'feat Noel Gallagher was not part of the setlist this time. It is one of our favourites. The screens and the visuals were just amazing.
We also got favourites like 'The Golden Path','Saturate' but also new tracks off their new record 'Born in the Echoes' such as 'EML Ritual' which sounded huge. The night ended with the epic ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ taken from their second studio album 'Dig Your Own Hole' released almost 20 years ago. The fans went crazy, and I stood there with goose bumps. To be able to hear that track live again was an awesome feeling for me and I really hope other fans get that same feeling when they hear certain songs like that.
One home-team performance was by local band Babasónicos. An Argentine rock band and one of the most popular groups in the country formed in the early 1990s. In 1999, they collaborated with Ian Brown on a song that bears their name 'Babasónicos' on his solo album Golden Greats. Talking to Ian Brown during Sole Searching 2 in Buenos Aires, he told me
he is friends with the band and Mariano the band's guitarrist.
After seeing The Chemical Brothers on stage, it’s clear why they were the headline act at the first Sónar Festival held in Buenos Aires. The Chemicals are, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best live acts on the planet.
The band composed of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have played Buenos Aires a few times already but it is that kind of band that could keep coming back here every year from now until the end of time. As long as their music is as good as it was last night, no one will really mind and their following will get bigger and bigger.
Sónar was perfect Thursday night entertainment for sure. As the sun set on a beautiful Buenos Aires spring day, Sónar by Night came to an end. Looking forward to Sónar Festival 2016. It will be hard to stop attending it I guess!
Hot Chip at Sónar.
Hot Chip at Sónar.
Local band Babasónicos.
TXT: Daniel Rodríguez
Chemical Borthers Setlist
Hey Boy Hey Girl
Do It Again
I'll See You There
Sometimes I Feel So Deserted
It Doesn't Matter
The Sunshine Underground
Escape Velocity / The Golden Path
Galvanize / Music: Response
Block Rockin' Beats