Shangaan Electro
Sonar By Day: Friday Pics

Sonar by Night: Saturday

Night two of Sonar kicked off with a double-bang of two pop stars with chops and charisma to spare. On the SonarLab stage, France's Yelle jumped around the stage in a skintight cat suit, shrieking with ferocious energy. Simultaneously, over at SonarPub, Janelle Monae - all of 25 - showed herself to be a worthy successor to the great tradition of American soul, even going so far as to don a cape and drop to the floor, just like the Godfather himself. She also filled the stage with a dozen backup players, including a brass section that would make Sharon Jones envious.

Later on, in SonarClub, 90s stars Underworld showed that they've lost none of their verve, mixing old faves with brand new tracks. Playing for well over an hour, it was a complete sensory experience with hyperkinetic beats and one of the most intense light shows I've ever seen.

I spent the balance of my time in the VIP/Media section out back of SonarPub, where I briefly had the chance to meet one of Sonar's founders, Sergi Caballero, who was remarkably at ease and energetic, especially for someone who's been doing this for 18 years. I can't even imagine the pride he must have felt looking out over the crowd of thousands, all completely in thrall.

I can't think of another festival as ambitious as this, with three days of programming spread across two major locations, as well as the opening Steve Reich concert at l'Auditori and tomorrow's closing concert at Teatre Grec with Alva Noto and techno pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Not to mention tomorrow's SonarKids, which takes over the Sonar By Day space for sets and workshops especially designed for families. How cool is that?

I know we have our electronic music festivals in the states - Ultra, Electric Zoo, etc - but we should be envious of the Barcas, because we don't have anything like this. At least, not yet...

I leave for France tomorrow, and should have time en route to get all these pics up. More to come.