Sonar 2009 – Young Fathers, La Roux, Little Boots… and ‘Edinburgh Rap’

Sonar, in Barcelona, is by far and a long way the classiest festival. You can just hold your camera randomly up anywhere inside the Sonar By Day complex and get a shot that looks like the asylum scene from A Clockwork Orange…


Fucking well Euro view

Plus, they have art. The question is, in 2009, can you install a darkened room with a load of fuzzy TVs and call it art? Or, is this in fact a post-conceptual play upon the entire idea of modern art? Is the artist at this very moment sitting back and enjoying a self-satisfied chortle, as we the public squirm in the aftershocks of his creative statements while he sits and polishes up his next curveball…

First on at Sonar Village, the outside astro-turfed idyll that plays host to the creme of the daytime goings-on: the exact embodiment of the reason why playing records is a maligned profession.


Young Fathers played at, now, let’s make sure I get this right… ‘BBC Radio 1’s Introducing Stage’, phew, they were very particular about the terming of that. The thing is with them is, they manage to surpass any cynicism reflexes by posing The Actual Most Patently Absurd Concept Known To Modern Man: Edinburgh rap.

People forget that part, it’s not just Scottish hip-hop… Over in Glasgow, say, they’ve squelched hip-hop’s evolutionary sausage-maker to make the mangled mid-range ‘wonky’ dub-step hybrid. Over in the crumbling postcard ruins of ‘da Burgh’, as YF no doubt refer to it, they’ve come up with this.

It’d be like someone offering you a piece of sponge cake, with a centre filling made out of the of contentment. Sure, you’d be alarmed, and of course sceptical that such a thing existed, but what kind of person wouldn’t be a little tempted to enjoy baked desert moistened by a concept. And they had silly choreographed dance-routines.

Carrie from ‘Sex And The City’ was there. She came with Samantha but she’d left her to go get spit-roasted by a dodgy Argentinian MDMA dealer and Faley from Late Of The Pier…

Little Boots was raving to La Roux at that stage too. Shortly after this the moon ate the sun and all life on earth became void.

Then Bass Clef whipped the crowd into shape. Everyone’s a’talking bout how dubstep’s fragmenting in such profound new evolutionary ways. Proof: there’s even a Mark Ronson of the scene now. Brass’n’bass.

Because the BBC is publicly funded they’re really tight on work-trip expenses, this is why Huw Stephens has to subsidize such excursions by dressing up as a statue on La Rambla. Rob da Bank prefers to pursue that other popular local earner and go purse snatching…

Then Omar Souleyman explained how techno raving, startling heat and wearing as many thick, itchy linen robes as one human being can manage at once needn’t be mutually exclusive pursuits. It went down spendidly.