As is usual with music festivals, drinks are quite expensive at the venues. So to start the night at Sónar Festival, me and my hairy photographer decided to have few refreshments at a local bar at happy hour. It was quite easy to reach a decision on where to go, considering the fact that Todd Terje would be playing later that night with his strandbar-disco-electro-wavy sound. We picked the only tiki bar in town, Bar Ananas, which is usually packed with local musician and artists. This night, however, we could sense that something was happening in Reykjavík, the bar was almost empty. Sónar had begun.
The first act we witnessed was Reykjavík’s experimental indie artist Sin Fang, joined by Samaris (next on stage) singer Jófríður Ákadóttir. I was a bit disappointed with Sin Fang´s gig at the Iceland Airwaves last year so my expectation were limited. But with the collaboration and the fact that this is more a dance festival than Iceland Airwaves, he seemed to be enjoying himself and he did deliver.
Now it was time for a beer at SónarPub. This is the first time Harpa uses its upper deck area for a venue and their local DJ, Steindór Jónsson, was hitting his grooves, sporting a brand new sewed shirt—a quality DJ-set.
Now back again to the main complex, Samaris had just started. Samaris is an unconventional combination. It’s a band that consists of a clarinet player, a singer (Jófríður Ákadóttir) and an electronic musician. Together they play downtempo electronica/triphop. Ákadóttir’s vocals are beautiful and I have to mention the electronic musician (Þórður Kári Steinþórsson), he used a laptop plus plenty of midi controllers and at no stage during the set did Þórður stay still—he kept twiddling knobs, melding sounds and vocals. He was constantly improvising and it was great to see and hear the aural manipulation. Too often, an electronic gig is just a guy on a laptop poking his finger on a mouse.
All in all, a great set and a perfect built up for Todd Terje. Terje Olsen (real name) started his set in a very melodic, almost euphoric style and it is surely true that the Norwegian cosmic-disco merchant knows how to throw a party and the venue was absolutely packed. My highlight was when he mixed into his set his version of Hot Chip´s hit “How do you do?”. A night to remember.