Sonar Festival: Broadcast Live

Highlight of the festival so far
Sonar Festival: Broadcast Live
Broadcast – about as avant as avant-garde pop gets. Thus perhaps not most people’s first choice for a festival band. But, experience shows that most people are, in fact, idiots. Add to that the fact that Sonar loves a bit of arty weirdism and you’ve got yourself an act and a half.

Their performance took place in the darkened room of the Sonar Hall, with a huge screen of twisted visuals reeling off in the background throughout. Without getting too excited, this one was one of the best festival performances I’ve seen from any band. There was no dancing, just pure, hypnotic reams of sound being purveyed by just two people, a bass guitar and a couple of synths.
Mixing drones and twisted durge-core doesn’t sound appealing on paper, but Christ almighty – this was an utterly hypnotic performance. Waves of subtly glitched synths and coy click beats underpinned by walking basslines and Trish Keenan’s beautiful vocals. A live performance also reminds that Keenan has possibly the sexiest voice of modern pop. Her surrealist lyrics and general performance throughout are utterly beguiling.

Trippy is a word that gets overused in music journalism – god knows I’m guilty of it – but this was about as trippy as it gets, in the best possible sense – just the right amount of weirdness in the synth riffs and echoed-to-fuck vocals, but mixed with a floaty texture that occasionally blends into an epic nightmare soundtrack, before bringing you back from the edge with a friendly musical hug. Powerful stuff. Kind of like listening to the Velvet Underground backwards, through a black hole, whilst on the comedown you wish you always had. Possibly.

At this point, it would indeed be reasonable to ask whether some sort of inebriated state may have altered my – otherwise faultless – musical judgement. Not at all, I’m afraid, this was just an utterly stunning performance from a hugely underrated act. Highlight of the festival so far.

Words by Tristan Parker

Read more of ClashMusic's coverage from the Sónar Festival HERE.

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