It felt unnatural walking from the broad daylight into the dark club, early Friday night at Sneaky Pete’s. I wasn’t familiar with the bands on the bill making it hard to know what to expect from the night, but when the openers began it was clear what the crowd was in for: dance music. A bit out of place for so early on a Friday night, the crowd swayed along with only a few willing to break out and dance. The openers set the vibe for the night, playing full band alternative fusion and solo performance EDM.
Sonars hit the stage, a stage covered in equipment. Massive tables of loopers, sythns, and keyboards blocked in Frederick Paysden and Serena Oldrati. This left Paysden just enough space in the corner to jam on his guitar. The electro-psych duo began their set with a long looped track. It is fair to say that from this first song, I was not buying in. The loop seemed to stretch on and I felt lost in the multi-layered music.
However, the next song caught my interest and I was hooked. A looped rhythm section, samples, guitar and synth lines, and just a taste of lyrics; Sonars were captivating. You could feel it in the audience as very few people remained still. There was a motion and rhythm that almost couldn’t help but be danced to.
Desert Moon started and suddenly there were cheers from the crowd. Paysden and Oldrati looked both shocked and pleased continuing into the song that had everyone interested. Easily my favorite song of the night, it opened with a samples of space exploration recordings. Desert Moon brought a new energy while remaining true to the sound already established by the previous songs. Groovy, spacey, layered, and detailed, the elements were harmonious and the crowd responded excitedly.
As the show carried on, the crowd continued to dance and Sonars continued to feed us interesting tunes. They kept it serious with minimal on-stage banter and played a near continuous stream of songs. When Paysden did pause to address the audience, he expressed genuine thanks to the crowd, the other bands, and to the venue for the special night.
It seemed almost too soon when they announced it was their last song.
When the gig ended and the lights came on, I stood a bit disoriented. Sonars’ songs had engrossed me and I was not prepared for the release. Coming back to my senses, I quickly reflected that it had been a Friday night well spent. The music from all of the bands was full of interesting and complex instrumentation that could be appreciated by everyone. Sonars played a good set that kept the crowd moving along to it. Overall a night enjoyed.