Live Music, Bristol, Bonobo. What more need be said, read on for a low-down on Bonobo’s latest offering.
Exeposé Music hit the road again this week, making the trip up to Bristol to blown away (hopefully) by Simon Green aka Bonobo. The Brighton born musician has been long appreciated for his downtempo electronic sounds, often spreading languorous melodies through the hazy rooms of twilight hour at house parties. His latest release The North Borders was an accomplished LP, building on the success of 2010’s Black Sands, which notably incorporated Gamelan and Afrobeat sounds into Bonobo’s inventive Chillwave vibe.
With darkness creeping over the city and a Tesco meal deal filling the stomach of yours truly the time had come to listen in. The beautifully renovated Colston Hall was packed with avid punters, with the vast boards of acoustic enhancers rebounding anticipation around the venue. When the lights finally went down it was to vast applause as Bonobo opened with Cirrus the first single from The North Borders and an immediate crowd pleaser. The track had been debuted on Gilles Peterson’s acclaimed 6 Music show and set the tone nicely for an evening of pulsing reverbs and throbbing bass. The excellent Szjerdene provided vocals for many of the tracks, with the exception of the painfully cool Grey Reverand who cameoed with his track First Fires to rapturous ovation.
Getting the right balance between the powerful dancey hits like Kiara and Kong, and more spaced out strains like Towers and Stay The Same was done beautifully, with sounds flowing effortlessly between upbeat and ambient. Impressive solos from drummer Jack Baker and saxophonist Mike Lesirge split the performance, while Bonobo’s onstage band provided veritable strings to his already outstanding musical bow. Conducting throughout, Bonobo managed to be ever-present yet wholly enigmatic, allowing the music to flow from him without forcing anything but pleasurable grooves around the arena.
To say the crowd was elated would have been an understatement, with everyone on their feet for the final few songs to cap off a truly remarkable evening which both transported and mystified. Safe to say the work done by Bonobo on five studio albums has thus far culminated in an artist playing incredible music at the height of his powers. Exeposé Music can only hope it continues.
Callum Burroughs, Online Music Editorbookmark me