“Bonobo has a long history of unearthing new talent and his latest album ‘The North Borders’ sees him do so once again. The startling vocals of new collaborator Szjerdene are sprinkled across the LP, and Simon Green has yet again found the perfect voice to enhance where he’s at. With a huge run of international tour dates set to commence shortly after the album’s spring release, plus a host of weighty press and radio campaigns and a bleeding edge digital campaign, 2013 looks set to be Bonobo’s year, which is very good news for the rest of us, too.”
Earlier this week, I had a new guest contributor get in touch with the following review. Navi will be hopefully contributing more to FKOF in the coming months.
Last Thursday night I went to see Bonobo at Amsterdam’s Paradiso.
The musician and his band have been travelling across Europe since opening Dimensions Festival this September. Their Amsterdam appearance was the penultimate gig before the culmination of three month-long tour.
Having been introduced to his music through ‘Black Sands Remixed’ in 2012, I’ve since become very fond of Simon Green. When I heard his current tour would stop by in Amsterdam I immediately bought a ticket. I’m glad I did back in August, because Paradiso was absolutely packed across the two nights he was playing (both of which were completely sold out)! Going by his ‘Live at Koko’ album and having heard about the phenomenality of his live performances, my expectations were pretty high.
Holding on to one of the pillars at the back of the venue I had a nice view of the stage; a necessity for me when a performer is so attuned to his instruments and band. The only downside to this was that I had to hold on to the pillar quite tight and people bumped into me and spilled drinks on me all the time, but in the end it was definitely worth it!
Green opened with ‘Cirrus’ and then in his familiar, linear style he took the audience through most of ‘North Borders’ while he melted together with his instruments, his band and ultimately with the audience.
After roughly fifteen minutes it was as if the audience was mesmerised by Green’s songs, moving along to every bassline, drum and harmony that they heard in their own way. No one stood still, everyone reacted to the music in their own way – but it was like we were all jellyfish bobbing along in a flowing hypnotising musical sea. I’ve only witnessed this organic unity once before when I saw Ghostly International’s Shigeto perform in Nijmegen earlier this year. Both he and Green knew the instruments they were using through and through, and had a great love for it that could be felt in their performance.
The event’s lightshow and visuals were well thought out, reflecting the emotions and moods of the songs. There was a good balance between Bonobo’s slower, emotional songs and the more danceable tracks like ‘We Could Forever’. Once the typical Bonobo ‘drop’ came in for that one the crowd went truly wild for the first time that night. A lot of the energy in the tracks came from the members of the band as well, with a notable drum solo by the drummer Jack Baker near the end.
The only slight critique I can offer about the night was that I felt the vocalist, Sjzerdene (image by Daniël de Borger), had a too jazzy voice for some of the songs which left them feeling a little off – or at least different to how they sound (and how I know them) from the recordings. But hearing her sing ‘Towers’, her collaboration with Bonobo on the new album, was beautiful. Overall, I am really happy I got the chance to see Bonobo perform live with his band.
He gives an extra dimension to his music when performing live, making his music more of an absolute delight to experience.
If you ever get the opportunity to see him live, I heartily recommend it.
Peace, love and respect.