Simon Green, or more commonly known as Bonobo, came to Chicago on his new tour coinciding with his latest album, The North Borders. The first time I heard Bonobo’s music I was instantly hooked. The beats and instrumentation were like nothing I had ever heard before. I then bought all his albums and have been a big fan since. It’s very easy to enjoy his music.
Shigeto was the opener and he really got the crowd all riled up and ready for Bonobo. I’d never heard of Shigeto prior to this show. His style was a tad different from Bonobo’s though, which was a little more house influenced. It was really impressive to see him DJ and play drums simultaneously. He played a lot of Brazilian influenced beats and it went really well with his music.
When Bonobo came on, the sold out crowd went wild. I discovered recently that on this new tour he was playing with a full band, which I was super excited about. Bonobo was DJ’ing as well as playing bass throughout most songs. He also had a drummer, guitarist, vocalist (Szjerdene), keyboardist, sax/clarinet/flute, trombone player, and a trumpet player. Each player was holding it down very well beside Bonobo’s music. The band sounded really great and on key. Szjerdene is the featured vocalist on The North Borders and she has an incredibly beautiful voice. They played her featured songs, Towers, & Transits, which were performed live perfectly. I’m really glad Bonobo toured with a full band, it really makes it a better experience to have everything being played live as opposed to just pressing buttons and hearing the sounds. It all added another level to his music. For some songs the rest of the group had left the stage leaving just Bonobo and the drummer. They went on to play some hits such as Ketto, Noctuary, Recurring, and We Could Forever, to name a few. The audience was really getting into the music. I thought The House of Blues was a great venue for him to perform as well. They sounded great in there. The light show was also pretty mesmerizing. I think it was something like rotating LED panels behind the band that were really quite cool.
If you haven’t heard Bonobo you should definitely check out his music. His music is very eclectic and fresh. I believe Bonobo has evolved over the years as many musicians and bands do. However his music seems to be getting deeper and he’s recording more live instrumentation instead of just straight sampling. I think this is where electronic music is going: creating music with a mixture of live instrumentation and beats.