Bonobo @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (08/03/2012)
Wed 21st Mar, 2012 Event Reviews 54 viewsin
Discussing the music of Simon Green is perhaps one of the few instances where I – in my esteemed career as a wannabe music journo – don’t feel like a hack using words like “unique”, “mind-blowing” and “pioneer”. Over a decade long career spanning five albums and numerous EPs and remixes, Simon Green, AKA Bonobo was one of the first to depart from the ordinary tediums of electronica and trip-hop (otherwise being the common domain of chill out compilations and Buddha Bar), crafting a style that is both unmistakable and ridiculously enjoyable to listen to.
So, the full live band version of Bonobo (being basically all of the instruments Simon has used to write his track being played simultaneously by others) played at the Corner Hotel last week. And it sold out. Twice. There were even a few dozen people pleading with ticket holders waiting to enter the venue for the prelude sounds of Oliver Tank and Guerre. Some of them got lucky, most of them not so much.
Those lucky enough to gain entry were in for a rarity. One of the reasons I’ve tended away from “live” instrumental music in the last few year is the inevitability of disappointment. I mean it’s the 21st century and let’s face it – sound engineers and music technologists and those crazy guys with the big mixing boards that “make shit happen” in studios know what the fuck is going on. They make records sound great. The unfortunate result is that a lot of the time your favourite bands and live instrumental acts do not quite meet the pedestal you put them on while bumping their tunes at 20 decibels on the train every day. Shit happens. Drums are too loud, voices to quiet. But not on Thursday night, and not with Bonobo.
Two hours of soul infused live music dripping with electronic innuendos, dressed to the nines with jazz and topped off with flute and brass solos which are hard to believe in person. It is a pretty rare thing that you go to see an artist and hear them play not one, not two, but ALL of your favourite songs. Granted, the show went for around two hours leaving a lot of time to cover that back catalogue, but even so, I don’t think any true fan could have said their favourite got looked over.
In no particular order we had the privilege of hearing just about every tune off the Black Sands album, and the following from the back catalogue: Recurring, Ketto, Days to Come, The Plug, Flutter and Terrapin, concluding nicely towards the end with the crowd sing along to Between the Lines. The warmth and clarity of Andreya Triana’s live vocals, the swing of the live drum solos, not to mention the inches of sweat dripping of the ceiling in that tightly packed room, it all combined into a sweltering heap of fuck yeah which before we all knew it, was over. Nights like that are what made me fall in love with music.