Bonobo aka Simon Green returns to Brighton to round off his eleven-month Migration world tour – for an exceptional homecoming show at the Brighton Centre. Armed with an eleven-piece live band, a tremendous light display, and even an obligatory confetti camera, Bonobo puts on a masterful and refined performance, worthy of his new festival headliner title.
Getting down early especially to catch Domino’s most impressive rooster; George Fitzgerald, I was instead left in an excessive queue along with tens of other fans to collect my tickets, due to Songkick not mailing out before the show.
However, the wait wasn’t over – after missing the support act, I then missed the start of Bonobo’s set queueing with what felt like half the crowd trying to get a drink at the bar. As I ordered, I could hear the dampened sound of ‘Migration’, the latest’s album opening track, building up gradually in the background.
Sending a shoutout to the Tru Thoughts crew, the Brighton-based record label that released his first LP Animal Magic nearly two decades ago, that kicked start his trip-hop turned electronica career – Simon tells the audience being back in Brighton is the ideal way to round off the tour.
Standout tracks from the set included; ‘We Could Forever’ a carnival-esque trip-hop extravaganza, and the epic orchestral Prelude-cum-Kiara, both taken from his fourth and most critical claimed album; the mighty ‘Black Sands’.
Some of the newer material, ideal for listening at home while staring out of windows and contemplating life, was lost a bit on the audience – Moodymann sampled ‘Figures’ nearly had me tearing up, however, I seemed to be alone in this, as the rest of the crowd used the song as an excuse for an interval.
With such an impressive and extensive back catalogue, it wasn’t long before the audience was receptive again. However, for some die-hard fans, the lack of material pre-Black Sands was a little disappointing – with only a snippet of ‘Ketto’ from ‘Days to Come’ being played, not even touching any elements from his first two albums.
Bonobo’s DJ sets are renowned for being just as exceptional, if not more so than his live performances – and to our luck, we got a mini one – three-quarter of the way through the show.
The rest of the band abandoned the stage at either side, leaving a solo Simon Green and his DJ controller to spin ‘Samari’, a bonus track from the Bambro Koyo Ganda EP, and his latest remix of Kiasmos – Blurred, back to back – turning the Brighton Centre standing area into a nightclub floor.
After an erupting encore, the audience was treated to a pulsating version of ‘Know You’ – as the tribal drumming of Jack Baker (an exceptional musician) compliments the monotonous strobe lighting, as the song keeps on building up to a final resolution.
Still one of our finest exports as a city, we should value Bonobo as a local treasure, after all, he is growing into one of the leading electronic artists in the world.