One of the bands I happened upon at Glastonbury totally by accident was Bonobo. I heard them playing at the West Holts Stage on a hot and sunny afternoon and ended up stopping for more than half their set. They were great there and I liked them enough to have picked up a couple of their CD’s since then.
So, when I’d seen they were coming to So Cal and seats were pretty inexpensive I thought they would be fun to check out again.
I invited my niece Tawny to to join me so I ‘d have some company who also loves music and have a chance to hang out with her and catch up a little bit. We met in Hollywood before the show and had a nice dinner at Miceli’s. The show was at the Music Box Theatre and as we parked I was pleased to see a decent crowd outside. We joined the line and after a short wait everyone filtered inside to the GA floor. We grabbed one of the limited seats in the seating areas along the walls. (This would prove a good decision, as the place filled up fast. Ultimately the place would we fully packed by the time Bonobo hit the stage.
First up was a San Diego group “Inspired Flight”. They did a punctual 30 minute set that mashed up guitar, samples, vocals and some guest rapping. They mentioned a free download n their website that mixes Bob Marley, Radiohead and Ryan Adams (amongst others…) intriguing and I plan to check it out myself soon. Overall the set was good and I mentally marked them down as someone to keep an eye on and check back in about in the future. Tawny agreed that there was some good potential there.
Next up was Tokimonsta performing along with a guest vocalist.
She warned us right off the bat that she had planned a set with “a lot of bass”. Sadly, that was about all her 45 minutes offered….a lot of bass and nothing else of note. I can’t recall ever tuning out an act and checking work e-mail on my phone because they were so dull. And looking around, I wasn’t the only one phone surfing instead of listening to the performance. She had a couple technical glitches and an annoying tick of brushing her hair back ever couple seconds….it was pretty much like this…Tweak knob>brush hair>tweak knob>brush hair>smile at vocalist>tweak knob>brush hair. I told my niece about 40 minutes into the set that I wanted to go up and pull her hair back with something just to make her stop doing it. That was about the time I decided that work e-mail would be more engaging that her set.
Oh, I have to mention the Hendrix samples she dropped in near the end…simply because for me they just underscored how disconnected I was from her performance. There was more creativity and style in a couple seconds of Jimi than I had heard in the previous 40 minutes. Sad, but I walked away with nothing from the set except an overwhelming sense of relief when it ended.
Finally at 11pm sharp Bonobo (Simon Green) and his band took the stage.
Awash in fog and opening with an instrumental that segued into “Kong” from the Black Sands album they flat out sounded great. I’d been a little worried that the different atmosphere of a club, so different from Glastonbury might cause me to not enjoy them as much as I had on that hot afternoon. Those fears of not living up to expectations were quickly put to rest and the band was tight and sounding great from the start.
Three songs in they were joined by Andreya Triana who had been with them at Glastonbury. It think it’s maybe easiest to post a you tube link from Toronto a couple weeks ago to give you a sense of the sound.
And here’s an official release version from May of this year.
So you can take your pick of which one to watch!
Some of the standout tracks for me were “Stay the Same”, “The Keeper”, “Eyes Down” (all featuring Andreya). “Kiera”, “We Could Forever”, “El Toro” and “Black Sands” which were instrumental pieces. But, really there wasn’t a weak song in the entire set. The players were all quite talented and very tight. Special mention for the drummer (whose name I never caught) who really powered the band along and played an interesting enough solo at the end that I didn’t want to tune him out, or strangle him…(after 35 years of drum solos at concerts, I just really don’t need to hear any more drum solos if I can avoid them…have to admit that his rocked though.)
Overall the show leaned heavily on the recent “Black Sands” CD that they were also promoting when I saw them at Glastonbury. Worth picking up the CD and worth checking them out live the next time they are playing anywhere near you.
A great show last night by a talented and (hopefully) upcoming band.