Typically classified as a downtempo or chill artist, what Bonobo brought to Chicago April 1st was anything but lounge music. British artist Simon Green disengaged from the purely electronic form and instead strapped on the bass and performed with his seven member band, recreating the songs from his albums, with the majority of songs from Days to Come or his new album Black Sands. The result was a fully dimensional, deep layered arrangement that kept the crowd pumping.
With a new album released just days beforehand, his third on the Ninja Tune recording label, Bonobo kicked off his US and European 41-city tour at Metro and Smartbar. After several songs he remarked that its the first time the band played together since last summer. The fine tuned live show included, at times, a flute, saxophone, or clarinet, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, and electronic instrumentals. Andreya Triana added a beautiful voice that complemented the deep layers of sound supporting the expressive jazz quality of her vocals.
The combination of Metro and Smartbar allowed Bonobo to follow up his live performance with a DJ set and showcase both of his musical interests. At Smartbar, just below the legendary Metro stage, the Ninja Tune artist skillfully blended trip hop and acid jazz with some break beats, funk, soul, and Latin sounds that clearly engaged the dance floor. Here Green displayed a blend of catchy melodies with organic palettes and subtle complexities while still staying true to good old fashioned beats.
All photography by Brad Bretz.
Stay the Same
Days to Come
Walk in the Sky
All in Forms
Between the Lines