Back around 2017 I came across Bonobo’s 2014 album, The North Borders Tour – Live, and I was instantly hooked. The mix of traditional instruments with electronics, dance beats and vocals brought together so many genres of Rock, House, R&B and Soul and created a sound distinctly their own.
Little did I know that later that same year I would sneak a camera into my first Bonobo show for one of my first attempts at concert photography. I didn’t walk away the best results in terms of pics, but it was a show I’ll never forget. A multi-piece band with guest vocals courtesy of Szjerdene and the man himself, Simon Green aka Bonobo, on bass and keys. All of them lit up in the glow of the massive video screens behind them that supplied the visuals to the sounds. And just like the spontaneous crowd cheers heard on North Borders – Live, the crowd that night erupted into one big tribal dance party.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of catching a few more Bonobo shows, including one earlier this year at Brooklyn’s Avant Gardner. Last week, Simon and company returned to the Avant Gardner theater for the last NYC show on this run of the Fragments (Ninja Tune) tour that has taken them all over the world.
Last Sunday’s show included older fan favorites from “Kiara” to “Cirrus” to “We Could Forever.” Of course, there were lots of new favorites too from Fragments and previous album Migration, including “Outlier,” “Shadows,” “Rosewood,” “Tides” and “Surface” which featured the vocal stylings of Nicole Miglis who also sang on the original recording. Miglis joined Bonobo a few times throughout the show and has a style as unique as her beautiful voice. The night also included recently released single ‘ATK’ which is a fun, frenetic, I-dare-you-not-to-move banger that had the whole place dancing as one.
There are few artists I can count on to deliver on every single performance but so far Green and his amazing road warriors have failed to disappoint. Until the next time, I’ll be playing his catalog and bouncing around my apartment in anticipation.
Scroll down for setlist and pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)
Setlist: Polyghost, Rosewood, Counterpart, Surface, Tides, Shadows, Kiara, Bambro Koyo Ganda, Cirrus, Outlier, We Could Forever, From You, Linked, Age of Phase, Otomo, Stay The Same, Kerala, Break Apart