Bonobo (DJ Set), Rainbow Warehouse, Birmingham 25/04/15


Bonobo
Simon Green, aka Bonobo, aka the man of electronic music, made an incredible appearance at Birmingham’s renowned Rainbow Warehouse for what was inevitably going to be a sell-out event. As part of Leftfoot’s 15th anniversary celebrations, Bonobo was joined by Leon Vynehall for his first but hopefully not last DJ set in Birmingham.
Bonobo is somewhat of a pioneer of downtempo electronic sound and is consequently no stranger to experiments. His album Black Sands propelled him into the spotlight in 2010 and gave him a reputation as a man capable of creating a truly unique and versatile sound that exploits a range of instruments and genres. Bonobo’s experimental mellow electronic sound tends to be regarded as the B side to house and is usually relied upon after 5am when the party is dying down, so an entire DJ set dedicated to this was the spark of excitement.

Bonobo
Preceding Bonobo was Leon Vynehall, a man with a clean cut and novel house sound. His unpredictable rhythm and clunky beats went down really well with the crowd and made the perfect prelude to the anything but conventional Bonobo. Creating a minimalist sound that continued to build in both volume and tempo, Vynehall kept in tune with the building excitement of the crowd.
The figure bent over a laptop suddenly became two figures, both emersed in a blue hue, and the crowd erupted, immediately revealing to even those hidden away at the back what was about to come. Mixing straight in from the end of Vynehall’s set, the distinctive electronic swirls of the beginning of ‘Kiara’ began to fill the warehouse. The layers of percussion and synthesizer refused to be smothered by the noises from the audience.

Bonobo
Bonobo makes the kind of music that sticks to a place: ‘nostalgia music’. After first seeing him live at Bestival, I was unable to hear the intricate layers of percussion and synth without being transported straight back to his evening set on the Isle of Wight. However, as the familiar sounds of ‘Cirrus’ and ‘Sapphire’ from his 2013 album North Borders flowed from the front and reverberated around the warehouse, it quickly became clear that the sounds of Bonobo would now remind me of the almost grotsky yet amazing Rainbow.
‘Flashlight’, his recent single released at the end of last year, made an appearance towards the end of his set, existing as a teasing reminder that there is more to come from Bonobo.
Photographs by Bianca Harvey.
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