This was a gig that, due to Bonobo’s incredible talent and sense of sound, engendered awe throughout the packed venue, however the occasion was let down by the poor sound setup at the Academy.
As you walked in, the depth of the bass notes was clear by the vibrating felt throughout the corridors as I waited to hand in my jacket, eager to join the crowd and get ready for Bonobo (Simon Green). Being the tour for his new album Migration, he opened up with several class tracks such as Bombro Koyo Ganda and No Reason. With the drops of the songs blasting throughout the crowd and the light show offering stunning visuals alongside the projected panels of pictures and bright, trippy artwork, it was easy to get absorbed into the music and the crowd and dance along to the beat heavy music.
As he played through his set, throwing in other classics from his previous albums including Cirrus, Kong and Kiara, each new song was met with a wave of euphoria among the crowd and cheering all around. Everyone got drawn into each song, mesmerised by the talent on stage. Bonobo doesn’t just hit the decks and mix his songs for the crowd to listen to, but meticulously takes time to offer a performance; playing the guitar himself, alongside other band members and a vocalist, who’s notes carried beautifully across the arena in every one of her songs.
This, however, is where I felt the venue let the gig fall a tad short. As was the case last year when I saw Chet Faker here; the vocals seemed to be drowned out by the instrumentals for the most part, with the mids sounding flat, and barely carrying across to the back of the venue. Bonobo is a unique artist that records his music with instruments and produces it electronically. It was interesting to see how this would be applied to a live performance, especially with the less instrumental-heavy Migration album. However, Bonobo did not disappoint, perfectly replicating his music onstage, while not only keeping on par with the sound of his tracks, but improving upon them, with impeccable transitions between them.