Bonobo Live – A Reflection

Art & Culture

To say I was so excited I nearly wet myself is an understatement. It almost hurt trying to avoid giving myself an embarrasing wet patch. All the wine I drank to distract me from the trek up the mountain that Ally Pally calls home didn't really help the situation either though I guess…

After sauntering past the queues and relieving my over-excitable bladder in the super-secret-queue-free toilets, it was time to see Gold Panda (who was equally as responsible for my child-like excitement as Bonobo.) Worming my way to the front, I was suprised at the older crowd that surrounded me. Being a 14+ gig, I was fully prepared to be swarmed by a sea of pre-pubescent smart arses that got pissed on white lightning that their older brother bought them after school earlier in the week. Taking us on a journey through his distinctive post-dubstep sound and slowly building momentum throughout his set, Gold Panda took us through the recognisable and the not-so, with live interpretations of well known tracks like Community. 

Once Gold Panda was finished with his slightly dissappointingly short set, and after an anticipation building half hour break, the first notes of Cirrus echoed their way into the food village and, with people desperately clutching as many drinks as physically possible to avoid further queuing, the masses made their way back into the Great Hall for the man himself. Seemlessly making his way through a cocktail of North Borders, Black Sands and Days To Come, there wasn't one wrong note by the extremely under-acknowledged rest of the band and orchestral musicians throughout the whole show. 

Following Transits, Jack Baker broke out into an impressive spotlit drum solo, after which Simon Green continued to turn up the heat with a live version of Know You, getting the crowd overly excited before he stepped off stage for an encore of blissed out, horn heavy tracks from 2010's Black Sands. 

Having been pretty much craving to see Bonobo for a long time, I'd have been extremely satisfied with seeing just a DJ set, however in retrospect I don't feel that this would have done Simon's musical genius enough justice. The live strings, horns and woodwind coupled with the immense soundsystem that calls Ally Pally home, made the depth of the Simon's compositions truly obvious and is something that has to be heard live to fully appreciate. With such a large, happy crowd relishing in the undoubtably feel-good music, I think it's easy to say that's it was the happiest that music alone has ever made me feel.