In preparation for this gig, as many do, I turned to the internet to find my favourite albums from the man they call Bonobo before seeing him live for the first time. Amongst links to shady downloads and grumps about track-listings, I found an unofficial bootleg of his 2002 album ‘Sweetness’ on YouTube.
Here is where I did something no self-respecting human should ever do; I had a peek below the bar at the comments. In this often-swamp-rat-ridden world, keyboard warriors run wild, usually found complaining about “NO BASE” or merely a general “fuck u man”. Here, I found the most friendly and polite of comment enquirers;
Oh kind sir, I’ve been looking for this, but I cannot find it anywhere. I will purchase it legally if you can point me at a place where I can get it. Would appreciate a DL link if you still have the album.”
I want to personally thank “The ShazMan” for his dedication to Bonobo and the English language. Bravo chap.
And on we go with the show.
I spent too long reading comments and eating pulled-pork burgers ironically that by the time I got to the venue, the night was in its second hour. Situated on the outskirts of Birmingham in Digbeth, the Rainbow is generally regarded as one of Birmingham’s crowning venue-complexes, albeit slightly smudged and covered in last night’s beer.
Bonobo recently impressed with his very own Pete Tong Essential Mix from April last year and subsequent Boiler Room set live at Alexandra Palace in November, showing a breadth of music knowledge, playing ambient electro, house, drum & bass through to orchestral selections that moved the soul.
With an almost sold out event, (something to shout about with a venue the size of the Rainbow) we were anticipating something big.
As I entered, Leon Vynehall was switching up the tempo in preparation for Bonobo in Room One. It’s always a lovely feeling entering a Leftfoot / Shadow City event, where you know the crowd have left their agro and bad vibes at the door.
Room Two hosted a lineup kept the techno sounds moving throughout the night, adding an industrial tinge to the overlapping sounds between the two rooms. Much to my relief, the cloak room issues seem to have been ironed out since the last event I attended – Andy C as part of his ‘All Night’ tour; which left people queueing for over an hour.
There seemed to be a happy scarcity of phones out recording the set as Bonobo took the helm – people were there to enjoy the sounds and soak up the feeling. Dappled in the blue and red lighting that is synonymous with a Leftfoot event, the light touch of Bonobo was immediately apparent as he played out the timeless 2010 track ‘Kiara’, taken from his fourth studio album “Black Sands”, and the strings rose over the excited murmur in the 2000 capacity venue.
“As one of two birthday gigs for the Leftfoot outfit of the month, this certainly felt like it was a well deserved celebration of 15 year’s worth of hard work.”
Bonobo’s own ‘Ten Tigers’ track went down an absolute treat as we moved into the second hour and the vibe was switched up – there was a guy sat behind me in a wheelchair who was having just as great a time as the next guy, and as I looked around, people were cramming into every space they could find in order to soak up this genius of a mind.
After a heartfelt hug, Bonobo moved over to make room for Hare & Hounds head-honcho and DJ duo Adam Regan & Matthew Beck who took to the decks, throwing out one of my tracks of the night; Todd Terje’s ‘Inspector Norse’.