Simon Green, better known as his stage name Bonobo, captured the attention of a sold out college crowd Friday night at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. The British DJ, known for his polished blend of experimental, down-tempo electronica, is touring in support of his latest release “Black Sands.”
Though few were there to enjoy it, perhaps the best set of the night belonged to Jesse Miller. Guised as his alter ego, Beard o Bees, the founding member of Lotus played an incredible variety of dance music with nothing but a MacBook and a captivating, colorful controller. Angling it towards the audience, Miller played the device like an instrument that took decades to master — tapping out complex synth patterns note for note as opposed to just punching in samples. His mastery of the craft provided great insight into the electronic direction of Lotus’ new self-titled album.
Denver downbeat duo Human Agency was next. With infectious drum production and catchy, simple hooks, the two DJs (who go by stage names Biorhythm and Dialogue) brought a welcomed, head-bobbing vibe to the theatre. Tracks ranged from mellow orchestral soundscapes to groove-heavy dance jams. Bringing together an array of popular new influences, Human Agency is sure to be a growing player in the Colorado dance scene.
As the headliner, Bonobo had a congested dance floor to work with when he took the stage at 11 p.m.. Though known for easy-listening music you can just as easily relax to, Bonobo was dedicated to throwing a party Friday night. His set was a fluid production full of massive fadeouts, complex (and occasionally oscillated) basslines and an extensive mix of surprisingly up-tempo drum samples. After a frenzied track driven by an evolving drum and bass foundation, Bonobo ended the night with a booming drop beat over Toots and the Maytals classic “54-46 Was My Number.”
Nate Etter is a Boulder-based musician and a regular contributor to Reverb.