Live review: SnowBall pre-party featuring Bonobo (DJ set) @ the Bluebird TheaterBy Craig Randall | February 24th, 2012 | No Comments »
With an 11th-hour tweet to the tune of â€śgood to be back in the big CO,â€ť U.K. producer Bonobo was back in Denver as the centerpiece of the Bluebird Theaterâ€™s SnowBall pre-party Thursday night. The bands Ableminds and Dynohunter opened.
Bonobo is touring in support of â€śBlack Sands Remixed,â€ť a multi-artist collaboration of revisions from his 2010 â€śBlack Sandsâ€ť release. Atmospheric noise trickled through the crowd, signaling â€śshow timeâ€ť not moments before Bonobo launched into â€śKiara,â€ť a jam so hypnotic and horizontal that your neck is left kinked from all the nodding.
An entertaining set from Dynohunter, with its stormy-night sax solos and live-band dubstep was at home with the Bluebirdâ€™s generic, B-roll background visuals. They unfortunately kept it rolling through Bonoboâ€™s set, and I stood there wishing the reel would malfunction, because all it did was detract from the warmth of Bonoboâ€™s output.
With cuts borrowed from Theophilus London, Erykah Badu and other American soul and hip-hop acts, Bonobo blended his own tracks to form the middle-2000â€™s downtempo sound he helped standardize. A couple technical glitches kept the mix from being an outright success; around midnight, and after a steady 15-minute stretch of jazz and latin-influenced instrumentals had the crowd in rapture, Bonoboâ€™s laptop spat out some signal-noise beeps and the steady 120 BPMs all but vanished. A marked departure in crowd enthusiasm and rhythm followed.
He recovered quickly though, announcing a new single as he dropped a beat that rode out while he adjusted the cartridge on the turntable to his right. The night was what youâ€™d expect of a DJ set from an artist who obviously has total mastery of his craft; what might be more exciting is catching a Bonobo gig backed by a live band, though, which he is doing (at intermittent stops) on this tour.
Bonobo stays local with a Fox Theatre gig tonight in Boulder.
Craig Randall is a Boulder-based writer and PR pro with an identity crisis. He credits both â€śLet Me Love You Downâ€ť and â€śHeaven Knows Iâ€™m Miserable Nowâ€ť as life-changing tracks. Check out his website.