Bonobo played a Snowball Festival pre-party at the Bluebird on Thursday - Reverb

Live review: SnowBall pre-party featuring Bonobo (DJ set) @ the Bluebird Theater

Bonobo played a strong DJ set on Thursday at the Bluebird Theater. He plays again tonight at the Fox Theatre in Boulder.

Bonobo played a strong DJ set on Thursday at the Bluebird Theater. He plays again tonight at the Fox Theatre in Boulder.

With an 11th-hour tweet to the tune of “good to be back in the big CO,” U.K. producer Bonobo was back in Denver as the centerpiece of the Bluebird Theater’s SnowBall pre-party Thursday night. The bands Ableminds and Dynohunter opened.

Bonobo is touring in support of “Black Sands Remixed,” a multi-artist collaboration of revisions from his 2010 “Black Sands” release. Atmospheric noise trickled through the crowd, signaling “show time” not moments before Bonobo launched into “Kiara,” 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 Bluebird’s generic, B-roll background visuals. They unfortunately kept it rolling through Bonobo’s set, and I stood there wishing the reel would malfunction, because all it did was detract from the warmth of Bonobo’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-2000’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, Bonobo’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 you’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.

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Craig Randall is a Boulder-based writer and PR pro with an identity crisis. He credits both “Let Me Love You Down” and “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” as life-changing tracks. Check out his website.

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