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One night with Bonobo

I need to migrate back to that marvelous April 24th, Monday moment when I was immersed in the sensual sounds of Bonobo. A sold out show that boasted an unforgettable performance. I am sure I can speak for the 1500 who attended, when I say that Simon and the Bonobo band members gave brand new meaning to the word ‘magical’.

The Danforth Music Hall is one of the many historical opera/theatre houses in Toronto, that has garnered the reputation for being one of the hippest venues for music acts that span the genres. Big enough to attract world renowned artists such as Bonobo, yet small enough to capture the intimate feel that an artist of this caliber brings to his performances.

The preface to Bonobo’s mystical session came from opening act, Archie Fairhurst ,known as Romare, who shares his love for music through his bold solo sets. In fact, his name is taken from the American artist Romare Beardon, echoes this love so perfectly. Romare began downtempo and gradually built up the crowd’s energy by introducing his talented guitar skills and staying true to the Ninja Tune’s feel. It would not be long after that our eyes were subjected to a barrage of color accompanying Simon Green’s whirlwind tour of electronic music.

It’s been three years since his last show in Toronto, and fans were stoked to see this musical wizard’s colourful and wide-ranging DJ production. Joining the movement of producers and DJs touring with partial or full bands and armed with an impressive arsenal of instrumental gems which included keys, sax, flute, clarinet, drum pads, guitar, vocals, and a drum kit, along with a supporting cast of video screens, Bonobo was worth the price of admission and worthy of the capacity crowd waiting to greet him.

The experience was furthered heightened by the ethereal vocals of UK singer Szjerdene, who stayed true to her voice, cantillating songs from multiple Bonobo tracks, replicating the works of such artists as Michael Milosh (Rhye)- Break Apart, Nicole Miglis -Surface and Nick Murphy (a.k.a Chet Faker) No Reason. Displaying upper echelon talent, these artists knew exactly how to carefully infuse the old with the new.

The addition of new electronic visuals to his current tour gave an extra boost of energy to an an eclectic, hipster crowd, and the combination was more than enough to fuel the ensuing groove fest and create a quality show. The transitions between the songs were and seamless giving way to an impeccable immersive experience accompanied by eye-catching lighting that focused on the landscapes, and nature-based whimsical visuals that alternated according to each song.

Maintaining center stage position as the focal point of a crowded dance party, Simon Green pushed the crowd’s energy to a higher level fit for a concert hall by spinning an unforgettable set list. Tracks included ‘Bambo Koyo Ganda’ with Innov Gnawa off the album ‘Migration’ got the crowd jamming out to a trio set up. We were wildly drawn into his epic rendition of ‘Kiara’. To close off the night, the band played ‘Know You’ – leaving the crowd in total awe.

Thank you to Embrace events, Cat Hrmo, and the Danforth Music Hall staff, Kelsey, Joel, Kevin and Jim for your warm welcome and assistance.