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Live Review : Bonobo Winds Up Dazzling 'Fragments' Australian Tour In Brisbane

Bonobo | Tivoli, Brisbane

Monday, August 8, 2022

Tonight, Bonobo wraps up his Australian Fragments tour with a second show in Brisbane. Entering the always-charming Tivoli, it's nice and toasty inside and the atmosphere is immediately relaxed, for a school night. Clearly the man no longer attracts a younger crowd and only "crusty ravers", as I like to call them, can be spotted gettting ready to be enthralled by a beautiful night of electronic music. It's the kind of electro for huge fans of the likes of Boards of Canada, Caribou, Aphex Twin, Nightmare on Wax, et al.

Bonobo - aka Simon Greene - enters the dimly lit stage in all black clothes and white high-top sneakers, his seven-piece band in tow, leaping straight to business with 'Polyghost', fittingly also the first track of his Fragments album. In some ways, the album has many meditative elements with the sounds of the harp and strings replicated on stage tonight and, with the striking background visuals of nature throughout the set, 'meditative' is clearly the theme for tonight. The transition between songs is tight and seamless, Bonobo clearly taking full advantage of his band, all well seasoned musicians.

There is minimal chatter from the man tonight, he speaks only to thank the audience and acknowledge his band members between the middle of the set. Once he did start to chat, we can hear his thick British accent come through. Singer Nicole Miglus is on vocals tonight and enters the stage for the fourth track 'Surface', a song she sings on his previous 2017 album, Migration. Her outfit is super quirky – a purple and orange jumpsuit and with her hair with four pig tales, reminiscent of Kids show Dirtgirlworld vs Tank Girl. Her voice is sublime and haunting, delicate and breathy in approach. Her reverb-drenched voice is perfect for this music and hearing her sing 'From You' is a nice contrast from Joji's voice as recorded for the album.

Majority of tonight's set is made up from both Fragments and Migration, but there is certainly a delicious sprinkle of favourites from all his albums from the last two decades. Perhaps the largest of crowd reactions comes from 'Cirrus', lifted from 2013's formative The North Borders album. Everyone completely loses it when this one comes on, the entire crowd - even everyone up in the gallery - is dancing. This is followed by 'Outlier', the peak of the set, with amazing, synchronised rays of green light becoming hypnotising by the end of the song with nothing left to do but to just surrender and melt into the sound.

The punters didn’t have to work hard to get Bonobo back on stage for an encore, possibly an indication he wanted to finish the tour and get back on the plane. He does so with a rousing pair from Migration, 'Break Apart' and 'Kerala'. Bonobo is a master on his tools and tonight, he and his band worked the crowd, built the tension and delivered the tease and a memorable 90 minute set. Adding a live band to his simple electronic is a masterstroke and brings a more well-rounded and full sounds abundant with many layers and textures. Its familiar sound of deep house and nu-jazz is far more uplifting onstage than on record. Blend all this with killer vocal melodies and electronic sound drops, beats and synths and it's super clear that Bonobo understands and has a clear knowledge of how to win an audience's heart.



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