Bonobo / Brighton Centre, Brighton | 21st of November

Bonobo / Brighton Centre, Brighton | 21st of November

Simon Green, aka Bonobo, came back to his home town of Brighton for the final night of his Migration tour. Support act George Fitzgerald began the night in the bustling Brighton Centre; a venue on the seafront on a particularly blustery evening. Fitzgerald puts on a techno driven set, with clear influences from the garage and house scenes in his two home cities; London and Berlin. Saturated with strong electronic beats, Fitzgerald closes his set with the Full Circle; one of his more emotionally fuelled tracks and definitely a favourite of the crowd’s.

Bonobo takes to the stage with no introduction, unsurprisingly beginning with the serene music of the title track; Migration. Since moving to California, and describing himself as a nomadic musician, Simon Green has released Migration, an album that’s clean and hypnotic, while also rich in its samples and influences. Although sceptical on how the new album would translate to a live setting, the classical instruments matched with the earthy synths breathe a great vitality into Green’s music. Despite 11 months of touring, Bonobo and his band didn’t quiver in the enthusiasm and energy they put into the performance, if anything revelling in the excitement from the crowd.

Bonobo was accompanied by his incredibly talented 12 piece band of brass, strings, drums, and the odd flute who all added that extra layer of zest to the night. Perhaps a member of the seated audience would gain a better insight into the intricacies of these musicians on stage, rather than from the bustly, glitter covered standing-crowd but their presence definitely added to that immersive experience Bonobo created. Green could have easily managed a solo performance but the live orchestral dimension gave him something extra to indulge in.

Bonobo’s effort to encompass the album with global sounds and influences becomes far more prominent live than on record. Bambro Koyo Ganda, with Moroccan musicals strains is without a doubt the standout performance of the night, climaxing with a showering of confetti blanketing the crowd. Despite the record often having a sombre, pensive feel, Green circles through the emotions  of the instruments, allowing them all to shine, while building up the raw energy that traverses through the crowd. Green holds back from being in the lime-light and lets Szjerdene Mulcare with her delicate voice, illuminating the vocals on all songs with immense prowess.

The night was a journey of musical influences, moving through the softer melancholic tones of Break Apart, through the percussive ambience of Outlier and into the heavier vibes in Kerala. In the midst of the crowd you could feel the vibrations and textures just as much as you could hear them. The songs drifted into one another, enveloped by a hypnotic light show and scenic visuals. For a musician who is frequently dismissed as ambient background, the live show definitely allowed Migration to grow from eerie melancholia to an organic and colourful performance.

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