Bonobo at Terminal 5 [night 2] (April 28, 2017)

By Anthony Bauer, May 11th 2017 — with 1 comment Concert Photos Concert Reviews Stream

Earlier this year and after much anticipation, Simon Green finally returned under the moniker Bonobo with one of the years finest releases, Migration (out now via Ninja Tune). The release marks Greens first proper full length studio release since 2013’s fantastic The North Borders, and also since 2014’s live album, The North Borders – Live.  Although the gap between releases was unbearable for some, it was most certainly worth the wait as it is one of the most beautifully crafted albums he’s recorded to date.

Green hasn’t been completely absent from the NYC scene though, as he’s played many DJ sets in Brooklyn as part of his Outlier residency at Output. The last time we saw a live set with the full band was actually way back in 2014 on the tail end of The North Borders tour when the band played a beyond capacity Summerstage at Central Park.  Fast forward three years and Green made his return to the big apple in a big way, playing not one, but two sold out shows at New York City’s own Terminal 5. We were there for night two of the two-night run while the band is out on the road in support of Migration and were even lucky enough to be on hand for a few surprises Green had brought along with him for this second night (but I’ll get to that in a minute…).

Kicking off the night was the title track off of the new album, Migration and I couldn’t have imagined a better way to open up the show.  As the song slowly began to build, Green along with each member of the band began to emerge from backstage to continue to build upon whats already been set in place.  The highlight of the opening song is near the end of the song where drummer Jack Baker lets lose for a drum solo and flows seamlessly back into the finish of the song which was a perfect way to set the mood for what was to come. It’s also worth noting that Green doesn’t tour lightly with the live band – there is a 4-piece string section, 3-piece horn section, piano/keyboardist, guitarist, drummer, and a tour vocalist.  Green himself is doubled up by handling both the bass and DJ responsibilities, switching between the two throughout the entire night (and even both during some songs).  What makes the live show just so special is the seamless marriage of live instrumentation woven intricately between electronic elements that Bonobo is absolutely masterful at doing.

Shortly after the first few songs in the set, tour vocalist Szjerdene came out to perform a mesmerizing rendition of the haunting Migration single “Break Apart” (which is performed by Rhye on the studio album). When we last saw Szjerdene, she was touring on The North Borders tour and we fell in love with her smooth and effortless voice. She adds so much grace & beauty to these songs in a live setting and we were ecstatic when we heard the news Green was bringing her back on this new tour. Szjerdene stayed on stage after “Break Apart,” as the band jumped right into another track she’s featured on, “Towers.” Afterwords, she vanished back backstage but later re-emerged in the middle of the set to perform another Migration standout track, “Surface” and again to open up the encore with another track from The North Borders, “Transits.”  While Szjerdene was backstage during the first set, thats when Green began to bring out some of the surprises.

Not only were we treated to one or two live collaborations, we were treated to three. First up – and as was done back at the Summerstage show in 2014 – Green brought out Brooklyn’s own Grey Reverend for a hauntingly beautiful and slightly stripped down rendition of the stellar The North Borders opening track, “First Fires.” Second was fellow New Yorkers, Innov Gnawa who came out to perform an amazing rendition of “Bambro Koyo Ganda” from Migration. I don’t think there was a soul inside the venue who wasn’t clapping, dancing, moving & grooving along while Innov Gnawa was on stage during “Bambro,” and they received a pretty big cheer from the crowd after the end of the song. Lastly, towards the end of the regular set Nick Murphy (aka the artist formally known as Chet Faker) came out to sing with one of the standout tracks off of Migration and one of the years best songs, “No Reason.” The near 8-minute track was a highlight of the set and hearing Murphy singing it was just the icing on the cake. What also made this so special is after the end of the song as Murphy was walking off stage, Green gave him a fist bump then told the crowd “that was the first time we’ve played that song live together.”

The hour and forty minute set flew by way to quickly and definitely left us wanting more, to which Green acknowledged the crowd at the end of the set with “we’ll see you again real soon.” Lets hope this is true, as what makes this live show just so special is just that – the live element. Hearing these brilliantly crafted studio recorded songs with the subtlest of nuances being broken down into live renditions is truly something stunning and needs to be experienced first hand to truly appreciate its beauty. It’s this gorgeous collaboration of each member in the band interacting with each other making this show feel as perfectly put together as any album Green has ever released as Bonobo. Next time Bonobo stops in a town near you, do yourself a favor and don’t even think… just go. You won’t be sorry.

Find more photos and the setlist of night 2 below:

Bonobo Setlist:

1. Migration
2. 7th Seven
3. Break Apart (feat. Szjerdene)
4. Towers (feat. Szjerdene)
5. Kiara > Ten Tigers > Kong
6. Surface (feat. Szjerdene)
7. First Fires (feat. Grey Reverend)
8. Bambro Koyo Ganda (feat. Innov Gnawa)
9. Cirrus
10. Outlier
11. Flashlight
12. We Could Forever
13. No Reason (feat. Nick Murphy)
14. Ontario
15. Figures
16. Kerala


17. Transits (feat. Szjerdene)
18. Know You

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