LIVE REVIEW: Bonobo, De La Warr Pavilion, Brighton

It was very apt for Bonobo to open the show with the title track from Migration, if not a little too obvious. The visuals fit in with the aesthetics of the album sleeve, which were played hypnotically throughout the gig and added another dimension to the performance. One that it sorely needed.

Considering the tour was marketed and advertised with the idea that Bonobo would be accompanied by a live band, it was disappointing to learn that it excluded all the main parts which would have been best suited for live instrumentation. Kiara, from the album Black Sands, was played with trumpets instead of strings, losing the beautiful key melody of the song. Even Bambro Koyo Ganda, one of the strongest songs on the album featuring the vocals from the North African band Innov Gnawa, was left to be played via a mere recording.

Halfway through the set, you could easily forget that a live band was even on stage as they became increasingly lost as the gig went on. A saving grace was when the band played Kerala, which was performed with such enthusiasm, you couldn’t help but enjoy and dance along.

The guest singer, Szjerdene, was some what of a disappointment as her vocals were not up to scratch – throaty and weak to say the least along with the inability to hold a note. Maybe the result of a lengthy tour taking its toll on the vocal chords but either way, a disappointment for both band and audience down. This was particularly apparent in No Reason as Szjerdene didn’t have the vocal range, even for a song which isn’t challenging and doesn’t require a vast one. Tired isn’t normally a word you associate with Bonobo, but this performance certainly seemed full of fatigue on all counts.

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Bonobo, De La Warr Pavilion, Brighton
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