Concert Review: Bonobo and Jeremy Sole

When you go to an organic show, you will know. The sounds that emanate from the speakers are unlike many sounds that artists can create on stage. They’re pure and soft and create a feeling that I watched change people in their facial expressions, their stance, their attitude. Bonobo and Jeremy Sole put on that kind of show.

Jeremy Sole came on at exactly 8 and there could not have been a more perfect opener for Bonobo than Sole. His DJ set was filled with remixes and original compositions that combined world sounds and unique beats. He put on a lively performance that echoed the Chicago roots he grew up with. It resonated the feel of a loft party, which worked well as more and more people started to pour into the venue. Sole kept the energy up all the way to the end and his communication with the crowd through jokes and nudges for loudness made it that much better.

Shortly after, Bonobo and his full band took the stage and for close to two hours proceeded to perform so passionately that my pants were vibrating (literally.) Simon Green started off by slowly bringing the crowd into this transcendence into eternity that he created. As “Migration” and “Break Apart” started off the show, the feeling of immense love, partnership and peace enveloped the crowd. At first, I thought it was just me but as I started to look around, I noticed people’s eyes glaze over the way they do when you are faced with something beautiful. People’s hands went to grab the ones they were with, whether lovers or friends. It created an atmosphere of wanting to just hold on. Green utilized performing with the band and then would switch it up by playing solo DJ sets like “Kong” or bringing on his drummer for “Bambro Koyo Ganda”. 

I actually didn’t know about Green until a few months ago when my roommate decided that the whole house needed to hear his album Migration. At first, we all thought she was crazy because it was 10 in the morning but soon we realized that that was the best way to start our day. I then went and downloaded his previous albums and spent the next week listening to his songs nonstop (in my head that week is still known as Lia’s Dance Week.) Afterwards, I wrote his Artist Spotlight for our blog as he was one of the performers at ACL this year and fell in love with his music even more so when I found out he was coming to Houston, I couldn’t miss this opportunity so I tied my hair in buns, put on my Barbie shoes and danced until the end.

Green is not a limelight hogger and you could tell by the way the show was about the organic music and not him as the big name he has made for himself with hypnotic songs. He played a show that reflected what he stands for: earthly sounds that mixed with the cut-and-paste electronic beats that gave off waves of goodfeel vibes. For this show, Szjerdene Mulcare took on all the vocal duties and her melodic voice would give the upbeat tunes a break.

The visuals that supplied the performance were fitting with pans over natural landscapes, what looked like divine monuments that would move in trippy, kaleidoscopic patterns and oversaturated colors. Green utilized lights to power up his songs with bright bulbs that would turn onto the beat and over a dozen rotating spotlights that went from white to purple throughout the show. A smoke machine promoted the illuminance of the countless lights that were methodically placed on stage making this show a true experience. 

I’m not going to lie, while Green put on an excellent show that lived up to him being one of the biggest names in the dance genre, the crowd at House of Blues could have done better. Between a few head bops, simple sways to the music and a bunch of arms up with phones in their hands, the energy of the crowd was not up to par. There were probably up to 10 people who were actually getting down and feeling the beats that were so cleanly expressed by the artist.

Even then, before ending the show with “Kerala”, Green went on to say that in the week that he’s been performing in Texas, the crowd at House of Blues was the best that he had seen, which I don’t know if it was a compliment to Houston or an insult to ACL where he was this past weekend and Dallas where he was the night before the show. Either way, it did make mine and the rest of the crowd’s hearts swell up for our city and finally, the energy amped up, arms went up to throw up peace and rock signs and the floor vibrated from everyone’s movement. Walking away from the venue, we may have all gone our own separate ways and some of us might never even bump into each other again but the radiance coming off the waves of people departing said that we definitely all talked about it for a loooong time that night.

 

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