Bonobo at the Ogden Theatre, 11/24/10
BONOBO | 11.24.10 | Ogden Theatre
Bonobo, aka Simon Green, is touring in support of his latest album, Black Sands -- and he brings with him enough instrumentalists to accurately reproduce its sweeping, orchestral sounds, plus Andreya Triana, the vocalist whose haunting, lovely voice is heard on several Black Sands tracks. His set at the Ogden was a near-flawless livetronica set that was a joy to absorb.
Before Bonobo took the stage, though, L.A.'s Tokimonsta appeared with Suzi Analogue as Analogue Monsta, and warmed up the crowd with some old-school hip-hop stylings flavored with a modern twist.Tokimonsta laid down slow, jazzy, funky beats, over which Analogue crooned. The duo played with tempo, adding extra rat-a-tats into the drum line and morphing the sound using squealing strings, train whistles, spectral whispers and sighs and otherworldly cackles and rattles.
The vibrating bass lines helped set off the clear, pure tones amidst all the distortion, and Tokimonsta morphed to a dark, jungle-inspired bass line while Analogue's vocals took on an exotic, almost tribal flavor. This track seamlessly moved into a reggae tune, which Tokimonsta then, somehow, twisted into the Prodigy's "Out of Space."
That's the best part of watching Tokimonsta at work: Her taste in music is so eclectic, and her genre impossible to pin down (apart from the clear hip-hop influence), so she can merge sounds you would never expect to hear together -- for example, her tribute to Los Angeles, which featured the opening guitar riff of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" mashed with Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive." Her bluesy sax lines, tightly controlled beats and sweeping taste lead to the type of sets where you truly don't know where she'll go next, but it's always danceable and interesting.
Tokimonsta and Suzi Analogue left the stage after an all-too-short set, allowing the stage crew to set up for Bonobo. The producer brings a live band with him when he tours, so instead of watching one DJ or live sampling artist do his thing on stage, we were treated to a full band, creating chemistry and working their magic together while Bonobo bounced from one instrument to another.