Bonobo Transcends Time & Space At SLC's The Complex [Photos] • Volume
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Written by: Shay Coulson | Photo(s) by: Matt Dippel

Bonobo Transcends Time & Space At SLC’s The Complex [Photos]

Bonobo lit up Salt Lake City, UT’s The Complex for a celebratory Friday night highlighted by ethereal soundscapes and upbeat, house anthems.

While the electronic producer and sonic sculptor’s show did make Volume’s “Most Anticipated Concerts Of 2022” list, the performance and production went above and beyond any sort of expectation one could imagine. Currently out on his Fragments Live Tour alongside album collaborator Jordan Rakei, the night paved way for an impressive performance of genre-defying music and showcased the versatility of Simon Green’s onstage production.

Rekai opened the night with a lyrical 30-minute set, playing through a mix of songs from his famed older collection as well as current hits from his most recent EP, Bruises. A standout performance of “Speak” resonated throughout the venue as Rekei played through The Handmaid’s Tale-inspired piano ballad and touched the hearts of those encapsulated by his soulful lyrics and playing.

The five-piece live band – currently comprised of Green on bass and synthesizer, Mike Lesirge on horns, Johnny Tomlinson on keys, Ewan Wallace on guitar, and Jack Baker on drums, set onstage at 9 p.m. sharp for what would be an epic 90-minute musical journey. The buildup beat in “Rosewood” ignited the set off on an energized note, but not long before they settled the energy into its opposite counterpart with a relax, synth-trance rhythm.

The night turned up a notch when vocalist Nicole Miglis made her first of many appearances as she graced the stage with her hypnotic voice in her own 2017 collaboration “Surface.” Baker struck up a light cymbal percussion backing as Miglis washed over the crowd with her angelic rendition of the Fragments track, “Tides,” making room for a sonic clarinet closeout by Lesirge.

Rakei made his way back onstage to join the band for a vocal lead in his own powerful “Shadows” anthem. It wasn’t long before the main vocal part ended that gave way for the band to go into full-fledge jam mode, laying down a glitchy, bass-heavy dance groove. Once the Grammy-nominated “Bambro Koyo Ganda” made its setlist appearance, it was noted that Bonobo’s return to Salt Lake City would be a memorable one. The trance-like chanting by Morocco’s Innov Gnawa transported fans to an otherworldly realm backed by Green’s perfectly paired synth and string arrangement layers.

The second half of the performance saw the band performing between the two extremes of upbeat, “big room” bass tracks intertwined with a mix of sonic, calming interludes of instrumentation. A tropical house beat was greeted by an impressive woodwind melody lead by Lesirge, a slow and psychedelic rendition of “From You” fronted by Miglis, a five-minute intimate ethereal synth solo intermission by Green himself, and a grand closeout of “Age Of Phase” and “Otomo.”

Of course, what would an outstanding performance be without a proper encore? After playing through a bass shattering jam as a group, Miglis returned once more onstage for a breathtaking performance of “Stay The Same,” accompanied by a roaring saxophone ending. Tomlinson layed down a cheery key melody in the Bonobo’s fan-favorite “Kerala” for a Friday night finale, topped with a fiery drum solo breakdown from Baker.

Scroll down to see a photo gallery of Bonobo’s live band performance below, courtesy of photographer Matt Dippel. Bonobo will continue his Fragments Live Tour tonight at Vancouver, BC’s PNE Forum and will wrap up his U.S. part of the tour at Las Vegas, NV’s Discopussy on April 2nd before heading overseas for his European tour dates. For a full list of tour dates and tickets, visit his website.