Bonobo with Thunderball at The Metro- Chicago, IL

I had a chance to make it to the Bonobo show with Thunderball supporting this past Thursday and it was quite epic!  It was a cold, windy, and rain/sleet filled night but worth every mile I drove to get there.  This was the first show of the tour for Bonobo’s US stint this fall.  The opening act Thunderball was limited to a DJ set by Steve Raskin as Rob Myers was out on the west coast touring with Thievery Corporation who were supporting Massive Attack.  I actually had a chance to sit down to have a chat with Steve about Thunderball before the show.  Check back here soon for that article!

Steve Raskin commanded Thunderball's set at the Metro

Thunderball began a 45 minute set with the sitar-featured “Enter the Brahmin.”  It’s a great intro track on the new album “12 Mile High” and it would have been great to hear the sitar live, but the song still had the crowd nodding their heads along with the groove.  The highlight of the set for me was “The Road to Benares” off of their previous album “Cinescope.”  This was one of the first tracks I first heard of theirs (on their MySpace page) and could listen to it on repeat and grow tired of it, so it was great to hear it booming on The Metro‘s sound system.  The high energy beat and huge sounding strings create that sense of urgency which makes it a perfect soundtrack for a spy movie.

“Dub Science” turned the venue into a reggae dancehall with its reggae beat, quick hitting horns, and dubbed vocals.  Another highlight was the frenetically paced “Thunder in the Jungle” which Steve mixed superbly.  The crowd definitely  appreciated the efforts with a loud ovation at the end.

Bonobo started off his set with a long intro which was the track “Recurring” from the 2006 release “Days to Come” and as each new part of the song began another performer stepped out on stage to add their instrument to the ensemble.  Simon Green (aka Bonobo) didn’t spend much time at the DJ table, although he made up for that later in the evening (or should I say morning) with his appearance downstairs spinning at Smart Bar, but he did throw down a lot of funky bass lines throughout the show.  My favorite track off of Black Sands “Kong” was the first song after the intro and did not disappoint.

“El Toro” probably did the best job of featuring all of the instruments in the band.  The violin has a great part that stands out to begin the chorus where then the horn ensemble follows suit afterward.  Sometimes the horns seemed to get a bit loud, but I think that small issue could be fixed with more time to rehearse and play with each other.  The band only had two days rehearsal time in Nashville before getting started on tour.  The woodwind player (who played mostly flute, but also wailed on the tenor sax, soprano sax, and the clarinet) was the stand out performer of the horn ensemble.  He played a peppery hot solo on “We Could Forever” which was a stand out track on the album and was even more enjoyable live.  Check out a snippet of the solo below.

The crowd was treated to Andreya Triana‘s beautiful vocals early and often with her first appearance being on “Stay the Same” from Black Sands and her voice is even more dynamic live than on the studio recording.  She stole the show and did a masterful job on every song she performed.  I highly recommend checking out her work.  Here’s a sample of her performance I have also uploaded to YouTube for your enjoyment!

The end of the show saw everyone switch instruments (other than the awesome flutist) and the ensemble gave us one more long jam on “Picks Up.”  The crowd roared in appreciation at the end of the set and a few people headed downstairs afterwards to check out the DJ set at Smart Bar.

It was a great show and you can catch Bonobo and Thunderball on tour NOW!

Keep chillin’

-Chris

Thunderball setlist

Enter the Brahmin

Vibrations

Dub Science

The Road to Benares

Heart of the Hustler

12 Mile High

Stereotonic

Thunder in the Jungle

I C Colors

Make Your Move

The Panther

Bonobo setlist (via Setlist.fm) 

Recurring

We Could Forever

Kong

Stay the Same

Days to Come

The Keeper

Drey’s Solo (drums)

Kiara

Ketto

Nocturary

Flutter

El Toro

Eyes Down

Nightlife

Between the Lines

Encore

Black Sands

Picks Up