26 04 2010

Wow, in a word, “excellent“.

Went to my 1st show in Portland… Bonobo at the Wonder Ballroom.  Took the light rail down not knowing what to expect of the venue (more on that later), but definitely excited about seeing Bonobo.  Never thought it would happen.  I’m into a lot of electronic music which 1st sparked my interest in them, but they blend so many influences into that, jazz, world, etc, and it has such a groove.  Anyway, got into them after their album ‘Days To Come’ in 2006 and worked my way backwards in their catalog until this year’s ‘Black Sands’.  Which, is very good, but I’m still partial to ‘Days To Come’ and ‘Dial “M” For Monkey”.

They started out the show with just the band, the main guy playing about every wind instrument except the recorder (next album!!), saxophone, flute, clarinet and maybe an oboe?  Couldn’t tell, he’s on the right in the picture above.  Then someone came in to sing vocals, I’m assuming she wasn’t Bajka who sings on their albums, but damn she was good.  Really good (below).

But so was the band, they simply mesmerized the entire crowd, just swaying back and forth with the groove.  And it was groovy too, with some serious bass – honestly my left ear is only now back to normal, I was about 4 people deep just slightly to the left.  That’s the kind of venue I love though, once I need an usher to show me where to sit, I’m done.  So, left ear damage is fine with me.

They played a good deal from their latest ‘Black Sands’ as well as a lot off of ‘Days To Come’ and a few off of each of their other albums and EPs.  Now I’m still very partial to ‘Days To Come’, so although I like the new album I haven’t fully settled into it yet.  However, hearing them play their ‘Black Sands’ tracks live, I “got it”, and am thinking this album could be on par with that.  Many more listens to come in the next few days.

No stage or lighting theatrics, wouldn’t have mattered because the music was that good. Bottom line, get to see Bonobo if at all possible.  You will be happy about it, as were the approximately 300 people there.  ?  No idea, just guessing.  If nothing else head to their website to check out some tracks.

Look at him go up there!... He's onto the flute now! Amazing.

So about the venue – wasn’t sure what to expect because Google has them rated at 2.5/5 stars, but I honestly think it’s because of (and I hate this word, I’m sorry…) the haters.  It’s a great venue, powerful sound system, very clean and professional, and the bartenders worked very hard to make sure everyone was served.  I even went to the Under Wonder restaurant/bar for a cocktail beforehand and was impressed.  So all-in-all, I’m very happy about Wonder because I’m going to see Nada Surf  there soon too!

OK, one last thing, I took a cab home because the show went so late that the train stopped running.  I walk outside RIGHT after the show to call a cab and see one right in front of me!  I tap on a cab’s window, “Hi, are you available right now?”, “Sure get in” he says!  So I get in and get halfway home and he says “I’m sure ~indecipherable female name~ will find another cab.”  What?  I stole someone’s cab?  What is this “The Amazing Race”?  But you know what, it was 1:30 in the morning, I was exhausted after an amazing show and ~indecipherable female name~ can call another cab!  Needless to say I tipped him big for that 😉