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Music

Bonobo enchants at London's Royal Albert Hall

@josephtaysom
Bonobo - Royal Albert Hall
4.5

Bonobo is an atypical artist in every sense. Nothing he does is by the rulebook, and the spectacular finale of his residency at the Royal Albert Hall was no different.

Simon Green has been on the road with his live band promoting his latest album, Fragments, released in January, and chose the most grandiose venue in London to bring the album to the capital. The two were an unlikely match on paper, but they made for perfect bedfellows.

With a capacity of almost 5,000, selling out one night at the Royal Albert Hall would have been a dazzling achievement for most artists, but, remarkably, Bonobo managed to sell out five dates which equate to more sales than a night at the O2 Arena.

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His choice to play the Royal Albert Hall over numerous dates rather than one grand arena show was a fine decision. Green was truly in his element throughout the concert, which was just as much about the kaleidoscopic visuals behind him on-screen as it was the music.

The set featured many tracks from his wondrous new album, Fragments, which was brought to life magically by the orchestra, vocalist Nicole Miglis and the band who beautifully assisted Green.

Dance music and venues like the Royal Albert Hall usually don’t go hand in hand, but, Bonobo managed to make it work. For the first portion of the concert, the seated section of the crowd was almost muted, but once they collectively realised they could stand up, the atmosphere turned euphoric.

Seeing Green successfully turn his creations into this immersive art experience truly was a sight to behold. 2013’s The North Borders track, ‘Cirrus’ was a particular highlight and felt like watching wizardry in action.

‘Kiara’ from his 2010 breakout album, Black Sands, was another highlight and also a reminder of the lengthy journey Green has been on to make it to his residency at the Kensington venue. It’s taken him decades of dedication to his craft, and now he’s reaping the rewards he deserves.

When he released his debut album, Animal Magic, in 2000, this past week of shows would have seemed farcical. However, Green’s brand of wonky trip-hop infused electronica has proved to be more popular than he could ever have imagined, and it’s a true outsider success story.

Those in the room have all joined Green upon different parts of his ascent over the last 22 years. During the encore, as he closed the show on the mind-spinning, ‘Kerala’, everybody marvelled in unison at the black magic that Bonobo cast over those in attendance who delivered a night to remember.