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Bonobo - Manchester Apollo: The view from Far Out

After taking over the world and truly breaking the mainstream with his 2013 effort, The North Borders, Far Out waited with baited breath to see what his next move would be.

The result is, Migration, a record that doesn’t particularly push new sonic boundaries for Simon Green, but it’s one that certainly maintains the same high standard of electronic peaks and troughs effortlessly blended with a jazz sensuality.

Famed for a live show that soars into the ether of every venue it hits, we headed to Manchester’s iconic Apollo for Bonobo’s biggest headline show to date in the city.

Green’s performances are characterised by a fluid group of musicians who provide live drums, strings, brass and vocals as and when required, with the man himself serving as a kind of new-age conductor in the middle of it all.

The response from a suitably mixed audience is one that seems to ride the wave of Bonobo’s eclectic output. Starstruck teenagers go from gazing in jaw-dropped wonderment during for soulful moments, featuring a flawless vocal from Szjerdene, to bounding up and down and rocking the sold out theatre when more beat-driven singles like ‘Kiara’ and  ‘Cirrus’ hit.

Every now and again Green picks up a mic to show his gratitude to an excitable room, but overall it is the unrivalled texture of his infectious instrumentals that do the real talking.

The swirling visuals that provide the backdrop to his ensemble also make for an extra treat for the senses, with the flame effect during ‘First Fires’, providing yet another moment of encapsulation.

The main set finishes with the lead single from Migration, ‘Kerala’, which seems to have become a staple of the set in a matter of weeks.

But with increased notoriety and ever-swelling crowds comes an almost essential desire for an encore, and Green dutifully provides. He returns to The North Borders for a two-song reprise that confirms long-time fans and more youthful onlookers alike leave with universal smiles on their faces. It’s been an expert return to Manchester for Simon Green.

Patrick Davies