At a sold-out Fox Theater Oakland, the live-band experience puts Bonobo in a league of his own

BonoboBy Kory Thibeault //

Bonobo (Live) //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
April 12th, 2017 //

Simon Green, aka Bonobo, stands in a league of his own. Over the years, the British musician, producer and DJ has incorporated a wide range of influences into his music, creating a texture that is familiar yet completely unique.

Bonobo’s DJ sets exemplify his eclectic taste in music, but it’s his live performances that really award him great accolades. Green is often supported by six, sometimes even more, incredibly talented musicians who help craft his music into the performance art that it truly is.

The last Bonobo live-band tour came in 2014, so it was no surprise to see him sell out the Fox Theater in Oakland. The energy inside the venue was brimming with a bunch of hungry fans moving freely to the music.


The evening saw the band flow in between songs as members came and went throughout the set. The most notable guest was vocalist Szjerdene, who was featured on a number of tracks, with her vocals soaring powerfully over the room while her stage presence commanded our attention throughout the show.

While Bonobo’s 2017 tour has been in support of his new album Migration, his discography includes six full-length releases over the course of nearly 20 years. On this night, the band crushed throwbacks like “Ketto” off 2006’s Days to Come as well as “Kiara” off 2010’s Black Sands. The fluidity between songs showcased Green’s calculated expansion of the Bonobo sound, always being true to himself as he explores the lengths to which he can push his art.

When the set finished, it felt short but absolutely full. Everyone was satisfied, yet left wanting more. I certainly look forward to the day Bonobo plays a live set that lasts three hours, if we’re lucky enough to witness that someday. After all, there is nothing quite like a night of watching Bonobo perform with his live band, but that is just one man’s opinion.

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