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Globetrotting with Bonobo: Event Reveiw

The backlit marquee read “SOLD OUT” for Bonobo’s DJ set, just a few weeks ago at the Metro in Chicago. Despite the short length of the line to enter the venue, all were excited and anxious to get in as quickly as possible. At this kind of show, it’s important to find a good spot if you want to dance and everyone planned on doing just that.


Jim-E Stack at the Metro


Jim-E Stack took the stage to a full room before the night’s headliner. Stack, like Bonobo, makes music that draws from a wild variety of styles, cultures and sounds. His 2014 debut album, Tell Me I Belong, gives a good feel for his style, but doesn’t quite match his live energy or the way he can transform the air in a room. Stack’s transitions coolly glided between dancehall shuffles, tribal bass rhythms and the familiar beat of a tune rooted in house. At his most hypnotic and droning, he had the whole crowd moving.




Bonobo is one of today’s most interesting producers; his style of down-tempo dance music acts like a sonic passport and time machine simultaneously. A Bonobo album is able to jump between wildly different styles while still retaining some quality that makes them unmistakably… Bonobo. This DJ set at the Metro was a prime example of his ability to comb through his own collection of music as well as a huge library of world and dance tunes to create a wonderful atmosphere.




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Bonobo began his set silhouetted in bright white light with the familiar strings of “Prelude” and breakbeat of “Kiara” from Black Sands. The night was full of familiar tracks from the Bonobo catalogue, but everything felt so much bigger. His organic sound would be present one moment, morph into something new or borrowed and eventually glide back into those natural rhythms. The bouncing horns of Quantic’s “Sol Clap” or the laser-y glowing synths of Lone’s “Airglow Fires” – the crowd jumped and shook and spun through every track.






More information on the Metro & Bonobo.


Photos by Alexander Ginsberg

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