The Scene: After a long week of Halloween celebrations, the mood of the crowd at the Fillmore Auditorium last Friday seemed perfect for a downtempo evening of grooving with UK Electronica Producer Bonobo and his highly anticipated live band. Though some speculated that the Fillmore was too large a venue for the show, no one was complained about the presence of dance floor space–it was cozy, but not claustrophobic, and on Halloween weekend in Denver, that is a rarity. Costumes, of course, abounded, and smiles too as the fans filed in and readied themselves for an evening of soulful music.
The Opener: Paul Basic. Upon entering the show, it became apparent that the plans had made a change; attendees in the queue pointed to signs posted that read “Due to unforeseen circumstances, Chet Faker will not be performing tonight.” The Australian EDM artist was the second act of three on the bill for the evening.
Once inside, the music of Paul Basic smoothed over any initial disappointment. The Colorado-native producer/DJ proudly sports the Pretty Lights Music label having grown up with Derek Vincent Smith and Michal Menert. Much like his buddies, Paul Basic matches old soulful vocal track samples with hard hitting bass and synth to create a sound that makes you want to move. Though the break in between sets due to the absence of Chet Faker was uncomfortably long, Paul Basic laid down a commendable set and by the time the wait in between acts was over, fans were restless with anticipation.
Bonobo Live: As lights went down in the Fillmore to make way for the main act, the stage darkened, and then an eerie light appeared, casting the silhouette of a man in front of what looked liked like some turntables and a mixer, but for once it was something else. It was Simon Green, aka Bonobo, and his xylophone, which he used to open the show, rendering the hauntingly mesmerizing “Cirrus.” Not a bad choice, the hit single from his latest album The North Borders was named one of NPR’s “50 Favorite Songs of 2013 (So Far).” And so, with the harrowing sounds of the xylophone, and a band armed with wind, strings, brass and percussion, the show had begun and everyone was ready for more.
Green then took over guitar, transitioning into “Sapphire,” a jazzier tune, and the audience fell into a deep groove. Singer Szjerdene made her entrance to the performance with “Two Towers”–her vocals are a sexy compliment to Bonobo’s sultry sound. They also played the popular “Stay the Same,” and “Kiara” brought the live band’s brass section front-and-center–it included sax, trumpet and trombone.
The rest of the show continued in the same lofty space; fluffy numbers like “Emkay” and “Nightlight” were in the mix. A sax and drum solo combo turned up the grit for a moment, but then back to Jazz with “The Keeper.” At some point, Szjerdene said her goodbyes, cueing the end of the show. A short instrumental encore performance was given; it was a perfect ending to a refreshingly chill show.
Stage Presence: B+
Set/Light Show: B