Upon hearing that one of the biggest names in electronic music is coming to town for the jazz festival, many might conjure up the image of a typical DJ set: flashing lights, club setting, a lone performer bobbing up and down on a platform with turntables and a heavy set of headphones. While in most cases this image would be accurate, the festival performance by EDM legend Bonobo will be a little less conventional.
While Si Green (aka Bonobo) is no stranger to the traditional DJ set, his live shows over the past several years have transformed to include keys, horns, electronics, guitar, and drums. Green doesn’t write his music with this performing arrangement in mind. He says, “I just make the record I want to make and then figure out whether it will work live.” After a record is finished, he spends several months configuring the live show – making arrangements, bringing the band together, rehearsing, and fine-tuning. The result is something that honours the music’s electronic roots while bringing it into a totally new world of sound.
To give you an example of what Bonobo sounds like in the studio vs. live with a band, here’s a side by side comparison of the track “Break Apart” from his Grammy-nominated 2017 release Migration.
Here’s the recorded version:
And here it is played live with a band on KEXP:
As for what we can expect when Si Green plays the Queen Elizabeth stage, the live show changes from city to city.
“It definitely depends on the city and crowd. The more I trust a city the more progressive and deeper I’ll go, where as if it’s a crowd I think it’s not up for new music I’ll just stick to a safer playlist. Places like Chicago, Montreal, the West Coast, I’ll go a little weirder. You have to judge the crowd to see how to see how far you can push them… I always like to find that line and take the crowd a little bit over it.”
Bonobo plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Monday, June 25 as part of our Marquee Series.