Bonobo’s fifth studio LP, The North Borders, may be his best one yet, and the ever-growing American dance music crowd is definitely taking notice. The British heavyweight was greeted at Webster Hall on Friday to a sold-out show, something which I’m sure he’s grown used to. As Shigeto peacefully opened the stage for him in a glinting fashion, Bonobo quickly stole the show with his hits from Black Sands and The North Borders.
I nudged my way through the hoards of people, only to get to the middle of the crowd, but as I looked up, the graceful Szjerdene meandered onto the stage, lending her vocals to the track “Stay The Same” off Black Sands, which managed to sound even better in person thanks to the drummer’s pounding beat.
For reasons unknown to me, the crowd didn’t seem to get into the show until the very end. For the most part, there were just clusters of people swaying side to side with expressionless faces, almost as if it were a chore to be there. It wasn’t till around his last couple of song that people stopped acting like zombies.
Bonobo was unfazed by the audience’s reaction, taking us on an ample journey, beautifully mixing his upbeat tunes like “Emkay” and “Jets” along with his more mellow tunes like “First Fires” and “Pieces.” He closed out the show, with my personal favorite, “Know You,” which is the perfect exit song. Making for a composed performance, he left the stage having showcased how truly great The North Borders is. The album was already on my list of favorite albums of 2013, and with that performance it just moved up a little higher.