The bustling harbour and the setting sun created a picturesque backdrop for the opening night of the Bristol Sounds four-day concert series, complete with an array of boats with their sunburnt occupants floating around the back of the stage ready for a free listen.
LA-based Jens Kuross was first up, having supported Bonobo on their worldwide tour so far. And as the sun started to set on the longest day of the year, Simon Green aka Bonobo took to the stage, for the first time in Bristol since 2014.
The full band opened up proceedings, warming up with a few tracks from their newest and sixth full-length album Migration, with Szjerdene Mulcare on the vocals.
Considering the choppy, electronic sound of the new album, it translated to a live band really well. Particularly the drummer, who for a nice change of scenery, wasn’t hidden at the back. I found myself drawn to him throughout the set, which seemed to breath some life into some of the more chilled out numbers like Migration and Bambro Koyo Ganda.
The set wasn’t one for the purests, as hardly anything pre Black Sands was played. However, We Could Forever and Kiara were well received from the crowd and seemed to satisfy the cravings for some classics.
a carefully constructed set, designed to build momentum and deliver a few euphoric moments throughout
A few tunes from North Borders were played, including a very interesting version of First Fires, in which Mulcare took the vocal reigns otherwise held by American singer songwriter Grey Reverend.
This served as a welcome break in the latter half of a carefully constructed set, designed to build momentum and deliver a few euphoric moments throughout, keeping the crowd engaged. Like We Could Forever, and the last tune of the encore, Know You.
In a press release after the release of Migration, Simon Green described the album as a ‘study of people and space’, which is apparent with the geographical reference the visuals made, with immersive images panning over huge, often alien-like landscapes, also serving as a nod to the album artwork.
It was also apparent throughout the set the sound guys had done their job, and more. The bass was huge, without drowning out some of the more softer instruments, allowing the subtleties Green is know for to shine through.