‘This live project started up 15 years ago in a pub in Shoreditch, and now it has ended up with two sold-out nights here’ – Bonobo’s (real name Simon Green) rise has been a steady, but notably impressive one. His most recent trio of studio albums – 2010’s Black Sands, 2013’s The North Borders and his most recent effort in 2017’s Migration – has put him in the higher echelons of Britain’s electronic music scene, packing out venues across the UK and becoming a worthy festival headliner. After a pair of sold out dates at O2 Academy Brixton last February, it was only natural for him to continue his UK headline tour in support of Migration to its near-end,with a return to one of London’s most iconic venues.
Support for the evening was easily one of the more diverse offerings I’ve personally witnessed. First up were Innov Gnawa, a band from New York playing a form of traditional Moroccan music known as Gnawa for the gathering crowd. It was an unusual but welcome sight to see music from this part of the world being aired in such a venue as Ally Pally: the five band members clearly enjoying the experience and met with a shared appreciation from the audience.
The other support slot fell down to GoGo Penguin – a trio whose musicality and technical proficiency at their respective instruments was apparent right from opener ‘Raven’. Nick Blacka’s complex but efficient approach to double bass was met with Chris Illingworth’s expansive piano sound and Rob Turner’s urgent drumming. Their most recent album A Humdrum Star is out now via Blue Note Records, and if you like your music intricate, they’d be one to check out.