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Bonobo’s global Migration Tour started in North America on Wednesday, April 12th, just a few days before Coachella, at The Fox Oakland. This was his first live performance since 2014 when he toured after producing his album, The North Borders. Since then the Bay Area has been a special place for producer and musician, Simon Green, with several DJ sets a year, and most recently, a NYE show at The Midway SF.

This show was to be my fourth time seeing Bonobo with each performance prior being a DJ set. Green’s sets are often long, elaborate constructions and deconstructions of beats and sounds. Both shows I attended in San Francisco were three hours of music. Green has a talent for leading the audience along a sonic pathway using heavy bass, musical notes, and a scattering of sounds, all while sampling music from across the globe.

The live portion of Bonobo’s music includes a band of seven with guitar, keys, brass section, drums, and Green on bass. Vocalist Szjerdene performed alongside singing for tracks such as Break Apart, No Reason, Surface, and Transits. The presentation of the band was subdued with each member placed in line with one another across the stage. Szjerdene stood in front looking elegant in a blue dress. Green stood on a slightly raised platform as he directed the night’s performance.

The show opened with the title track Migration, a slow melodic entry for the night, and shifted upbeat to 7th Sevens. The guitar playing over this track tantalized the audience, hinting at what was to come for the live show. Over the course of the song Szjerdene walked on stage and performed Break Apart, her vocals laying softly over the band’s music. The atmosphere immediately opened up as the beginning notes to The North Borders Kierra sent the audience into a frenzy.

Visuals for Bonobo’s tour were designed by Strangeloop, graphic designer David Wexler. Mr. Wexler has worked on various set designs for artists such as Flying Lotus and Skrillex. Bonobo’s visuals had a deeply mysterious feel as the perspective flew the audience over otherworldly landscapes. Floating pillars of light interlaced the landscapes transforming into psychedelic patterns and movements.

Bonobo’s performance lasted just under two hours. The night stretched on as Green led us in with tracks from Migration, The North Borders, and a few I’ll leave as a surprise for those waiting to see him live. The show itself was well thought out and nicely produced. There wasn’t a point where the energy dropped or lingered. The audience was closely attentive responding to the band’s energy and returning in kind. After the band walked off the stage the crowd cheered for a solid 5 minutes before Green and company returned for a three song encore.

The Migration tour is still in full swing. With Coachella completed Bonobo is about to embark across the US and Canada. On Friday, May 12th, Bonobo will perform at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater along with special guest Nick Murphy, aka Chet Faker during an event presented by AEG Live Presents Colorado readers are heavily encouraged to attend this incredible production. Bonobo is playing at the top of his game.  

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It was Saint Patrick’s Day. Everywhere you looked people were wearing shades of green.

The evening sunlight was beginning to fade and the sky darken to a blue-purple. I too was wearing green, however it wasn’t just for the holiday. My reasons were far more musically inclined. Tonight I was ready to get funky with the band Lettuce

Lettuce is a band of many talented musicians. The eight member band is comprised of drummer Adam Deitch (Break Science), guitarists Adam Smirnoff and Eric Krasno (Soulive), bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, keyboardist Neal Evans, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and trumpet players Eric Bloom (Sonic Bloom, and performed with Pretty Lights Analog Future Band) and Rashawn Ross. What happens up on stage when these musicians start performing is a sight to witness.

Lettuce embarked on their Mt. Crushmore Tour with a 2 night run at Brooklyn Bowl in NYC on January 3rd & 4th.

They worked their way west through February and landed on the west coast in early March. The Floozies and Russ Liquid Test joined Lettuce on stage at the Fox Theater – Oakland, a special celebration of funk and experimental electronic bands.

The night opened with Russ Liquid Test blasting basslines interlaced with production and brass from Russell Scott, guitarist Andrew Block, and drummer Deven Trusclair. An extended set break led to The Floozies sending us into a frenzy with guitarist Matt Hill and drummer Mark Hill grooving along building the night’s energy. Before I knew it the Fox was lit with lasers arcing across the ceiling and mezzanine. Cheers broke out and the party was only beginning.

I’d like to give a set list, or even talk about a few of the songs that Lettuce played during their set, however the energy of the night carried me away and led to an outpouring of dance moves and connecting with strangers. Fans of Lettuce know the experience: Deitch starts laying out a beat and Coomes strums along. Bloom and Zoidis blast away with their brass and the energy builds as a sonic explosion of guitars and keyboard zip in static focus. It’s magic what these guys do up on stage. Their energy is infectious.

The set went on well into the night, lasting over 80 minutes as build up onto build up moved the crowd along. Occasionally I’d look around and see nothing but smiling faces and hands up in the air. I relocated a few times as the crowd seemed to only push towards the front, eager to catch more of the funk. The dance floor was packed and felt like any sold out show I’ve been to at the Fox.

Lettuce will be returning to the Red Rocks Amphitheater with their 2nd annual Rage Rocks show on May 13, 2017.

Supporting acts include Ghostface Killah, George Porter Jr, Cyril Neville, Turkuaz, The Russ Liquid Test, J Rocc, and more.

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Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith) is upping the LIVE experience with his latest announcement.

The electronic music producer from Fort Collins, Colorado is returning to the Gorge Amphitheater for what is expected to be two nights of legendary performances.

Last year, Smith premiered the “Episodic Festival Tour” where I hit his festival in Telluride, Colorado. Read about the experience by clicking here. The sick photos below are from the event. Shot by Chris Kocher of CMK Photography who I teamed up to cover the performance.

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Pretty Lights Live. Season 2 premiere, Episode 6. will take place August 4th-5th at the Gorge Amphitheater (located in George, WA).

The two-night event is a continuation of 2016’s Episodic Tour where Derek Vincent Smith, Borahm Lee, Alvin Ford Jr., Chris Karns and Brandon Butler will perform both nights. Supporting the performers will be STS9, Tipper, Atmosphere, Lettuce, Cherub, Manic Focus, Chali 2na & Krafty Kuts, Kasbo, Marvel Years and Maddy O’Neal.

From Santa Cruz, California STS9 is a 5-piece electronic collective. Last September, “The Universe Inside” was dropped leading up to their two-day headliner at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. Experiencing the group live is hypnotic the lights enhance their futuristic sound.

Tipper, a composer known for bass-heavy, glitch-filled, downtempo beats and mind-altering visuals doesn’t have another tour date in Washington. I attended his three-night run at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. The final night was a “Cuddle Puddle.” It’s a performance I will never forget; blankets and pillows were scattered across the floor and everyone was laying down entranced by the stimulation happening on stage.

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One of my favorite groups Lettuce is bringing the FUNK! Silver Light Media – Contributor, Chris Kocher, recently reviewed their performance at The Fox Theater – Oakland, click here, to read. Originating in 1992 there are few bands I enjoy seeing more than this one. The eight musicians are beyond talented and headline festivals across the country.

Last spring, I had the privilege to interview Manic Focus via The Mile High Sound Movement, click here, to read. Bringing those electronic drops with a soulful twist John “JmaC” McCarten is embarking on a national tour with stops from Boulder, Colorado to Detroit, Michigan leading up to his stop at The Gorge. Check the dope new release, “Putting All Of My People On” featuring ProbCause below for one my favorite tracks from the artist at the moment.