For 40 years the Albert Hall in Manchester, a grade II listed Wesleyan chapel, has laid dormant and unnoticed. That is until Trof, the people behind two other fantastic venues in the city the Gorilla and the Deaf Institute, renovated the dilapidated building in to a stunning music hall. When the chance to see one of my favourite artists Bonobo at this stunning new venue came along, the tickets were a must buy.
The Albert Hall is located on Peter Street, handily situated next door to the Brew Dog bar which is spot on for a pre gig pint. The venue is arranged over two floors with a bar area down stairs and the concert venue up stairs. The renovation has been very tastefully done and the building is absolutely beautiful. The gothic features like the stained glass give the place a bit of magic and gives a sense of intimacy in what is a fairly big venue. The concert hall itself is split in to standing downstairs and seating on the balcony upstairs although this was not differentiated between with different ticket bands at this particular gig and you could be where ever you wanted to be. In the standing area the floor is ever so slightly sloped towards the stage meaning it’s a good view from wherever you are in the crowd. Drinks were very pricey, £4.50 for a can of San Miguel, although these days in a venue of it’s size and in one of the big cities this is probably fairly standard pricing. The place was full and buzzing and the stage was set for Bonobo to show us what he had.
Bonobo is the moniker used by Brighton based musician/DJ/producer Simon Green. Signed to the fantastic Ninja Tune label Simon has been making chill out electronica, hip-hop, acid jazz, downtempo tracks since the late 90s. Over the last few years he shot to fame with two of my favourite albums ‘Black Sands’ and ‘The North Borders’ both being featured in many best album lists for their corresponding years. His stuff is very orchestral and soulful and usually builds from a solid and complex central bass line or beat. You have probably heard some of his music used for adverts, television and soundtracks as his style suits this kind of use very well.
There were no support acts and so we were straight in to the main event which at first I found a little disappointing but as the set unfurled with all of Bonobos different styles and collaborations and musicians interchanging on stage a support act wasn’t required, it felt like four bands playing at once all intertwined within the same set. At times Bonobo was centre stage on his own with his music sequencing equipment holding its own along with spectacular lighting and graphics displays behind him, at other times he had a full band made up of a string ensemble, keyboardist, brass section, flute and sax, drums and vocalists (mainly the stunning and talented Szjerdene) and Simon himself taking to the bass guitar as part of the band. The talent of these musicians was plainly very high indeed and they brought the North Borders album to life on stage moving on and off as they were needed.
It was a mesmerising show, interesting and attention grabbing, Bonobo was the perfect artist for this beautiful new venue with both having a mix of modern and classical styles. A fantastic gig in a brilliant new venue, if you get the opportunity to either see Bonobo or to see live music at the Albert Hall in Manchester, grab it with both hands.
[contact-form] Bonobo @ The Albert Hall In Manchester For 40 years the Albert Hall in Manchester, a grade II listed Wesleyan chapel, has laid dormant and unnoticed.