Rain or shine, Red Rocks is an ideal venue for any performance. This was especially true on Friday when Nick Murphy and Bonobo co-lined with special guests Marcus Marr and Innov Gnawa, and audience members were surprised with a spring storm a 1/3rd of the way through the show. Warm summer breezes, a glowing full moon, dazzling laser exhibitions, and the music of course, made for a really wonderful beginning to my own Red Rocks season.
While at Red Rocks for this particular event, I was highly discouraged when I met a handful of people that had a) never heard of Bonobo b) weren’t intending on staying past Nick Murphy’s set. I made my frustration apparent and hopefully convinced those humans otherwise, because man, would they miss out. A redeeming experience however was that this was truly an all-ages show, including the cutest five year old I had the pleasure of running into, who had wonderful things to say about her own fun dancing with mom and the lights!
Nick Murphy is the latest project of artist previously known as Chet Faker, who’s newest EP, Missing Link came out earlier this year. Maybe biased because I was fond of his music as Chet Faker, I was surprised at the energy level of Murphy’s set, which was simply slow for what I knew was to come from Bonobo. Dave Chappelle said it best when he said, “White people love electric guitar.”, but this was a little too much for my taste. Despite being a more stand and sway set, Murphy played fan favorites such as “Your Time” ft. Kaytranada and “Forget About Me”, which threw a few more high energy numbers into the mix. Murphy also invited Marcus Marr on stage with him for multiple collaborative performances, which was a nice addition to the overall fluidity of the show.
Incorporating the openers was a reoccurring theme apparently, as Bonobo followed suit by bringing traditional Moroccan gnawa band, Innov Gnawa on stage for Migration’s banger, “Bambro Koyo Ganda”. Their lively, wordly sounds were mixed with heavy drops of bass and sultry dance music. The crowd vibrated along while being immersed in a visual experience consisting of organic nature visuals on split panels behind the band and a psychedelic light show. Other special guests included angelic singer, Szjerdene and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Both were incredible additions to the live show that allow Simon Green’s (Bonobo) vision to come to life through magnificently talented people.
Crowd pleaser that he is, Simon Green played favorites from previous albums, and danced them the hell up. “Cirrus” and “Kiara” were my favorites to come up, and fans would agree that this set was the perfect blend of old and new. “Break Apart”, “Kerala”, and “No Reason” ft. Nick Murphy were highlights from the newest album, Migration, and all contributed to the dancefloor dreamland Green creates every time he performs.
Dreamland created, Murphy and Green were a dynamic duo with a humble presence to their display. 9/10.
Words: Lina Skrzypczak
Images: Austin Voldseth