Bonobo and El Ten Eleven hit Hollywood

By Aidan Breaux

Bonobo and El Ten Eleven made a stop in Hollywood this Cinco de Mayo. The dynamic duo El Ten Eleven joined together with DJ Simon Green, aka Bonobo, on a tour throughout the U.S. to highlight his recently released fifth album “The North Borders”.

El Ten Eleven consists of two guys, one who shreds a double-neck guitar while the other bangs on the drums. The self-labeled power duo loops different pieces of their music to make a harmonious whole, creating their own unique style of instrumental music.

Simon Green is a British musician, producer and DJ who performs under the stage name Bonobo. He produces down-tempo, electronic beats with heavy bass and drums. For many stops on Bonobo’s international tour, a live band performs the music that DJ Simon Green has electronically produced for his albums. Bonobo’s live show is unlike the stereotypical DJ set. Green takes turns playing the bass guitar and using his MacBook while conducting a talented mini orchestra in front of him. At times, there might even be ten people on the stage performing one song. Both El Ten Eleven and Bonobo put on unforgettable performances.

I ventured to Los Angeles to go see Bonobo for the third time in my life. The previous two times, I saw him perform in my hometown New Orleans at two different small, intimate venues. The show at the El Rey Theatre this weekend was much the same as my previous experiences.

I only waited in line for about five minutes even though I was attending a sold-out show. This gave me some time to appreciate the outside of the theatre with its art deco style and classic neon signs. The inside looked like a typical old single-screen movie theatre that had been stripped of its seats. Chandeliers hung above a room full of red carpet, red upholstery and red curtains. I felt like I was in a place straight out of a classic film. The small setting was perfect for the music that night, and I was easily able to secure a spot up front.

El Ten Eleven was up first. Although they only opened for the main act Bonobo, El Ten Eleven made me forget why I went to the show in the first place. The dynamic duo captured everyone’s attention. No one was dancing; everyone was just staring in amazement. There were no crazy light shows, no computers, nothing like that. It was incredible to see how two people could make a whole song using only two instruments to loop various individual jams together. I was close enough to see them loop everything and witness the complexity of each song. After 45 minutes of jamming, it was time for Bonobo.

Bonobo was a completely different experience. Simon Green opened up performing his first song alone and then brought in the live band for the rest of the show. A clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, flute, violin and several other instruments added harmony behind the beautiful sounds of Szjerdene, an up-and-coming female vocalist who is featured on Bonobo’s new album. Szjerdene had an incredible stage presence; she was literally in the spotlight making every song feel personal. Along with the live music, Bonobo’s act featured an incredible stage design that helped evoke the chill ambiance of down-tempo music. Colorful lights also lit up the background of the stage with a variety of designs to complement the music and keep the audience in a trance.

Overall, the concert was amazing. Both acts really blew me away and left me wanting more. The best part about their music is that you can listen to it at any time. El Ten Eleven and Bonobo are perfect for studying, driving in the car or hanging with your friends.