All eyes on Bonobo – Simon Green
Bonobo is very popular and loved by his many devoted fans, something which is evident from the very first beat. Bonobo aka Simon Green is plaing Vega in Copenhagen during Strøm festival 2014 and the venue is sold out. I am shooting the concert for the Strøm festival and have managed to snake my way to the very front. Like the other 1200 people in the crowd I anxiously await Bonobo’s appearance on stage. Vega’s wonderful stagelights illuminate the center of the stage and Simon Green appears, alone. He grabs a pair of drum sticks and strikes the first beat of the song Cirrus from his latest Northern Borders album. The crowd erupts in a massive cheer. Bonobo has us spellbound and he never lets up. The rest of the band appear after the first song and the singer Szjerdene Fox mesmerizes us with her melancholic vocals. They naturally perform most of the songs from the Northern Borders album but also dip into the older albums. It is a near perfect performance as the performances fuse with the audio and video and transports us all to some magical Bonobo land for close to two hours.
I did not know Bonobo all that well before the concert, I knew his name and had heard and loved the Northern Borders album featuring Bonobo’s trademark downtempo trip hop electronica with complicated basslines and guest vocalists. I was certainly looking forward to the concert but my expectations were blown away by the quality performance. Bonobo live comes with a full live band and singer and instead of just replicating the recorded versions like many ‘live’ electronic bands, they perform live versions of the songs and add in what feels like a fair amount of improvisation. The Singer Szjerdene Fox and Bonobo’s drummer in particular stands out in my memory, performing an amazing ‘jam’ session at the end of the show.
As is usually the case with concerts where I am working, I remember roughly half of it. The moments where I stood still and listened are still playing in my head like the concert was yesterday. The moments where I was focusing on shooting and running around the entire venue, onto the balcony, down again, to the front, to the back etc tend to be a very busy blur. I love shooting music but at times it makes the concert experience really peculiar and uneven.
I would not trade my job for anything though, but Bonobo’s live tour was so spectacular I really hope to catch them again some day where I will happily buy a ticket just so I can listen. It is something not to be missed, do go if you get the chance. In the meantime I shall be playing lots of Bonobo tunes every day in the car on our USA road trip.
Singer Szjerdene Fox
Vega’s wonderful stagelight focuses on Simon Green
Szjerdene Fox caught in beams of light
The full Bonobo live band
Singer Szjerdene Fox
Bathed in red towards the end of the show
Captured on Fuji X-T1 and Fuji X-Pro1 cameras.
Charlene piloting our Ravemobile v3 through California
We are back! Back in the USA where Mad and Magic Raving part III takes place over the next 2.5 months.
The road is home.
A quiet moment before the beats and bass and work commenced at ‘Bas Under Buen’, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, July 2014. Picture by Charlene Winfred.
For two years I have been fortunate to work as a commercial music photographer. Having been seriously into music since the age of 11 or 12 it is a dream come true, but it took me a long time to realise I should bring my camera to music events and combine my love of photography and music.
A few weeks ago I get a phone call from TV and Movie producer, director and writer Mads Tobias Olsen. “Hey would you like to appear on my TV talkshow?”. “Ehm, yeah, sure, sounds like fun” was my reaction (can’t keep a diva out of the limelight).
Mads’ show is called MOSAIK and is about integration and ethnicity and normally deals with local issues in Copenhagen. This time he wanted to flip the perspective and have me talk about my nomad life, why I choose to live like this, my experiences traveling around the world for 5 years and most importantly – my perspective on Copenhagen and integration, multi-culturalism from a nomadic traveling Dane spending most of his time abroad. I must commend Mads’ on being extremely prepared and having read close to my entire blog. It made for good questions from Mads’ and I was quite happy with the fact I was more concise and on topic than normally (I tend to waffle on a bit).
It was filmed “live to tape” last week and was a great experience. They also featured 50 of my images in the background of the talk, which look cool. The show is in Danish so get going on those language lessons if you don’t already speak this wonderful weird language! Enjoy, oh and spot the point where my restless body becomes so restless I have to start dancing to some inner beats. If the embedding does not work, go here: http://web-kanalen.dk/webtv/78/1350 Thanks to Mads for having me on the show, it was fun and a good learning experience.
I am caught in the light at work at Strøm festival, picture by Charlene Winfred.
Even for an experienced time-traveler this summer in Copenhagen was a strange event in the space time continuum. Seems like summer began only yesterday but I have been in Copenhagen for 3 months and Charlene arrived two months ago. After a nice start to July, a hundred things since then tore me in a hundred directions and here we are, packing up and leaving Copenhagen again. Time does not seem to care about all the best intentions in the world, sometimes I feel in control and at other times it is like a wild ride and you just hang on, only at the end to look up and ask “what happened?”. Naturally, pretending to be a time-lord I get mad at myself and the universe for not allowing me to be being the master of time and all things when they don’t exactly go as planned (what does really?).
Unforseen negative things and people were allowed to steal too much energy. And somehow over the past month I have also managed to bruise my ribs, tear a muscle in my chest, get the flu and get every muscle and nerve stuck in my neck and left shoulder. This time-traveler is getting a bit old. Not something I am used to, being less than 100%, and I do not handle it all that well.
Fortunately, magic continues to happen and I am the luckiest time traveler in the world as Charlene puts up with me and even finds me funny when I am grumpy. We have done some fantastic work that I am proud of at our company Coffee and Magic which grows in awesomeness every day. This company and our work is extremely important to me, it is proving a very special thing. This summer we even created wicked new sites for me and for Charlene as well. I really look forward to showing you the websites we have coming up. Imagine that, I like working with IT again.
Ah well, enough of the grumpyness and letting out steam. The TARDIS is now ready for our upcoming US Mad and Magic road trip and many very positive things happened in Copenhagen. Met great friends, made new friends, worked some great events working for great people and some of the nicest memories are of two trips to Jylland where Charlene got to meet most of my family. I have a million things to be happy and thankful for, life is weird and dark and bright and wonderful.
“I am and always will be the optimist, the hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams.” – Doctor Who
Number one thing to be thankful for: Charlene (caught in the light at Hipster Bridge in Copenhagen)
Sometimes I make an image that for me sums up a whole concert in one picture. This is captured at VEGA the same night I shot these portraits of Questlove and DJ Rafik. On stage is Questlove behind the decks, Lord Finesse on the mike and members of the Wu-Tang Clan hovering around. Questlove played a two hour blinding set, some of the best music I have heard in a long time. The room was hot and packed. The audience were loving every beat. The light and sound was outstanding. The stage was filled with incredible characters. The moment was perfect.
A week ago I had the pleasure of shooting DJ Rafik for the second time this year. I first shot him at the Red Bull Distortion street party and was highly impressed by his set, but clearly I had seen and heard nothing yet. Rafik is a 6 time World DJ champion and at the Red Bull Music Academy Vanguard festival afterparty there was room on stage for his gear and epic skills as a turntablist, musician and producer. We all stood around mesmerized by the impossibly fast yet seemingly effortless mixing, scratching, cutting and editing. The beats were groovy, the performance was jaw-dropping. At times it appears the hands were moving faster than the eye can follow as tunes and beats were cut up, juggled and re-composed. It was one hour of wizardry by this German magician, fortunately I managed to pick my jaw off the floor and shoot a few pictures.
My images only tell part of the story, to really see DJ Rafik in action, watch him performing in this video. I hope to work with DJ Rafik again soon, if you get a chance then do go see and hear him, it is truly special.
The magicians toolbox
DJ Rafik and the MC of the night, legendary Lord Finesse
All eyes on DJ Rafik