Pop Montreal review: Bonobo DJ set at Le S.A.T.


Bonobo (Simon Green). Photo courtesy of The Windish Agency.

Bonobo DJ Set
Le S.A.T.
Sunday, September 21

S.A.T sits at the bottom of rue St. Laurent, directly above Chinatown, in amongst the various strip-clubs, dive bars and the individuals who frequent those sorts of places. After dodging a line up of on-duty Riot police outside of neighbouring Club Soda, S.A.T’s gleaming glass structure seemed like an oasis. However, once inside, it became clear that the building’s appearance was misleading. Upon entering the venue, several pairs of shoes had been strewn around the floor, abandoned by their owners, perhaps forgotten. This would imply that more than one person had taken to dancing in their socks, or even their bare feet. Although it was unseasonably hot yesterday, it was a bit odd.

This was a sold-out event. Bonobo, also known as Simon Green, stood in front of the booth, shrouded in a black umbra. There was no way to get a glimpse of the DJ, but that was hardly the point. People stood in every direction, wide-eyed, dripping with sweat. It was impossible to move through the venue, and we eventually took refuge at a table beside a very large garbage can that smelled of stale beer. Some danced alone, making quiet, repetitive movements, visibly in a land far, far away. Others danced together, jumping, fist pumping, and having a genuinely good time. Bright lights coated the crowd; all were awash in deep purples, bright pinks, and rich blues. A strobe light stuttered, several people attempted to crowd surf, clumsily floating over the animated bodies. Bonobo said nothing, as not to break the stream of consistent rhythms. He played a number of tracks from his last LP, Black Sands, including crowd-favourite “Eyesdown.” The music was smooth, flowing like water, drenching the audience. Bodies moved as through stuck in an invisible current, trying to pull their way ashore.

Both of the bars were completely congested, free shots were handed out in small quantities, drinking water was no where to be found. Luckily, wine was readily available. It had been imported, transported in a water bottle, from dinner earlier that evening: it quenched our thirst just fine. Nearing the end of Bonobo’s set, the crowd grew rowdy, noisy, and not quite ready to let go of POP Montreal.  But of course it had ended, and within minutes, the entire audience spilled back out into the streets, gliding into the night.

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