Courtesy PhotoU.K.-raised Bonobo

Ascendant Bonobo swings through Warfield

Electronic music is having the Year of the Monkey.

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based downtempo producer Bonobo brings his spectacular 15-piece live band and light show — as well as iconic singer Erykah Badu — to the sold-out Warfield on Friday.

The band and Badu perform a reconstructed version of Bonobo’s (aka Simon Green’s) hit new record, “The North Borders,” as well as cuts from his killer back catalog.

It’s a psychic homecoming of sorts for the U.K.-raised maker of relaxed, organic tracks.

“There was an immediate connection with the Bay Area from when I first came out years ago. Somehow, I always knew there would be,” Green says. “They embraced me as a sort of honorary San Franciscan for some reason. When I started touring and coming to San Francisco, especially, I felt the most at home in America, other than in New York.”

Green, 37, has released five records since 2000, with the  2010 LP “Black Sands” taking his career to unseen heights, he says. “The North Borders,” released in April on Ninja Tune, has surpassed it, hitting No. 1 on the U.S. electronic-music charts and No. 4 on the U.K. dance charts and indie charts.

Crafted on headphones over 18 months, “The North Borders” is an evolution of his “Black Sands” sound: very instrumental and languorous, with lots of strings, sensual beats and digital textures. Green’s sound is more assured, cinematic, exquisitely produced and vocalist-packed than ever before.

Badu appears on the space-funk track “Heavenly Signs.” She opens for Bonobo’s live band in The City as DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown.

In a rare performance, Badu will likely sing a song with the full band, which includes drummers, strings, horns and more.

“The North Borders” tour is Green’s biggest to date.

“It’s kind of crazy. It feels like a big juggernaut that’s going to happen whether I’m a part of it or not,” he says.
The band should prove awe-inspiring and occasionally danceable.

“My DJ set is more about the dance floor,” he adds. “This is more about the performance, and it goes big with these very intense, dramatic moments and these loud, jump-up moments. It kind of goes everywhere. I’m very excited. I’ve always wanted to do a big theater show in San Francisco.”

Daily Spin


  • Afrolicious Album Release: The African diaspora-inspired Mission district music night and eight-piece band celebrates its new album with a party at Oakland’s most enthralling new spot. 8 p.m., $10-$12. New Parish, 579 18th St., Oakland, (510) 444-7474,


  • Cinco de Mayo Block Party: The Cinco de Mayo pre-party taking up a whole Mission district block at Public Works features DJ E-No, El Cool J, Panic City, Robot DeNiro, Tech Minds y mucho mucho mas. Noon, $10-$15. Public Works, 161 Erie St., S.F., (415) 779-6757,


  • Sunset Boat Party: Premier party producer Sunset Sound System cast off Sunday on its annual spring tour on the Bay. With DJs Solar, Galen, J-Bird and guests The Oliver Who Factory. 2 p.m., $55. Pier 3, S.F.,

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