Bonjah’s album launch for Beautiful Wild atthe Corner Hotel on Friday May 9th was sold out due to popular demand. Melbourne folk duo The Pierce Brothers warmed up the crowd as supporting band before Bonjah appeared for their set.
Golden Times was the first track the Pierce twins performed, and the jubilant chorus called for fans to take off their t-shirts and fling them around the stage in rhapsody. It was hard to believe that this was just the beginning of the night.
Their infectious energy continued until the very end of the set, concluding with a wild combination of the didgeridoo, harmonica and the guitar all at once; the sound of ‘Flying Home.’ This evoked the biggest response as they took the crowd to new heights before announcing the headliners’ arrival.
Four-piece soulful rock band Bonjah arrived on stage with the resonating sound of electric guitar followed by the two-bar drum beats of ‘Bullet In The Barrel’. This opening song was a contrast to the dynamic ending of Pierce Brother’s Flying Home as the smoother lyrical vibes calmed the crowd. However, the energy wasn’t lacking; it had just taken on a steadier form of control.
The guitar soundscape, as well as the bright, clean and crisp drum beats with lyrics to match bought the mood up in the second song ‘Blue Tone Black Heart’. Luscious strobe lights then lit up the stage as the set carried onto ‘Big City Lights’. Bonjah’s performance so far felt like a roller coaster of dispositions, building and lowering momentum over each track.
The room was taken down to a peaceful level as the brooding flashes of electric guitar behind the steady, dulled down drumbeats of ‘Go Go Chaos’ filled the space in this Bon-Iver-like track. Lead singer Glen Mossop and guest performer Gena Rose Bruce took the stage shortly after to sing folk-infused ‘Sand,’ a track with a beautiful sadness to it. Their charismatic stage presence felt as though they’d been playing together for years.
‘Honey’ and ‘Beautiful World’ were the final tracks of the set, and unsurprisingly, Bonjah were called back for an encore. ‘Brother’, ‘Good Lovin’ and ‘Coming Down’ finished the night as the band were no longer blinded by the stage lights, requesting for all the fluorescents to come on so they could dance with the crowd.
Bonjah’s performance exuberated a mix of electric hooks, captivating vocals and bluesy rock fuelled confidence. The New Zealand four-piece reflected exactly what their album incites – they were beautifully wild.