Live review: Saturday at Barrowland Ballroom, BBC 6 Music Festival 2017 (4 stars)

Bonobo, Thundercat, Songhoy Blues, Loyle Carner add an exciting dose of international flair to Barrowlands

Live review: BBC 6 Music Festival, Saturday at Barrowland Ballroom

Songhoy Blues / credit: BBC/Sarah Jeynes

Gilles Peterson's introduction to Thundercat as 'one of the best bass players in the world' may seem like quite the endorsement, but it's one that is wholly accurate. From soulful opener 'Rabbot Ho' to the blistering grooves of 'Them Changes', the musicianship and flair on display is awe-inspiring. Thundercat's impeccable bass playing is complemented by his soft falsetto vocals and the jazz, blues and occasional bossa nova-style rhythms that accompany his funk-infused sound.

The energy sets the tone for the rest of the evening, with Timbuktu's Songhoy Blues following with their blues-rock and exuberant dancing in full flow, despite missing their usual bass player. Special mention should also be given to Loyle Carner, who opened the evening's proceedings with an impassioned rendition of 'Isle of Arran', peppering his set with various poignant anecdotes about his family.

What all three acts have in common is their ability to add an element of variation to the 6 Music Festival, alternating from the more common indie-rock offerings associated with the overall line-up. This is further underscored by headliner Simon Green aka Bonobo, whose distinctive brand of downtempo electronica gloriously pulsates in the arched ceiling of the Barrowlands. The thundering bass, brass accompaniment and mesmerising vocals of Szjerdene Fox all work in sync to build up the euphoria of tracks like 'Break Apart' and 'No Reason'. Elsewhere, Green, strapped to his bass, takes centre stage, captivating the crowd with his clear technical skill. The great attention paid to the instrumentation and the scattering of tracks from older releases as well as latest album Migration all contribute to a genuinely stellar set, with ambience and vitality supplied in equal measure.

BBC 6 Music Festival 2017 can be watched on BBC iPlayer.

Loyle Carner

The MC from South London continues his moves up and around the scene with another UK wide tour. From his early appearances in 2013 the hip hop rapper has gone from strength to strength, appearing on BBC Radio One and hitting the A-List on 6Music.

East Village Arts Club, Liverpool

Sat 30 Sep

£19.80 / 0151 559 3773

Exeter Phoenix

Tue 10 Oct

£19.25 / 01392 667080

The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich

Sun 8 Oct


Also at:

Songhoy Blues

The group from Mali, led by guitarist Garba Toure, performs its desert blues material.

Anson Rooms, Bristol

Fri 1 Dec


Church Leeds

Tue 28 Nov


Manchester Academy

Wed 29 Nov


£15.95 / 0161 275 2930

Also at:


Session bassist who has played with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, Miguel and punk band Suicidal Tendencies and therefore laughs in the face of musical boundaries when it comes to his solo work.

Albert Hall, Manchester

Wed 15 Nov


O2 ABC, Glasgow

Tue 14 Nov

£22.50 / 0141 332 2232

O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London W12

Thu 16 Nov

£27.50 / 0844 477 2000


Downtempo hip hop and ambient electronica from this LA-based DJ/producer.