PREVIEW: KADHJA BONET Opening for MITSKI @ Wonder Ballroom, April 9th
Written by Tiger Cub on April 5, 2017
FFO: Janelle Monae, Goldfrapp, Curtis Mayfield
Los Angeles songwriter Kadhja Bonet brings her mischievous brew of torch-soul futurism to the Wonder Ballroom, opening for synth-pop chameleon Mitski this Sunday, April 9th. According to her Bandcamp biography, Bonet is 232 years old and her name sounds like kad-ya. On her most recent release, 2016’s The Visitor, available at http://www.kbonet.com, Bonet’s silky voice delivers tales of a woman seeking a life of depth and self-respect amidst a backdrop of lush orchestral arrangements and drum-kit percussion crisp as a winter morning.
“If I don’t confess/ Will I have regrets?/ Will it shape my future?”, she asks on “Gramma Honey”. These reflective lyrics are emblematic of an introspective yet forward-looking bent to her style of expression. Meanwhile the unguarded love song “Nobody Other”, distinguished by a happy sad Brazilian-inflection, flutters on a light breeze. “Let me show what you mean to me” she implores, and this appeal speaks to a persistent occupation with fullness and richness in her music, in the lushness of the arrangements, and in the lyrical concerns with deep, durable, transformative connections.
“Honeycomb” swells with orchestral textures while a no-nonsense backbeat keeps the proceedings businesslike. Atop this tension Bonet’s delicate yet solid voice evokes ascended masters like Ella Fitzgerald and Chet Baker but enmeshed in an aesthetic that has more in common with freakfunk luminary Janelle Monae. A genuine balance of vulnerability and confidence draws and commands the listener’s attention, soothing while compelling emotion. The souful, rhythmic blend of stylistic elements backing up Bonet’s insightful songwriting voice should make for an intriguing, mesmerizing live show.