New Zealand exports Bonjah have got all the makings to be one of the next big ‘Australian’ bands. Well-written songs, good-looking guys, and enough triple j airplay to ensure that at least 20% of the audience at their show at the Prince Bandroom were there on a brief excursion from the dreaded outer suburbs.
Having been told by a friend that the title track of their new album, Go Go Chaos, had put her in such a forlorn daze that she had driven straight through a red light the first time she heard it, this reporter was very keen to check out what all the fuss was about. Bonjah definitely delivered some sort of goods, but with a set mainly filled with more up-tempo songs, there was no paralleled hypnotism held throughout the night.
Instead, a single girl at stage right seemed to set the mood for the night. Bleached blonde and in a small red dress she danced like Elaine Benis, making rude gestures to the unfortunate photographer who was getting in her way. She punched and jerked her way through singles “The White Line” and “Fly”, and the people surrounding her got similarly into it.
The band as a whole was very good. Their music was tight and well rehearsed and there’s no doubting that they deserve the large amounts of praise that they have been receiving of late. Each member had a great deal of stage presence, which teamed with their catchy, summery jams spells out nothing but commercial success.
Still somewhat undefined, their sound seemed to completely change to something new just when you began to get comfortable with what they were already playing. This provided multiple surprises all throughout the set for one who isn’t entirely familiar with their catalogue. The guitarist’s brief forays into a more psychedelic sound were one of the nicest surprises for this scribe.
Lead singer Glenn Mossop’s croons had the soft, aching swells of a liquid velvet, but although sincere, the dancing girls in the audience in the more up-tempo songs seemed to get to his head a little. He wasn’t entirely limited to his patriarchal sex appeal and his forced charisma – it should be noted that had his charisma and good looks been left at home, you would be left with the makings of a pretty good set of songs. (And hey, if he didn’t have a slightly over-inflated ego, he probably wouldn’t be the fronting man of a band in the first place.)
Bonjah are a star on the rise, and despite not quite living up to the enchantment of that initial first listen, the ecstatic glint in fans’ eyes as they returned to the stage for one more song showed that magic was indeed evident to most of those in attendance.
– Ella Jackson
Photograph © Corey Wright