Live Review: Bonavega at The Zebulon in Los Angeles, CA

Material: It takes all of two seconds to glean that the artist Bonavega is influenced by some of the more flamboyant and avant-garde rockers of yore, like David Byrne of Talking Heads and Freddie Mercury; but his own quirky production and unabashed raunchiness (on record and on stage) give his music a fresh, modern twist that you didn’t even realize you’ve been starved for.

Performance: You know you’re in the right place when the lead singer of the band sets up in a bright red Ferrari jumpsuit and impeccable glamour makeup that would make even your girlfriend jealous. Even more intriguing still is that when the show finally begins, he comes out donning a monk costume as old Televangelist video clips play ominously in the background. The pièce de résistance, however, has to be the completely NSFW pink leotard (if you can really call it that) he reveals after disrobing, and proceeds to rip to shreds within seconds of performing. Okay, his show is definitely not one for the faint of heart, but honestly, those bores should just stay home. Bonavega makes a statement, and he doesn’t really care if you agree with it or not. His oddball, off-center, synth-laden “Overdrive” was a crowd favorite, and had the same kind of bizarro quality you’d hear in a Peter Gabriel or a Eurythmics tune.

Musicianship: Bonavega's guitar and stage chops are nothing less than extraordinary. One minute he’s parading around on stage like an escaped lunatic, and the next he’s on his knees soloing with Prince-like precision. It’s purposeful chaos. This was the kind of performance that every aspiring performer should study and emulate, and one that even more seasoned performers would be terrified to follow up. In fact, Wilbarger is so hard to keep your eyes off of, that you almost forget how incredible and solid Joao Sousa’s drumming is.

Summary: Bonavega is without a doubt, one of the best hidden gems in the LA music scene. It is nothing short of astounding—a crime even––that they’re not yet performing on every coveted music festival and late night talk show there is. This is the kind of envelope-pushing performance art and masterful musicianship that has been missing since David Bowie. With the right push and the right song, Bonavega is poised to become stratospherically successful; possibly even iconic. If you haven’t seen Bonavega, run—do not walk—to go see them.

Contact: [email protected]
Web: Youtube.com/bonavega
Players: Joao Sousa, drums; Bonavega, guitar, vocals

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