RONI SIZE/REPRAZENT RONI SIZE/REPRAZENT RONI SIZE/REPRAZENT
at the Guvernment, March 12. Tickets: $30. Attendance: 500. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
when roni size's reprazent col- lective last came through town three years ago, there was barely room to breathe. Packed into the now-defunct Industry club, the drum 'n' bass-juiced crowd barely stopped moving for two or three hours, heaving frantically to the double-time beat.
The scene at the Guvernment during Reprazent's overdue return was a little more subdued. It's hard to work up a Saturday-night burst of energy at 10:30 pm on a rainy Monday, so no surprise that outside of a few pockets of kung-fu dancing, this was very much a live show, where people peered at the stage through clouds of dry ice and swayed politely.
What hasn't changed in three years is the intensity Size and crew bring to the stage. Reprazent have survived the popular death of drum 'n' bass because of their live shows. More punk than processed dance music, the eight-piece mob demolish the concept of live dance music as dull.
With Size and fellow producers Die, Suv and Krust hidden in the fog, the real action was up front. MC Dynamite leapt around trying to stir up the hiphop vibe of the previous album, New Forms, by shouting out a stream of empty rap cliches. Meanwhile, Onalee crooned like a soul diva and drummer Rob Merrill and bassist Si John bashed out accelerated rhythms.
The harder-edged feel of Reprazent's In The Mode disc was all but abandoned in favour of a return to the looser, jazzy funk of New Forms -- no shock, given the lukewarm reception of the new disc. When Size dropped the live instruments and simply hammered out the breaks from behind his computer screen, it was like 1996 all over again.
The largely static vibe of the night suggests that pushing this music to another level is going to be tough for Size, but a live album might be a good place to start.