RONI SIZE @ Villa gets 8/10

Roni Size plays New Forms @ Villa
w/ Samantics, Micah b2b Yattaman, Impulsv, Temple b2b Sphere, MCs Macshane, Xsessiv & J Rippa
Saturday, November 4, 2017


It’s been a long time since Roni Size was in town. The drum ‘n’ bass legend has been quiet of late, but he has re-energised once more to tour in celebration of the 20th anniversary of New Forms – his seminal album produced along Bristol massive Reprazent, which famously won the Mercury Prize in 1997 over The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and even Radiohead’s OK Computer.

It was one of the most definitive electronic albums of the 90s, and brought drum ‘n’ bass into the mainstream and onto the world stage with Reprazent’s full live shows, incorporating the jazz influence with live drums and double bass. While he resurrected Reprazent briefly in 2008, this tour promised to be the first time Size would perform the album live solo.

It also touted a state of the art 3D projection light show. However, in Perth, we got a cut down version of the show – no doubt due to not enough tickets sales. While the upstairs wasn’t open, the downstairs was still packed with a great atmosphere. The full 3D light cube wasn’t on display, but the visuals were still very impressive, immersive and well-choreographed to match the music, projected on the screen behind Size.

His set was also only an hour long, while New Forms runs just under 80 minutes. While it was only an hour, it was intense. It wasn’t a straight performance of the album as some may have hoped. The set featured remixed and remastered tracks from the album, new versions and arrangements, as well as some remixes of other classic tracks.

Impulsv started the night off, before an awesome rare set featuring Micah playing back to back with Yattaman. The duo bounced alongside each other weaving a great warm up set of jump-up jungle and swinging d’n’b.

Samantics scored the prime-time slot and did brilliantly, lifting the vibe with some deeper, liquid sounds, ably assisted by Perth veteran MC J Rippa, and later on, the newer local legend Macshane.

There was much anticipation in the air, with a giant double keyboard and laptop live rig perched at the back of the stage like a spaceship control centre, promising big things. And sure enough right on 1am, Roni Size emerged on stage in a shroud of smoke, sporting a baseball cap, sneakers and dreads down to his ass. He didn’t waste any time dropping the beat – the lights and big screen behind him exploded as he controlled the massive, bone-shaking wall of sound.

Roni Size

The opening track of the album Railing rolled in with the familiar flow of Dynamite MC, which all fans knew meant very soon he was about to drop his absolute classic, signature track Brown Paper Bag. As that double-bass riff sounded, the crowd erupted in cheers, and the drop after the “Mmmmmmmmmm!” was massive and had everyone cutting loose on the dancefloor.

That’s the great thing about drum ‘n’ bass crowds as opposed to other more posey gigs, everyone was there to dance and get into the music.

There were some issues getting his mic working, but finally after some fiddling, it was replaced and Roni got to say a few words, professing some wisdom, his love for the crowd and the scene that has taken him this far.

Roni Size

Heroes from the album was another highlight, with its smooth jazzy flavours fattened up with heavy bass and rolling beats. The visuals were awesome, but it made you imagine what the full mindblowing 3D show would be like. Maybe another time we’ll get to see it.

His set rose to a huge climatic peak of white noise, before he got on the mic to thank everyone and introduce an exclusive remix of Unfinished Symphony by Massive Attack, who he started it all with back in the day as part of The Wild Bunch sound system. It was a fittingly euphoric finale. “Bristol massive reprazent!” he exclaimed.

It was left to Temple and Sphere to finish the night, and they did well to keep the energy levels high for the decent portion of punters still ramped up and wanting to boogie.

A great night in the presence of a legend, performing his magnum opus – though not quite reaching the grand heights it could have.


Photos by KS Digital


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