U.K. jungle-music ace Roni Size may well be the one artist who can rescue the ailing genre from its unfortunate late-’90s run-in with widespread visibility and commercial success, as well as from the resulting unfortunate bandwagoneers who co-opted the once-underground movement.
Adhering to the fundamental hip-hop roots of the frenetic dance style, Size and his Reprazent compatriots — a unique lineup comprising three deejays, a drum ‘n’ bass combo and two alternating vocalists — old-schooled the soldout House of Blues on the surreal potential of modern electronica with a high-energy, hour-plus production.
Size, along with his longtime collaborators DJ Die, Suv and DJ Krust, mysteriously worked a DJ deck and console, carefully manipulating a succession of awesome break-beats and unpredictable, tension-building rhythms, punctuated by the cascading and throbbing efforts of bassist Si John.
The resulting orchestration produced a hypnotic effect on the jammed dance floor, which was hopping and swaying throughout.
Adding to the drama Friday, the second show of a monthlong North American itinerary, was the surprise appearance on drums of former Soul Coughing member Yuval Gabay, who heroically subbed (on one day’s notice) for Reprazent drummer Rob Merrill, who was taken ill just before the previous night’s show in Anaheim.
Vocals were ably handled by the versatile MC Dynamite, who kept the energy level high with his masterful dancehall skills, as during a powerful rendition of recent single “Who Told You,” and his female counterpart Onallee, who shined brightest during a thrilling read of club fave “Lucky Pressure.” (Both songs are from Reprazent’s 2000 Island Records release “In the Mode.”)