Words and photos by Kristofer Thomas
Almost two decades after his genre-defining and Mercury prize-winning New Forms with Reprazent, Roni Size is still at the top of his game. Tonight Size, alongside DJ Krust, presented the collaborative project Full Cycle, a set that Dynamite MC assured us was not back to back, but rather side to side.
The night opened with Manchester collective North Base and MC Longman, who over the space of two hours primed the audience with an energetic, if scattered, set of classics, nostalgic cuts and modern hits alike. The group closed out with Chase and Status’s ‘Blind Faith’, before Size and Krust took to the stage at 1am and proceeded to strip the paint from the walls with a seamless blend of incendiary basslines and pummelling amen breaks.
The soundsystem threatened to tear the building from its foundations and shook the upper balcony where we stood with every beat. I later ventured into the crowd, to a spot in between pillars we were informed was the venue’s acoustic hotspot, and soaked in the intensity of it all.
Most notable was the distinct stamp of quality on the entire performance. With no missteps to be seen in terms of technique or atmosphere, the night was undoubtedly the work of artists who have spent nearly 20 years refining their craft.
A master class in mixing technique and set list curation, all tied together with an unfaltering emcee performance and a real sense of anticipation and excitement from the crowd to see Size in the room. Though drum and bass may currently play second fiddle to the populist house uprising, tonight was a demonstration of how the genre can engage audiences in a manner other genres never could.
The gig took place on Saturday 16 April, 2016, at Band on the Wall.