With a gig sold out more than six weeks in advance, anticipation at the Village Underground was high – the queue went round the corner.
Thankfully it moved pretty quickly, Village Underground’s size and high ceiling making it feel more like a live concert venue than a club.
First up is GoodLooking Records head honcho LTJ Bukem. Bukem is best known for producing jazzy, atmospheric d’n’b, with releases dating back to the early 90s. I knew what to expect, but was blown away by the huge rolling drum and bass we were treated to for the next two hours.
Chatting and dancing with people in crowd, it was obvious this was no Fabric, or other big club night. The event was intimate and the average age was close to 30. No rudeboys or obviously pinging disco junkies. All I could see was a crowd of smiling people wearing out the rubber on their shoes.
No surprises that hosting duties for the night were handled by Dynamite MC. One of the better known MCs on the drum and bass circuit, his rise to prominence came as emcee for Roni Size and Reprazent. Drum and bass MCs have their faults, but instead of inanely chatting every chance he got, Dynamite kept the night pointing in the right direction with carefully selected moments of vocal – accompanying the music instead of overpowering it.
At 2.00am Roni Size took the stage and was welcomed by a screaming crowd. Despite being a huge name on the circuit his London gigs are few and far between. He didn’t disappoint. Hearing him tease the crowd with intro of “Snapshot”, mixing it into another track and letting it ride until you almost forgot about it, then switching back to the drop – this man came to play. Although it was obvious Mr Size was having a bit too much fun himself, stopping the music on at least one occasion to talk with the crowd.
One such interruption resulted in him announcing a special guest, New Zealand native MC Tali, who kicked off with her 2004 track “Lyric on my lip”, and who continued to share the stage with Dynamite MC. The pair kept energy levels high for the rest of night, whilst Size dug deeper and deeper into his back catalogue.
Great venue, great music, great crowd. This event delivered on all three counts.
Roni Size and LTJ Bukem, Village Underground March 15th 2014