Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Roni Size @ The Black Box in Denver, Colorado (3/11/17) [Review]


Review By: Justin D'Amico


Saturday night The Black Box hosted a true legend of electronic music; Roni Size. Coming all the way from Bristol, England to lay it down for the bass addicts of Denver. I have been a fan of Roni Size for decades but have never had the pleasure of seeing him. Now he is back on the scene with a new feel and even longer dread locks! It was an excellent night and the people came out to represent the old school hero of drum and bass.


A lot of changes have been made to The Black Box in it's short existence and it's only getting better. Sub.Mission is completely on top of their game they have established a club with completely peaceful vibes, everyone there is instant friends with everyone else. Both rooms are now equipped with projectors to add extra light beams and mapping. In the lounge there is an eye popping 3D display wall, which is now brought to life by perfectly mapped projection images. Then in The Black Box room there are two projectors and a huge white screen that comes down behind the DJ booth. Almost everything affixed to the walls glows with LEDs in the club, and outside there is even more artwork. The merchandise area has been modified a bit as well in order to create more room for vendors to display their awesome works or art. For this show you had a choice of dazzling gems and glass ware in one of the two vending areas. Then a large array of paintings and drawings in the other section, all of which were extravagant. I didn't notice before but when you enter the men's room the mirror is entirely covered in band stickers. Also there's a dope bright green neon sign in the Black Box room behind the bar that reads, "Let's Get Weird." The most notable change is an adjustment of the speaker configuration, now all of the mains hang from the ceiling and this provides a bit more room for the people to dance. The quality of the sound systems in both the Lounge, and the Black Box room are incomparable to any other club in the city, massive bass and very sharp mids and highs.



 
The Lounge was free for people to walk in and check out, but in order to come into the Black Box you had to purchase a ticket and get a special black light stamp. The DJs in the Lounge did a good job changing it up with some old fashion techno, a bit of bass house, and even a few moombahton drops. It was a good change of pace from the Black Box which was DnB, and Jungle music thumping.


Starting off the night in The Black Box was Zane and Syntax, who did a tag team set for a couple of hours. You could tell they are good friends because they played off each other very well and always helped one another out to get a great sounding mix going. They started off with pretty beats, and slowly got more and more wonky with the bass line. Sort of an outer spacey feel to the set and from time to time. Hosting the evening was Slim_r_i and he kept the room hype. Zane and Syntax had a great back to back section to close out the set, and it went deep into the bass abyss.


Next up was Shoebox, another junglist with mad flavor. He brought out his own MC to add a bit of a Rastafarian feel to the flow. He was on that "Ba ra pa pa pie" type of spit which I enjoy. He kind of reminded me of the announcer from the video game SSX for PS2 when he was on the mic. Shoebox started out with a very trippy introduction with a ton of bass to your face. The more he went on he got some fast snares going and the people followed along with their feet. Parts of Shoebox's set were so deep it felt like you were in a bass submarine. Slim_r_i jumped back on the mic at the end of the set and got into some more fresh freestyles. Slim_r_i was the perfect host for the night. The room really lit up as Slim_r_i introduced the one and only Roni Size.






When Roni Size first appeared on stage everybody knew it and they screamed with joy. His demeanor up there in the lights was so inviting, it was like you were watching an old friend spin for the first time in a long time. Before he got started he made a point to sign a record one of his fans brought from home, creating an invaluable vinyl. Roni Size had such a big smile it was impossible not to get happy with him looking at you. For the most part he stayed super focused on the task at hand, dropping the filthy, dirty, drum and bass. He, unlike a lot of DJs, doesn't use large ear covering headphones but simply a single ear bud in the left ear. Parts of his set were unexpected, his opening drop was Red Hot Chili Peppers, and he rocked out a Smells Like Teen Spirit drop. He got into some naughty speed garage music too, which I absolutely adored.





Most of the time Roni Size was mixing more than one CDJ to create double and sometimes triple drops. Each and every time he did this it was seamless, perfect blends of multiple tracks making it brand new. Slim_r_i was crushing it on the mic for Roni Size too, an honor to have the privilege. Towards the end of his set Roni Size got on the mic and started talking to the crowd a bit he said, "I don't know you guys, but you know me, so lets make friends." It was surreal to get the see such a legend of electronic music come all the way from Bristol, England to perform for a room of Denver drum and bass-aholics. I felt honored to be there and was in awe of the display put forth. Roni Size is naturally in rare form and I feed off of energy like that.


If you still haven't made it down to The Black Box, you must! It's a great atmosphere and they bring out big name musicians who make it hyphy. I have nothing but love for everyone at Sub.Mission they always have the illest underground artists coming through Denver. This was a dream concert seeing one of my all time favorites Roni Size. Make a point to go follow The Black Box on all social media outlets so you can stay on top of the amazing shows they throw constantly. Every Tuesday is Sub.Mission Electronic Tuesdays at The Black Box and you never know who might pop in for a special set so just be there. Big up Denver DnB peeps, I see you. Laters.

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