Ultra: Roni Size and Reprazent bring pure drum ‘n’ bass back

Singer Onallee with Roni Size in Reprazent's first US appearance in seven years.
Singer Onallee with Roni Size in Reprazent's first US appearance in seven years.
Roni Size wanted Miami’s Ultra Music Festival to know what exactly it was listening to.

He pointed to the drum kit. “Just the drums! I just want the drums!

“You see, we don’t have no CDs, no backing tracks! This is real drum and bass!” Size said, drawing out the last three words that also define the kind of music that first made him and his group Reprazent stars during the 1990s.

Size reconvened Reprazent last year when he put out a deluxe edition of New Forms, the LP that won him the Mercury Music Prize in 1997. Back in 1997, Size was a massive part of the drum ‘n’ bass scene that also featured Goldie (who was also in attendance at Ultra), Squarepusher and A Guy Called Gerald.

Drum ‘n’ bass is characterized by a bass-heavy, fast sound that got its start in the rave scene in the United Kingdom. Size came from one of the sound’s biggest Meccas — Bristol.

And he proved Friday, in the band’s first U.S. appearance in seven years, that he and Reprazent still had it. Many of the original members are still in the band, including vocalist Onallee and bass player Si John.

With Onallee bringing powerful hooks to life, Size got the crowd hopping in a hot, sweaty cauldron of dance.

They all knew exactly what they were listening to.

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