It’s absolutely jammed in the loft of the Barfly for the decks battle between Justice and Ed Banger’s DJ Medhi.
There’s hardly room to dance; heads and backs and shoulders and elbows bash against each other, causing spilt drinks and angry glares. It’s supposed to be a battle, but it soon becomes a Franco disco love in. If anybody wins, it’s probably Justice because they can call upon ubiquitous floor fillers ‘DANCE’ and ‘We Are Your Friends’.
Tonight was actually only made the all-conquering duo’s official aftershow a week or two ago, taking the ticket price up and turning down the spotlight and the pressure on initial headliners Reprazent; the drum & bass pioneers who won the Mercury Prize in 1997 with Roni Size. Before them, though, is Geordie-turned-Shoreditch dweller (he’s got a fringe that would trouble Pythagoras) Riton. His blends of house, electroclash and D&B sound vital, fizzing up the gaps in between your muscles and your bones, so we dance in the twitchiest, stop-start fashion.
Reprazent, however, fill in all the gaps that Riton didn’t. They are outstanding; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there are actual people behind the bass guitar and drum kit propelling the beats, that’s how fast they are. Roni Size – who wasn’t billed to appear – underpins the whole thing from behind his desk. They drop ‘Brown Paper Bag’ second, Dynamite’s energy more controlled than your lairy grime MCs. While Onallee is soulful perfection on ‘Watching Windows’. Justice might have won their battle, but tonight was when the pendulum swung back to Reprazent as D&B’s best live act.