Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., March 18, 2005
Elysium, Wednesday, March 16
British breakbeat jugglers Tom Beaufoy and Pat Pardy of Evil Nine instilled a party atmosphere upon Elysium that harkened back to the Hip Hop City events that once invigorated the dark Red River venue. Manning turntables and a laptop, the Brighton duo layered rolling drum cadences with booming basslines and ambient fuzz as ragga MCs Toastie and Juicy encouraged onlookers to liven up. "When it drops I want everybody to move" became an eagerly answered call as the frenetic pace onstage caught on about the dance floor. Featuring tracks from their 2004 debut, You Can Be Special Too, E9 supplemented their current Aesop Rock-emblazoned single "Crooked" with spontaneous energy that made the Yankee rapper's absence a mere afterthought. Peaking with Toastie's sizzling rendition of "Restless," plasmatic loops met techno euphoria within precisely syncopated surges of double-timed rhythm. The positive vibes were abundant as Juicy freestyled his way "towards the sun" with an electric yet ever-squinty smile. With Tom and Pat seemingly having too much fun behind their equipment, Austin got a good dose of what English raves might feel like for kids hopped up on unbridled enthusiasm. Loosely affiliated with DJ Adam Freeland, E9's infectious blend of hip-hop, deep house, reggae, and kraut-rock is a formula well worth the grinding grill. Moving beyond police-state paranoia and racial hang-ups that limit the American scene, Evil Nine proved that petty inhibitions are the only thing standing in the way of a good time.