Lee Bannon MAC Salle 2, Montreal QC, May 31

Lee Bannon MAC Salle 2, Montreal QC, May 31
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Lee Bannon's EM15 show could have gone down a number of avenues. He's established himself as a conventional hip-hop producer with Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era crew, a dark oddball on releases Caligula Theme Music 2.7.5 and Place / Crusher, and flexed his high-tempo muscles on Alternate / Endings. Fortunately, he chose the latter path and launched straight into barrage of left-field jungle, making for one of the most intense openers imaginable. From the offset and throughout, the levels of bass were fierce, drilling a broad hole in the chest of anyone within spitting distance of the speakers. Bannon briefly flirted with some humdrum techno beats before reverting back to rapid-fire drum & bass.

At various points in the show, he would start with an orthodox d&b track, in similar style to Big Bud or DJ Marky, and then ramp up the tempo to breakneck speeds before acutely dropping a monstrous jungle break. Despite the fact that his most recent release is full of jungle, Bannon refused to play any songs from it. Instead, the crowd was treated to a selection of old-school ragga jungle from Bannon's I-wish-I'd-made-that-track collection. Original material or not, the show was brimming with high-octane energy and unlike most of gigs at EM15, it never once tried to play it cool. After an hour of drum-heavy assaults, Bannon abruptly left the stage, leaving a grimy hip-hop beat play out in his absence. It was an unceremonious end to an otherwise riveting performance.