London WC2 Astoria

The raw rendition of [B]'Saint Angel'[/B] or the brutally cut-up version of [B]'Digital'[/B] remain far more rock'n'roll in terms of sheer visceral impact, and the spasmodic breaks of [B]'Inner Cit

London WC2 Astoria

GOLDIE storms on like a prizefighter, hitting the keyboard hard and the stage harder. After the poor reception garnered by the bloated 'Saturnz Return', after [a]Roni Size[/a]'s usurpation of his role as premier drum'n'bass personality, Goldie is making a comeback bid: a rumble in the jungle.



He emerges from behind a bank of technology, shaking and shimmying like De Niro in Raging Bull - pouncing, punching, prancing - and you can feel the beats pulsating in him; each muscle flex keeps time with the music. There's some perfect symmetry here - his body taut, rippling like a tiger; the music honed and toned and throbbing. It's difficult to separate the two - like Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil in return for glittering guitar licks, Goldie seems willing to forsake his spirit to pursue the perfect beat.



Yet he's still a showman, as much of a fat cabaret LaMotta as a title-winning Jake, and it's sometimes easy to forget how sensual this music once sounded. The reworked 'Mother' aired tonight finds Goldie crooning with passion, but he hardly looks comfortable. Just as he seems desperate to abandon his pose behind the keyboard for a display of butch eurythmics downstage, so he's more effective bawling, "Make some noise!" into the mic than trying to emote.



True intensity is locked within the layers of dense, charged strings and tense drum tremors of 'Inner City Life', the one moment where every element of Goldie's charm and genius - heightened feeling, military rigour, urban blues and millennium funk - fuses into one cohesive whole.



Before this sublime pay-off, there's Noel Gallagher to entertain us with his furious fretwork on 'Temper Temper'. Greeted with cheers, he nonetheless looks bewildered, striking an incongruous guitar-hero pose which seems sadly static amid the hyperactivity of Goldie and his disciples. Given another opportunity to prowl the stage, Goldie seems willing to play Robert Plant to Noel's Jimmy Page, but the chaotic squall they produce is testament to the fact that the intricacies of this drum'n'bass melodrama resonate beyond such macho action. The raw rendition of 'Saint Angel' or the brutally cut-up version of 'Digital' remain far more rock'n'roll in terms of sheer visceral impact, and the spasmodic breaks of 'Inner City Life' strike at the core of the body in a way no guitar solo ever could.



The tug in this cyborg Goldie between his machine soul, which can conjure such epic sci-fi operas from technology, and the muscular man who punches the air with a grin, results in a thrillingly schizophrenic show. Long may this android dream of electric beats.

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