Ninja Tunes stalwart rips up the jazz-hop breaks...

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DJ Food: Toronto The Reverb

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DJ Food: Toronto The Reverb

Tonight, a courageous young gentleman in the audience is decked out, perhaps unreasonably, in full ninja regalia. It’s a cartoonish, obscenely intricate costume – one quite obviously modelled after the pesky record-flinging mercenary that makes up the Ninja Tune logo. This, you see, is indicative of the kind of unabashed devotion that DJ Food and labelmates Fink and Dynamic Syncopation will bask in this evening.

For his part, the chain-smoking Fink performs admirably, wheeling off an expertly constructed set of electroid bleeps and rapid-fire, stuttering breaks. And although they’re questionably occupying the closing slot, Dynamic Syncopation are also wholly dependable, weaving together a heady pastiche of ’70s funk and retrograde hip-hop.

But the night quite obviously belongs to Food, who are on this occasion solely represented by the venerable Strictly Kev. His set is, in a word, fierce. Piecing disembodied remnants of rejigged classics together with more contemporary reference points, Kev’s got the audience in rapture. By the time he gets round to spinning a handful of re-Tuned swing numbers, they’re engaged in the kind of frantic, hands-up revelry normally reserved for someone about to be saved by a gasbag televangelist.

A storming evening then – even Kev walks offstage with a bemused smile. And why not? If it’s good enough for the ninja, surely it’s good enough for the rest of us.

Mark Pytlik