Amon Tobin / Kid Koala / Bonobo / Sixtoo / Blockhead Kool Haus, Toronto ON - March 20, 2004

A musical line-up that dreams are made of, the Ninja crew rolled into town to unveil new faces and reacquaint you with franchise players. Hip-hop producer Blockhead was a little new to the experience of putting on a show and could do no more than play some of his own records, including his work with Aesop Rock. The young man seemed quite timid in front of such a large crowd, but the audience was forgiving of his lack of DJ skills and showed their appreciation for the rookie. Ninja newbie Sixtoo may be fresh to the roster but he's no stranger to the stage and he was blessed with some of the best stage presence of the night, spitting rhymes into a megaphone and creating hypnotic live beats with P-Love on decks and various other gadgets. The pair seemed to have a field day, as they dove into their electronic toys and served up numerous vibes and noises, capping things off with an intense beat-juggling session. For those anxious fans who came strapped with their dancing shoes, Bonobo took control and pumped the kids up with more up-tempo tunes than his predecessors and was greeted with a universal cheer as he dropped "Happy" by Max Sedgely. With the place now buzzing and ears ringing, the adorable Kid Koala snuck up behind his turntables to the greatest cheer of the night. Asking us if we wanted to hear "tight old stuff or sloppy new stuff?" the permanently smiling DJ delighted everyone with his "Drunk Trumpet" and "Moon River" staples. Even if you've heard him drop "Love Cats" over DJ Food a dozen times, you never get tired of his child-like antics and stories. After capping off his set with the P-Love-assisted "Skanky Panky," it was time for everyone's eardrums to be shattered by Amon Tobin's brain-melting audio assault. The recovering ravers quickly came out of the shadows and the Brazilian beat-mutilator kept their feet moving for the rest of the night, as he didn't let up on the intense musical massacre. Although the line-up was undoubtedly impressive, an all-Ninja Tune night can offer so much more than dudes with laptops playing with their toys. Instead of DJ after DJ, it would have been nice to have been treated to a live aspect from the likes of the Cinematic Orchestra or the Herbaliser. Still, no one was complaining, but you can't help but feel a show that lacks an on-stage presence like this would have been better off in a more intimate venue.