Non Phixion is a group from Brooklyn, New York consisting of MCs Ill Bill, Goretex, Sabac, and DJ Eclipse, and they’re currently on their 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. Although the group was formed in 1995, their debut album, The Future Is Now came out in 2002, and it’s the only album of theirs I’ve heard. The only other material I’m familiar with is Ill Bill’s other group work with La Coka Nostra and his Heavy Metal Kings album with Vinnie Paz. The Heavy Metal Kings Tour in 2012 is actually the only other time I’ve seen Bill perform.
I arrived at Rockpile West about an hour after doors opened, and it was much emptier than the last time I was here (back in February to see Talib Kweli). The early opening acts performed in front of an empty dance floor, with most of the crowd either at the bar, sitting at tables, or by the merch booth. The usual host at this venue, Stacee Brizzle got some people hyped and onto the floor as some familiar local artists hit the stage. Pengeah came out with some hard-hitting beats, as Gene One, Harvey Dentist and their crew rapped over their producer’s live guitar. Intoxicated Prophets also rocked the stage with some rapid-fire raps, and The Syndicate threw t-shirts into the growing crowd when they rocked afterwards.
After all the opening acts rocked to a partial, non-energetic crowd, everyone made their way to the front as it was time for Non Phixion. DJ Eclipse was already on stage setting up his equipment as Ms. Brizzle kept the anticipation high, and pretty soon the crew we came to see came out to their DJ Premier cut, “Rock Stars.” Next they performed “It’s Us,” with the chorus effectively introducing them as they chant “it’s the N-O-N, P, H, I, X, I-O-N.” They did some older cuts from before The Future Is Now which I didn’t know (I’m young), although one of them was obviously “Sleepwalkers.” They also did some album cuts including “Cult Leader” and “Say Goodbye To Yesterday.”
Although the crowd wasn’t as big as previous times I’ve been to The Rockpile, the mosh pit was in full effect and some people even got too rowdy, needing security to get involved. At one point Sabac jumped into the crowd and rapped a verse among the mosh pit, and afterwards Goretex beat-boxed as Ill Bill and Sabac rapped. Non Phixion continued rocking album cuts with “There Is No Future,” a song they apparently hadn’t been performing for the whole tour, but it vibed well. They also did “Futurama” and “Drug Music” before getting into the final segment of the show.
Non Phixion saved all of their fan favourites for last, as the crowd got really intense during “The CIA Is Trying To Kill Me,” and even the more mellow “Black Helicopters” was hype. This marked the end of their set, but the crowd chanted for an encore, and Non Phixion returned to do one last album cut, “If You Got Love.” They then thanked the fans and left the stage, and Ill Bill made sure to clap hands with everyone who came up to the front.
Overall, while the crowd was smaller and wasn’t so energetic during the opening acts, it ended up being a great show with everyone turned up during Non Phixion’s set. It’s been over a decade since their last album together, but their music remains relevant, as they were able to speak on the current rioting in Baltimore between songs. They also gave some insight on some of their early work, about how magician David Blaine had some input on their early vinyl records in the ’90s. Montreal and Ottawa are the only remaining shows left on Non Phixion’s Canadian Tour as of this posting, and it’s definitely worth seeing this rare reunion while they’re together.
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