Rusko Warehouse Live November 16, 2012
If anyone ever films a documentary about the EDM movement, the role of "Bad Boy" could easily be filled by Rusko. The 27-year-old Leeds, England-bred dubstep producer and DJ has a reputation for dramatic outbursts and a hearty disdain for sound engineers. Yet, as is normally the case, behind the theatrics and outbursts lies a fountain of talent and a determination to entertain at all costs.
Friday night as Warehouse Live was no exception.
After enduring two sets of opening local DJ acts, who were unfortunately regulated to only half-power on the volume knob, Rusko took the stage and turned all levels up to 11. Thank God for blessing Houston with Aura Systems, who provides the formidable amp and speaker setups that drives many EDM shows in the city. The sound only went dead for about ten seconds near the end of the set, but was recovered quickly enough for Rusko to laugh it off. Keep calm and bass-drop on.
Now, having received this assignment at the last minute, I didn't have time to do much research concerning individual track names, so I wrote down the following notes:
- This song sounds like... a robotic elephant stomping through the jungle.
- This song sounds like... a squeaky mouse on speed in a hamster wheel.
- This song sounds like... a bumblebee humming the intro to an old-school Nintendo video game.
Not the most scientific of methods, but I was able to decipher these ramblings into "Woo Boost" from 2010's O.M.G.! and "Somebody To Love" from this year's album Songs. What I did notice was Rusko's extraordinary ability to shift from slow to fast, liquid to mechanical, dubstep to house, rap to pop. He did this better than most of the other DJs that I've encountered in the short time I've been working EDM shows.
I was also excited to hear "Roll It, Light It" from his new collaboration with Cypress Hill. A handful of rappers have dabbled in dubstep, but this project sounds very natural and energetic.
Rusko kept the show going with constant mike checks and shouts of "Dubsteppers! Get the fuck up!" and "Switch!"
For me, however, EDM shows are more about the experience and the people-watching than the music. EDM fans are just so Goddamn nice, either genuinely or artificially. They worry about each other and are happy to see each other, using the music as an excuse and a lubricant to enjoy each other's company. I can't say that I've seen the same from any other circle of fans at rock or rap shows.
The night ended with a few dubstep rap remixes, starting with Jay & Ye's "Who Gon Stop Me" from Watch the Throne, then 'Pac & Dr. Dre's "California Love," Doug E. Fresh's "Let Me Clear My Throat", and culminating with "Party Up" by DMX.
Party up in here indeed.
Personal Bias: Kids performing personal light shows with their fingers, a.k.a. "Gloving". I will never get tired of watching this.
The Crowd: Young. Too young for some of the stuff I saw them do.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I've been practicing for two years!" (again, about "Gloving")
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Random Notebook Dump: Working EDM shows makes me wish I would have gone to more raves as a teenager in the '90s.