Dispatches from Suburbia: Rusko in Miami

As the cliché goes, all good things must come to an end: my nearly two week vacation in South Florida is over. I’ve gone from 70 degrees at the beach to 40 degrees in DC, from a nascent scene to a more developed one. And while the DJ nights, singer-songwriters, and local bands were pleasantly surprising, I’m happy to be home.

But before I left, I trekked down to Miami once more, this time for Rusko: DJ and dubstep producer extraordinaire, and one of the winners of 2009 (a more complete list of things that didn’t suck in 2009 is coming tomorrow – procrastination for life!). The 24-year-old is one of the driving forces in a style that we at TGRI Online think will be huge next year, and while I have seen Rusko rock a room before, I couldn’t miss a stateside gig in my backyard.

Ever since 2 Live Crew decided to be as nasty as they wanted to be, Miami and bass have been forever intertwined, influencing local scenes and styles from Atlanta to Baltimore. So I was interested to see how bassheads in the 305 would react to the distinct wobble crunk that the Leeds-born, LA-based Rusko generates.

Just down the street from the Vagabond in Miami’s Design District is White Room. The venue is basically a warehouse adjoined to a large open-air space that holds canopy lounges that wouldn’t get much use anywhere else this time of year. After a few local dubstep producers and MCs warmed up the crowd, the mullethawked feature DJ took the stage.

Rusko is one of the most active DJs I’ve ever seen. At all times, he’s either jumping up and down or air conducting, convulsing as if his movements control the treble, mids and overwhelming bass pouring out of the speakers. The crowd eats it up, doing their best to dance along to a style that is admittedly not the most dance-centric electronic music. The few kids trying to light show with glow sticks were dismissed out of hand: “Why don’t you wait for fucking Ultra for your twirly little shit?!” However, the pseudo-ravers were hardly the worst audience members: a few couples decided to demonstrate crowdfucking – or something close to it – and it wasn’t pleasant.

Still, we were able to enjoy the dubstep clinic that Rusko put on, much like he did at Hard NYC. From contemporaries Zomby and Doorly, to remixes of Gucci and Kid Sister, the set included everything that demonstrates dubstep’s promise right now. The best part is initially recognizing a song, before it devolves into the glitched out sounds of the apocalypse that have come to define dubstep. And it was good to see it work where bass was born.

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