The Live Review: Dubstep Pioneer Rusko Rocks George’s The Live Review: Dubstep Pioneer Rusko Rocks George’s
The Live Review: Dubstep Pioneer Rusko Rocks George’s

At Jam concerts, you hear the phrase “Never miss a Sunday show.” pretty regularly. For good reason too, Sunday is usually the end of a run and it usually means all the stops are being pulled out. This isn’t something that gets tossed around in dance clubs so often, but it rang truer than ever as Rusko, Trippy Hippy, and Drumaddic rocked George’s Majestic Lounge.

   In 2007 Dubstep had already begun its hostile take over of the global electronic scene. Born from the Garage and Grime sound that dominated back rooms and clandestine parties of the UK in the early ‘00s. The bombastic bass emphasized wobble has remained a staple ever since. Riding that wave, front and center, mohawk flailing in the breeze, was Rusko. With his single “Cockney Thug” he was catapulted straight to the top. As an evangelical and de facto godfather of the genre, his influence is vast. His early releases changed the face of electronic music globally, quickly.

   That influence was, and is, very present in the Fayetteville dance scene. I myself was turned onto the vastness of electronic music because a friend introduced me to Dubstep via the originals– Caspa, Rusko, Skream and Banga, etc. Naturally, this lead me to all the other sub-genres and styles and a deep love for all things bass. It also lead me to so many of the people I get to call friends, some of which were instrumental in bringing this to town. So it goes without saying that having Rusko come to our fair city, was a big deal. If you’d told us in 2009 that he’d be here, you’d have probably been met with disappointed laughter. Even a few sighs from the those who thought the genre was a fad that would die as quickly as it sprang up (surprise! It didn’t!).

   Last night that dream, that seemed so far out, came true in the most gratifying way possible. Openers Trippy Hippy (Fayetteville, AR) and Drumaddic (Tulsa, OK) played a back to back sets that ranged from melodic first wave Dubstep to all-out headbanging Riddim. They were a great primer for what was to come.

   It’s been thirteen years since Rusko began performing and creating Electronic music, and twelve since he was crowned king of Dubstep. Aside from a short bout with cancer in 2017, he’s remained an active and contributing innovator since. His output has slowed down in recent years, but it remains as on point as ever. His 2018 release “Has Made 5 More Songs” was both highly anticipated and very well received. The new tracks sounded excellent in a live format with his hallmark crisp, clean production and heavy sub bass.

His set consisted largely of his originals and remixes, bouncing between traditional and more aggressive current Dubstep, Drum’n’ Bass, and House as well as tracks from other innovators, with a specific shoutout to Caspa. We were even treated to a new track that he’s been playing with live. He, unfortunately, didn’t mention the name. Suffice it to say it was a straight up banger. Nostalgia won the day when the first bits of the colossally huge 2010 hit “Woo Boost” came through the speakers. You’d have been hard-pressed to find a person there that didn’t go crazy.

He’s nothing if not a genuine taste-maker, so in perfect form, he said a few words to the crowd and eased into fellow UK Dubstep pioneer Skream’s remix of La Roux’s 2009 hit “In for the Kill”. Closing out the night with another nostalgic throwback, was a deeply satisfying finish to a show ten years in the making.

Of course, Beatnik Generation and George’s weren’t content to let the night end until the bar was closed. So as the backroom cleared Fayetteville hero, and prominent figure in the local Dance scene, Domewrekka threw down a wobble filled set in the front lounge giving fans one last taste on the way out. They couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate local to finish it off considering he was a huge part of bringing Dubstep to Fayetteville in the first place. After a night filled with old friends, legendary music, and waves of nostalgia, it was the perfect ending.

Thankful can barely describe the feelings so many of us have towards the folks at Beatnik Generation and George’s Majestic Lounge for bringing so many people together, representing our tastes and our musical pipedreams. All of the work these folks put into making this a scene that could realistically support large acts and locals alike was on display. Managing to wrangle so many artists that are largely beyond playing rooms that small in relatively small towns, isn’t easy. Yet year after year, they pull it off. Each year the “coming to…” list gets a little more mind-blowing.  I can only speak for myself when I say that their work in our town has shaped my musical tastes and what I expect from a good show. Rusko met every check on the list and then some.

Photo Credit: Daniel Storms

Brandon Carter

I'm just a music-loving nerd from Fayetteville, AR with a passion for words.