Rusko @ Congress Theater 5/5 Review
I walked in to the Congress Theater just as Sigma took the stage. Opening with Flux Pavilion’s “Bass Cannon”, Sigma got the crowd moving immediately! Known for his drum & bass productions, Sigma showed his mastery of the mixing decks as he smoothly transitioned between dubstep, drum & bass, moombahton and electro!
The music was heavy, but the atmosphere was light. People all around were jumping and smiling, thrusting their arms up towards the sky as each new tune bombarded the room with bass. Finally the Congress Theater had the opening act at an appropriate volume level!
The sea of ravers was thick tonight. Although this was not a sold out show, it appeared that Congress was packed with bass heads and dub steppers from all over the country.
“Are you guys ready to get crazy?” Sigma screamed at the crowd. Then, unleashing a smooth session of liquid drum & bass tracks, the entire theater started flowing together. The sea of ravers wobbled back and forth, to and fro, and side to side as Sigma bounced around on stage. A terrific performance from one of my favorite DnB producers today, Sigma absolutely killed it on Cinco de Mayo.
Bass Cannon – Flux Pavilion
Falling – Sub Focus
Power (Eptic Remix)
Crush on You (Knife Party Remix)
Somebody to Love (Sigma Remix)
Fire Hive – Knife Party
You’ve Got To Show Me Love (Remix)
After Sigma’s set, there was an odd silence that fell over the Congress Theater as the stage crews prepared for Rusko’s entrance. The testing of the lights teased the audience; every time a strobe would flash momentarily, gasps and “woahs” spread across the room. Chants of “Rusko! Rusko! Rusko!” started after a few minutes. Giant cut outs of Rusko’s head were seen floating above the crowd, adding to the restlessness. The roars of the crowd became powerfully loud just before Rusko took the stage, roars of antsy ravers craving the skanky beats of the man they came to see.
Then, suddenly the lights dropped out and the crowd went insane. The man with the bouncy Mohawk took to the stage and screamed in to the microphone to get the crowd going: “Are you ready Chicago??”
Amidst a wash of purple and blue lights and red lasers, Rusko set the room ablaze as he dropped “Thunder”. Womptastic wobbles emanated from the Congress sound system as the Brit on stage jumped all over the place. Check out the video of Rusko taking the stage right here!
Barefoot and hopping around like a maniac, Rusko displayed an unbelievable amount of energy during his set. Hopping about on his small box on stage, Mohawk flying in every direction, I couldn’t help but compare the man to a golden retriever. Tongue hanging out, legs flying everywhere, this man certainly knew how to command a stage!
The huge letters that spelled out RUSKO were adorned in LED lights and would move vertically on stage. With each new song being dropped, the RUSKO letters would raise and lower. A great moment was experienced as Rusko mixed in a verse from recently deceased Beastie Boy member, MCA; a tribute to one of the greatest pioneers in the rap/rock industry.
The show stopped at one point. Rusko got on the mic and requested to see everyone’s Skanker dance. The lights dimmed and then flashed on as he dropped the track “Skanker”. Roars of approval were heard all across the audience, as people skanked harder than ever before.
Before playing his hit song “Somebody to Love”, Rusko took to the mic and screamed, “Every time I play this tune, I think of this room!” (Referring to his music video that was shot over his New Year’s Eve run at Congress Theater). Check out a video of Rusko playing “Somebody to Love” right here!
The sweat pit of an audience was frothing at the mouth for the heaviest of heavy. This show was much heavier and grungier than the last time I saw Rusko at Congress Theater. “Dub steppers, let’s go!” hollered Rusko as he dropped his new banger, “Opium”.
UK infected bass tones filled the room as the crowd womped and grooved to the beat. Balloons and beach balls flew in to the air with each successive drop. The warbling bass and whining synths of the Rusko sound attacked the eardrums of everyone in attendance. Even though this was not a sold out show, the energy on the main floor was a physical force that moved as one solid unit.
Despite repeated mistakes on the mixing decks, Rusko kept control of the audience throughout the entire performance. Even when awkwardly switching from dubstep to moombahton and electro, Rusko’s immense stage presence far made up for his lack of mixing abilities. Just as the crowd seemed to be lost, the man on stage would reel them back in with a bass heavy tune.
Taking Chicago back to the roots of dubstep for his encore, Rusko came back on stage and played a brand new track as well as his smash hit “Cockney Thug”. Just before leaving the stage, Rusko grabbed the mic for one last statement: “Chicago, you guys always fuck me up. I fucking love you!”
Spoken like a true king of dubstep, Rusko came, saw, and conquered all that Chicago had to offer. Playing a 90 minute set of wobbles and womps, with a multitude of genres mixed in as well, Rusko touched on just about everything he could on this stop of his “Songs” Tour.
Partial Set List
Stars Come Out – Datsik
Hush Now – 501
Power (Eptic Remix)
Somebody to Love
Somebody to Love (Skream Remix)
Somebody to Love (Sigma Remix)
Everyday (Netsky Remix)
Everyday (Netsky VIP)
Money for Nothing (Giant Remix)
Roll It, Light It
Up In Here (Mashup)
Light It Up – Flinch
Hold On (Subfocus Remix)
BRAND NEW TRACK (Invincible?)