Saturday, 20 February 2010

Format presents: Rustie & Youngsta @ Mint Lounge, Wednesday 17th February, 2010

“Dubstep, is that the music that you like?” the seemingly omnipresent and ever exuberant MC Chunky asks the Format crowd. “Yes, yes it is,” they reply, in slightly drunker fashion. “Not really,” I say in my head.

I'll level with you, I'm not a fan of dubstep. 'Wub wub wub, wibble wibble, pass the ketamine, wub wub wub' pretty much sums up my experience of it thus far, like drum n bass that’s lost its drum.

Anyway, I've come expecting to have my eyes opened by the scene’s up and coming talent, London's Youngsta and Glasgow's Rustie. Resident Sitra gets the student heavy crowd bobbing along with Chunky's confident MCing leading the way, teasing the crowd with lines from We Will Rock You and getting a Mexican wave going. The dancefloor's filled up by the time Youngsta gets going and the crowd are enthusiastic, but I'm not impressed. It’s pretty dark and atmospheric, sure, and it becomes more beat-heavy towards the end of his set, but it’s all just a bit... dull.

Rustie, however, is a different proposition entirely. Giving the dancefloor a much needed 2am shot in the arm, he's more upbeat. Like fellow Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke, he's been influenced by mash-up, with snatches of samples popping up before being hammered back into place by sheer bass power and surging synths. At times his sound even verges on cosmic, trance and, dare I say it, euphoric, shimmering and twisting but always underlaid with driving dubstep and hip hop rhythms. It's a genuinely exciting experience and there's so much going on in his sound that even Chunky has to take a back seat for a while and content himself with a bit of octopus dancing. By the time Rustie comes to the end of his set, he's pushing the limits of the not inconsiderable Mint Lounge soundsystem with the sheer density of his sound, signing off with the towering ‘Cry Flames’.

I can't say I'm a convert yet but Rustie is certainly taking the genre in an interesting and new direction – moving it away from music for people with a taste for horse tranquilisers, which is undoubtedly a good thing for the rest of us.

Words & Pictures: Barney Guiton

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