Rusko wobbles over to UMass

By Acacia DiCiaccio

Bummed about the postponement of the Avicii Mullins Center show?

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Have no fear – the Massachusetts Electronic Dance Music Community has you covered. Teaming up with NV Concepts to bring their favorite genre to the University of Massachusetts, MASS EDMC presents Rusko and Savoy at the Mullins Center tonight.

It is no coincidence that with DJs such as Skrillex and Deadmau5 garnering Grammy nominations that the Mullins Center has realized the demand for one-man disk jockey shows and is packing in a new concert seemingly every month.

Christopher Mercer, aka Rusko, heads tonight’s event with his signature dubstep style. Hailing from Leeds, England, the mohawk-donning Rusko made his debut in 2006 with the creation of EP “Babylon, Vol. 1,” which featured one of his most renowned songs, “Cockney Thug.” His degree in musical performance from Leeds University helped him easily transition into the world of electronic music with his collaboration with SUB DUB, one the UK’s most successful dub and reggae clubs.

Rusko possesses the fun-loving personality that all notable DJs need in order to hold the crowd’s attention. It is obvious that he loves the party scene as much as he loves the musical preformance aspect. Notable for his tag line “Wake the [expletive deleted] Up” that appears on all his merchandise, as well as posting photographs of stocks of marijuana, Rusko has become a role model for irreverence.

Controversy over Deadmau5 calling him out for smoking pot backstage only solidifies the negative connotation of the electronic dance community. The sounds that he spins are wild and heavy with bass, and can be enjoyed even without the influence of drugs.

Rusko’s first full length album came in May 2010 with “O.M.G.!.” The track “Rubadub Shakedown” refers back to his roots at SUB DUB with its heavy reggae influence. The most prominent song is “Hold On,” which involves collaboration with Amber Coffman.

Rusko has been known to team up with fellow well-known dubstep DJ and producer Caspa under the name Caspa & Rusko, such as for the Glastonbury Festival, a Woodstock-esque event that has lived on since 1970. Rusko has worked under Caspa’s labels for the entirety of his career.

Rusko’s music can be classified as various sub-genres of electronic dance music including house and dubstep, but to most people it is just party music. Rusko’s mixes are not the ambient, sometimes ominous type of dubstep that often patrols the genre today. A wobbling bass and prominent kick drum make for some tricky but excellent beats for dancing.

The tour that makes a pit-stop at the Mullins Center this evening will promote Rusko’s latest project: another full-length release titled “Songs,” due for release next month. As a hold over for fans, “Rusko Remix Collection 2006-2011” is now available for a free download on his website ruskoonfire.com.

But before Rusko hits the stage, Savoy, made up of Gray Smith, Ben Eberdt and Mike Kelly will open the concert. The band is sure to have an impressive light show, and it will be interesting to watch the developing dynamic of three DJs performing together to create a single set.

This event will not be one to miss, as it has been rare in this MASS EDMC array of concerts to occur on night where no one has classes the next morning. The promotion company even employed people dressed up as bananas to dance at a class in Mahar this week to build excitement about the show.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Mullins Center box office or online via Ticketmaster. All tickets are on the floor and cost $40 a piece.

Grab your glow sticks and hit the arena for February’s biggest dance party.

Acacia DiCiaccio can be reached at [email protected]