Rusko brings dubstep to Amphitheater Ybor

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Most of us who showed up at Amphitheater Ybor last Thursday night felt more of Rusko’s set than heard it, at first. The British-born DJ/producer (real name Brian Mercer) graced the newly opened venue with the energy of a caffeinated puppy and the sound of a muddled, dubsteppy jet engine. [All photos by Mike Wilson.]

There were issues to say the least. Mercer fired off a number of incendiary Tweets regarding the Amphitheater's sound; "Fuck this club," he tweeted during his set, and then a few minutes and swills of Ketel One later, a more eloquent, "Fuk up the sound fuchk up the t Mic Fufk you."

From the floor, though, it sounded as unproblematic as my modestly discerning ear could hear. Yeah, the bass could shake the glasses off your face, surely a few needles were hitting the red, and the nuances you picked up on while listening to Rusko on your Bose headphones probably fell to the wayside, but the energy was definitely there. Hate it or love it, that's pretty much the name of the game when you're pumping out dance music to a bunch of kids fucked up on god knows what and ready to just, to just feel it maaannn (puff, puff, cough violently).

As the two-hour set rolled on and the sound steadily improved, Rusko became a raging force onstage. Hyping the crowd on the mic before the swelling, dirty bass drops and, at times, maybe even dancing harder to his own music than anyone in the building. It was refreshing to see an artist, and DJ at that, get that hyped on his own work, especially during the end portion of a lengthy tour across the country.

As much as some people feel like dubstep in the U.S. has become a parody of itself, it's good to know there are guys like Rusko who'll still invest loads of emotional energy (evidently from both sides of the spectrum) into their craft regardless of the venue, or nationwide hype, he's confined in.

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