It was buck wild and booming. Anyone at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday night would tell you that Rustie’s DJ set was anything but tame. The 31-year-old Scot lifted the crowd of 20-somethings into loose-limbed hysteria. There were make-out sessions next to mosh pits and the sound system was booming to an extent that customers in the 7-Eleven upstairs could listen along.
Rustie, real name Russell Whyte, came up through the ranks in Glasgow and developed a sound based on his love of crunk hip-hop and Detroit electro. He and fellow Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke are part of a collective called LuckyMe, a crew that has worked with many top names in hip-hop.
Rustie produces blinding rave beats, bright and shiny with fat bass tones. His 2011 studio album, “Glass Swords,” was an exercise in bliss and blunt force. His follow-up, “Green Language,” comes out in August.
What he played from the new record both knocked and soothed. His stomping collaboration with Detroit rapper Danny Brown brought the room to peak frenzy, and his ambient interludes pulled it back to a slack-jawed standstill.
Much of his audience looked too young to have partied to the British rave music that dresses his sound but seemed familiar with the bassy breakbeats pulled from Southern rap. And they seemed particularly happy to hear his original material — peppered with hip-hop, of course. He kept his thumbs busy on his digital board, playing exuberant track after exuberant track with seasoned technique.
Even the length of the set seemed perfectly planned. At the end, something happened that was uncommon for DJ gigs at this venue: The crowd wasn’t done — they wanted one more song, and Rustie returned to play an encore. The tune wasn’t too different from anything that was played earlier in the night. It was just what everyone wanted, and they went wild again.
Yenigun is a freelance writer.