Zeds Dead bumps dubstep beats at first Burlington show

It was wet and chilly with cigarette smoke hanging in the air. Zeds Dead had just finished playing their first show in Burlington and kids were milling around outside Higher Ground avoiding the trek home. “So Elena, what do you think of Zeds Dead?” one bystander asked another. “They’re filthy,” The second bystander responded, intending the adjective positively. The show started at 9 p.m., but Zeds Dead didn’t come on until almost 11:00 p.m. As opener Chris Pattison finished off his set, the anxious crowd chanted “Zeds Dead! Zed’s Dead!” When the duo finally walked onto stage, the mob roared. “Alright everyone, I want your hands in the air,” Zach Rapp-Rovan — the Z side of the Zeds Dead duo — said and he threw his hands up in their signature Z formation. The crowd caught on and mimicking his gesture filled the room with bobbing Zs. The DJ duo kicked off the show with new material, slowly working the energy up as the bass got louder and louder It is hard to describe dubstep, and even harder to distinguish between songs played during a set, but suffice to say that the show sounded like a mix of distorted pop songs and electronic bleeps and wriggles, with an emphasizes on the bass. The key to a good dubstep show, apart from the crowd and venue, is whether or not the DJ knows how to properly drop the bass — the moment of climax. The crowd should know it’s is coming by a ramping up of sound and bpm, until for a split second the room goes quiet and then WOMP, it drops and the room erupts. Zeds Dead knows how to drop the bass — they know how and they know when. By the end of the show they hit their stride and had the crowd undulating like a giant jelly fish made of drunk college kids, scantily clad women, sweaty men and a few slightly confused middle aged people — I don’t know why but there are always a couple of these. The front, as always, was the place to be if you like being locked in a sweaty human prison where jumping up and down is mandatory, the middle was where all the sloppy couples and elbow throwers liked to reside, and the back was where the “too drunk to handle it” and the “I need space to DANCE” kids set up camp, but all around, in every species of rave rat, the people were having a blast. At the end of the set, Rapp-Rovan leaned into the microphone, looked out into the crowd and said, “This is our first show in Burlington and you guys fucking showed up.” Cue the revelry, the fist pumping, the wolf howls and guttural screams. Then as the crowd turned to file out amidst an appreciative cacophony. Rapp-Rovan grabbed the mic again and said, “Fuck it, lets play another song.” Zeds Dead proceeded to rock the crowd into exhaustion for another 10 minutes before finally closing up shop. It may have been wet, dreary and cold after the show but spirits were high and the collective body heat accumulated during the set was still sending steam rising into the night.