Before you even enter Webster Hall, the smell of stale beer and sweat is inescapable. While this may not appeal to the sensibilities of some softer electronic music fans, to us it makes for an ideal environment to truly appreciate a DJ set. Upon setting foot into the cavernous open space, you enter an unspoken agreement to throw out all of your inhibitions. Everyone’s there for two reasons: to dance, sweat and grind their way into a bass fueled euphoria, and to gorge themselves on $3 Pabst Blue Ribbons. We had the opportunity to do exactly that when we saw up and coming producer Zedd at Webster for arguably one of the most energetic nights in recent memory. Read all about it in our full recap after the break.
Let’s set the record straight: Webster Hall is one venue not for the faint of heart. It isn’t the type of club where you spend an exorbitant amount of money on bottle service to drink with exotic looking models you’ll never take home. Instead, it’s an empty room with mediocre acoustics, unfriendly bartenders, and some of the most energetic ragers you will find at any EDM show in New York City.
When Zedd took the stage, the crowd seemed to electrify with anticipation — a feeling reminiscent of Skrillex’s appearance at the same venue a few months back. Things peaked as the young producer approached the decks; some fans endearingly chanted “Zedd!”, while others stared blankly into the darkness with dilated pupils and dopey grins.
We’ll be honest here: this was our first experience seeing Zedd live, and we could not have been more impressed. His name is constantly mentioned alongside Skrillex and Porter Robinson — and with good reason. (The trio is performing at Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY July 5, and you can snag tickets here). While his song choices may not have been as inventive as those of Porter and Skrillex, his technical skills, mixing ability, and stage presence were all top notch. There was not a single lull in his entire set — not one second where the crowd wasn’t pulsing with an unbelievable amount of energy. He blasted one crowd favorite after another; moving seamlessly from deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner’s collaboration “Animal Rights” to his own remix of Skrillex’s track “Weekends!”, without so much as a hiccup.
You know a DJ is incredible when he can get you to dance along with a track you absolutely despise, so when we found ourselves singing along to The Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Zedd Remix) we were simultaneously embarrassed and impressed.
Zedd continued spinning tracks straight from Beatport’s Top 10 until he reached his climax (or so we thought) with Steve Aoki, Lil Jon and Laidback Luke’s masterpiece “Turbulence”.
As the turbulence subsided and we began to restore cabin pressure, Zedd brought the sounds to a halt. What followed was the type of dramatic pause that might lose a crowd’s attention — the dancing slowed and attendees had a moment to gather their composure. But then it happened: DOVREGUBBEN!
The crowd erupted when Zedd dropped his brand new single, Dovregubben, which is already showing up in sets from Steve Aoki and other heavy hitters. We can’t be sure if it was the bass or the synchronized jumping of the crowd, but the floor creaked and groaned as the heavy bassline blasted through the speakers of New York’s oldest club.
The second half of his set moved at a breakneck pace, and his layering of Bart B More’s “Brap!” over Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor” took the crowd completely by surprise. Beyonce can butcher a sample all she wants, but Afrojack’s beat on Pon De Floor will never lose its power over a dance floor.
He finished his set out with a mixture of some classic tracks and a few of his more memorable remixes: his remix of Diddy Dirty Money – “Ass to the Floor”, Skrillex – “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Zedd Remix)” and Wolfgang Gartner – “Space Junk” — just to name a few. After that impressive procession, he finally dropped the Steve Aoki / Bloody Beetroots dancefloor destroyer, “Warp 1.9”, inciting a few people to begin crowd surfing while others showered each other — and the stage — in beers and mixed drinks.
Diddy Dirty Money – Ass on the Floor (Zedd Remix)
Despite what could be considered an “uninspired” set list, there was not a single person in Webster Hall who was not entertained. It was visceral, raw and fun – everything a show should be… We just hope that we never have to hear “The Time” by the Black Eyed Peas ever again because, quite frankly, BEP doesn’t belong in true house sets no matter who’s doing the remixing.