Zeds Dead is a Canadian electronic duo, known for its glitch, bass, and deep house sounds. I recently had the pleasure of seeing them perform live at The Pageant in St. Louis. With breathtaking basslines and massive drops, Zeds Dead had the entire crowd going wild. For a venue that, at most, only fits about 2,300 people, Zeds Dead managed to keep the energy high, creating an atmosphere that seemed way bigger than a measly 2,300. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that they were performing for a crowd of over 10,000 at a huge music festival.
Hunter Siegel was the first opener for Zeds Dead; despite the smaller audience, as people slowly trickled in as the night progressed, Siegel was able to engage the crowd and provide an excellent taste as to what was to come. Siegel’s booming glitch-mob sound started the crowd off on the right foot. Heavy on both synth, bass, and beats, Hunter Siegel’s music is particularly aggressive, which sounds off-putting. But in reality, Siegel incorporates current hits such as Desiigner’s “Panda,” Post Malone’s “White Iverson,” The Weeknd’s “The Hills,” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’s “Heads Will Roll,” creating a contemporary feel that really hyped up the audience.
Illenium was the next opener, and he provided a nice contrast. With a little more variation in sound, I would argue that Illenium, while definitely firmly seated in the trap/dubstep/glitch genres, had more musical depth; he played remixes of popular songs like The Chainsmokers’ “Closer,” (I don’t think the world will ever be sick of this song) and Flume’s “Never Be Like You,” creating more house-driven music that was a pleasant juxtaposition against the hard-hitting aggression that glitch can have. Illenium continued the trend of high-energy performance, and his playing of the drums really supplemented his musical production. It was a unique, organic touch to a heavily produced show. With plenty of throwbacks, most notably to Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” and Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” Illenium combined new and nostalgic hits to round out his set. By the time he exited the stage, the crowd was massive and ready to go for Zeds Dead.
Despite coming on stage fifteen to twenty minutes later than anticipated, all was forgiven when Zeds Dead began their first track. I had to endure approximately thirty jokes about how Zed is dead, so the duo had to make an excellent entrance to forget these terrible jokes. The moment they appeared in front of the lit screen, the crowd went crazy. Zeds Dead was equally hyped, raring to go and perform at their best. One of the things that I love about electronic musical performances is the complementary music and visuals. Zeds Dead did not disappoint, utilizing heavy strobes, stunning scenery, smoke blasters, and bright colors. This wonderful combination truly added to the experience, helping make the venue seem so much bigger than it actually was. The show was honestly aesthetically beautiful, varying from patterns and pulsating beats to Dragon Ball Z and graphic comics.
Hearing one of your favorite songs performed live is a heady, dizzying moment. Zeds Dead’s remix of Marina and the Diamonds’s “Lies” has been one of my all-time favorite tracks for a long time, and when I heard the opening strains of it, I got goosebumps. To be fair, this could have been partially attributed to the overwhelmingly deep and resonant basslines. When you experience a bass so heavy that you can feel it deep within you, there is a fleeting moment where you truly become one with the music. I felt this way for nearly the entire performance. I could tell that everyone in the audience felt the same way. Huge drops spurred frenetic dancing and smooth finger tutting; electronic music has a way of bringing people together, and it was very clear to me that everyone at this performance felt like a part of a group unified by their love of music.
Highlights from this performance include the addition of a remix of Soulja Boy’s “Superman,” which was delightfully refreshing and thoroughly unexpected. I’ve never seen so many people freak out at once. The light show alone made the concert worth it, so when you combine that with amazing music, this was a performance that I’m so glad I didn’t miss. I know that I’ve been to an amazing concert when I leave the venue and I can’t hear anything because the speakers were so loud and I have an adrenaline rush that can only be associated with a concert high. Zeds Dead fulfilled everything for me.
I want to give a big thank you to Linda Valenziano and Liberal Arts for providing me with a photo pass for this event.