Written by Ariana Assaf
I am thrilled to report that my brain has turned to mush, and my face has been melted off. On Friday, worshippers of dubstep deity Zomboy gathered at Elektricity Nightclub in Pontiac, MI for a night of head banging that I can say with certainty was absolutely worth the soreness I feel now. My dubstep fanatics will likely already be familiar with what I have to say about him, but for the rest of you, get ready to learn a thing or two about one of the UK’s best exports.
The man behind Zomboy is Joshua Mellody (what a name, am I right?) of Penzance, England. Once a self-proclaimed cliché metal head, Mellody worked in sound engineering before transitioning to production. When his first EP Game Time was released on Never Say Die Records in 2011, he had a week to teach himself to DJ before his first gig ever at Ministry of Sound in London. He’s credited fellow English DJ/producer SKisM (Tom Petais), who helped found Never Say Die, for being a resource during that learning period and beyond. He embarked on his first headlining tour three years later to promote his album The Outbreak, a genre-crossing collection that moved beyond Zomboy’s dubstep niche to incorporate drum and bass, house, and trap.
His currently touring album Neon Grave is a nice mix of dubstep goodies and more experimental sounds, especially with the uncharacteristically laid back, house-y vibes of “Miles Away”. Though his discography shows stylistic range, Zomboy appealed to his fans’ down and dirty desires during Friday’s performance, remaining steadfastly rooted in the cathartic noise of growls, wobbles, and downright screeches. The crowd’s borderline maniacal response to “Like A Bitch”, for example, was a testament to both the song’s popularity and the artist’s ability to heat things up.
Dubstep is a weird thing. Though often inaccessible to mainstream listeners, the genre and related artists’ ability to maintain a steady loyal following never ceases to amaze me. That kind of loyalty is what makes for a sold out show in a small town, a show where head banging into happiness or out of sadness are both accepted and encouraged, and where you can be rattled just enough to feel renewed. Zomboy left me feeling vulnerable yet unstoppable, like a raw nerve that couldn’t be damaged thanks to a protective layer of music. His tour around the US continues into April, so check it out if you’re looking for the chance to let your body scream itself giddy.