North Coast Music Festival 2011, Saturday: Zeds Dead
Zed's Dead, a duo from Toronto, got the early afternoon crowd at the Red Bull Stage riled up from the start of their set, melding deep groves, rap samples and sci-fi effects into a dance-ready melange. A good number of people stuck around following Felix Cartal’s set, and the steady rain couldn’t dampen the party.
The group patched together elements from wide-ranging genres, using everything from Atari bleeps to jungle breaks and '80s samples (like the Jet’s “Crush on You”), to create songs that sounded fresh. When Mother Nature threw a roll of thunder into the mix, the crowd cheered, as if it were all part of the plan.
Often, Zeds Dead would splice in dancehall and deep-house breaks into their samples, each amplifying and complimenting the other. One particularly fitting choice, given the weather, was the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” The group isolated the background singers belting “Whoa, Children!” and teased it out with a simmering synth line. The average BPM of its tracks was lower than many of the electronic acts so far, giving them room to let their songs and samples breathe. Not that the crowd was any less pumped, though, as some of the heavier moments inspired frantic dancing and even moshing.