Lots of people call dubstep ‘the new heavy metal’. There’s a lot of good reasons for the label – the loudness of the music, the tendency of outsiders to label the music as ‘noise’, the mosh pits, the way fans dress – i could go on and on. Nobody quite makes the connection like Modestep, whose relatively smooth, for dubstep standards, productions translate into a rip roaring heavy metal rock show in a live setting. Their 2013 debut album, Evolution Theory, is ripe with tracks that blend catchy, rock and roll vocals that wouldn’t be out of line in any mainstream Brit rock band, with heavy dubstep bass lines and drops, melding the two genres together.

The live set up sees brothers Tony and Josh Friend man the turntables and lead vocals, respectively. Guitarist Nick Tsang shreds throughout like a full rock star, and drummer Matthew Curtis succeeds at the challenging task of keeping pace with drum and bass style drumming. I just want to make it clear – musically, these guys aren’t half assing these songs. They’re meant to be performed by a live band, and each band member is supremely talented at what he does. I stopped at least once during the show to individually compliment each band member. Each person had several moments to shine, whether it be guitar, vocals, or drums.

About fifteen minutes into the show, if you had any doubts, you would have recognized that this was going to be more Rage Against The Machine than Datsik. Covers of ‘Louder’ and ‘I Can’t Stop’ by Flux Pavilion were accentuated with hard rock drumming and blistering guitar solos. I don’t know if any other live band has translated mainstream dubstep songs into a rock and roll format so seamlessly. A cover of Knife Party’s ‘Destroy Them With Lasers’ was particularly awesome, erupting the crowd into a giant mosh pit at the drop. Skrillex was also not off limits, as several of his tracks were covered or teased throughout the night. At one point, Josh took to the keys and slowed down the night with a soft, piano based cover of Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’, before jumping back into a hardcore drop that was as much dubstep as heavy metal.

Modestep should really only exist in this live band format – to spin these tracks in a DJ set is truly a disservice to the talent that went into arranging these songs for the band; they really rock. A real crossover act, in that there is enough heavy metal and enough electronic music to really please both crowds equally. The set builds like a DJ set, with brief teases, call backs, and a collage of different music, but the sounds being produced are pure rock and roll. The only complaint would be the set time – even with an awesome encore of ‘Sunlight’, which seems to have become the band’s signature song, the show was over in less than an hour. More Modestep, please.

(Photo via @LiveForLiveMusic Instagram)