If you’ve never heard of him, ZHU is the stage name of Steven Zhu, an American DJ, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. His music is hard to pigeonhole, since it sits in the pocket of a growing—albeit paradoxical—genre: electronic dance music (EDM) with an artful nod. In general, EDM is designed for people in clubs to bounce mindlessly to while touching a dozen strangers and sweating enough to ruin their shirts forever—not exactly a challenging listen. Art-pop, on the other hand, has the opposite connotation; it’s shrill, over intellectual, and most damning of all, not danceable. However, ZHU’s music breaks down the wall between mind-bending progpop and the catchy EDM we all love to mosh to. All that to say—compounded by the rave reviews I’d heard from friends regarding ZHU’s live show—I was biting my nails in anticipation of his concert in DC.
Niccolo Bechtler | Oct. 22, 2018