Deadmau5, Excision, Tommy Lee & DJ Aero, Zedd - Hollywood Palladium - August 25
Better than: Waiting to drop your favorite Deadmau5 track in a Turntable.fm room.
August 25 marked the arrival of Deadmau5's Meowingtons Hax tour in Los Angeles, the first of a four night stint at the Hollywood Palladium. Three of those shows sold out.
To give you a sense of how big a deal the Thursday night show was, the main dance floor was packed so tightly that it looked as though there wasn't room to do anything more than raise your arms in the air or climb on your boyfriend's shoulders. If you were dancing, and nearly everyone on the floor was, you moved up and down.
A good chunk of the audience was decked out in glow-in-the-dark mouse ears, which you could score from girls who were roaming through the club throughout the night. Many more were holding up cell phones and cameras. How did they manage to dance while shooting video? Stranger still, how did I manage to dance while taking notes? One could only imagine that the videos on YouTube will be as wobbly as my handwriting.
Deadmau5 may not have the chart success of David Guetta, but he's the artist that's defining dance music for the new generation of club kids. A product of dance music ADP (After Daft Punk), he understands the power of inventive, technologically savvy performances and has a knack for turning nerdy references ("Cthulhu Sleeps," anyone?) into something ready for the parties few want to call raves. There was even a direct nod to the French masters of dance music when Deadmau5 dropped a remix of "Harder, Better, Faster Stronger" shortly before the fan favorite, "Ghosts n Stuff."
For those unfamiliar with Deadmau5, his music has little regard for the confines of electronic genres. He's as likely to play with dubstep as he is ready get all minimal.
Then there are the visuals. Deadmau5 performs on top of a tower-like structure, surrounded by LED screens. Scenes changed more often than Kylie Minogue changes costumes, beginning with a Rubik's Cube solving itself and quickly moving into more abstract designs. Up in the booth, he switches out his famed mouse head, going from all white to a LED-covered one with glow-in-the-dark ears that mimics the cover of 4x4=12. Visually, Deadmau5 mixes the retro with the modern. During "Ghosts n Stuff," LED screens presented the crowd's favorite mouse chasing the ghosts from Pac-Man. This soon morphed into a series of levels from Super Mario Bros. (with Deadmau5 in the Mario role) that were occasionally interrupted by the image of an LOL Cats-styled feline.
Deadmau5 is an artist for the young. His pop culture references are more frequently derived from video games and viral hits, mixing songs with titles like "FML" with emoticons. Even his choice of singer, Sofi, who appeared on stage for live renditions of "Sofi Needs a Ladder" and "One Trick Pony," is a new school dance diva, with an unusual sense of a delivery and a style that, like Deadmau5, cannot be easily defined.
The crowd certainly reflected the artist's youthful appeal. All of the Palladium shows are 16-and-over and, let's just say that it's been a long time since we've seen so little activity at the bars in a venue.