Sunday, 6 November 2011
DEAMAU5 LEAVES 'EM RAVING...
The article below follows deadmau5 headlining the Rogers Centre Toronto, Canada.
deadmau5 was the first Canadian artist to headline the SkyDome on Saturday night.
Joel Zimmerman (deadmau5) ":D So proud to be Canadian!"
If you’re of a certain age, it could be considered Revenge of the Ravers.
If you weren’t one of the many dance-music fans in attendance old enough to remember the City of Toronto’s turn-of-the-millennium anti-rave witch hunt, Deadmau5’s triumphant homecoming gig before more than 20,000 frothing fans at the Rogers Centre on Saturday night still stood, I’m sure, as one of the most righteous dance parties ever to hit this town.
The Niagara Falls-raised electronic producer, born Joel Zimmerman, handily beat the stadium’s brains out with the dazzling multimedia barrage of hard-as-nails big-room techno and high-tech production values he’s been carting around to transatlantic festival fields since the beginning of the summer.
The final gig of the tour, though, was a landmark moment in more ways than one. Deadmau5 became the first Canadian artist ever in the Rogers Centre’s 22-year history to headline the gargantuan venue, for one thing, putting this scrawny miscreant in an oversized “Mau5-head” mask in the same league as U2, Coldplay and the Rolling Stones. He also picked up a platinum sales award for last year’s 4x4=12 album before the gig, the only one handed out to an Anglo-Canadian performer thus far in 2011.
So, yeah, Zimmerman is having a pretty good year. But in successfully mounting what was essentially a massive rave in the city’s largest indoor concert venue — with opening support from similarly popular Toronto electro-exports Crystal Castles and MSTRKRFT — he’s also served symbolic notice that a new era of massive dance events may be upon Toronto.
And, folks, it’s been awhile; although parties drawing upwards of 10,000 people were a common sight in this burg toward the end of the 1990s, when Toronto was pretty much Ground Zero for the North American rave scene, they all but ceased to be after a municipal and police clampdown at the dawn of the 2000s. The fact that we just had one of the biggest in the scene’s history in the home of the Toronto Blue Jays marks a pretty serious about-face.
Deadmau5 even commands enough pull (and draws enough revenue) to keep the Rogers Centre open until 2 a.m., a bit early by rave standards but almost unheard of in a venue that costs tens of thousands of dollars to run each additional hour beyond its typical 11 p.m. curfew. Amazingly, too, the police and security presence was light, friendly and unobtrusive. My, how times have changed.
This gig was big news, then. It was also big fun.
Deadmau5 gets flack for offering straightforward dance floor thrills — essentially a rewiring of late ’90s hard house and Homework-era Daft Punk with a healthy dose of au courant low-end squelch and a splash of dubstep sub-bass here and there — but there’s no denying that the cat (er, Mau5) delivers the goods in the heat of the moment. His catalogue is pretty much all bangers, all the time and, admittedly, it’s tough sometimes to tell the difference between one sawing 4/4 beatdown and another, between “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” and “The Reward is Cheese” or between “Some Chords” and “Cthulu Sleeps.”
They were all rendered in spectacularly crisp, full and powerful sonic detail on Saturday, though — I heard rumours that an additional $100,000 had been sunk into the production because it was being taped for a DVD and I am inclined to believe it because I’ve never heard the Rogers Centre sound that good — and continually dolled up by three giant LED screens’ worth of lunatic visuals: multiple Mau5 caricatures, of course, but also cascading geometric patterns, audio-reactive animated splatters, sci-fi space battles, an enormous arcade game of Pac-Mau5 and pictures of Zimmerman’s cat, Professor Meowingtons, for whom this Meowington’s Hax tour is named.
The visual distractions are necessary when you’re a single dude standing behind a rack of gear in a space the size of the Rogers Centre, probably, but Deadmau5’s Rubik’s Cube spaceship set would be nothing if the music weren’t up to snuff. And his A-list material really is. “Raise Your Weapon” is a knowingly soft-hearted vocal-house anthem and a real keeper, even if it errs on the cheesy/trancey side. The dubstep hip-hop blinder “One Trick Pony” is probably the most punishing piece of music the Rogers Centre walls have ever withstood. The disco-fied “Animal Rights” had the place deliriously bopping with joy. Zimmerman deserved to run out on the proscenium with guest vocalist Sofia Toufa for a victory lap in front of his hometown fans during the smash single “Sofi Needs a Ladder,” meanwhile, because that tune is an absolute monster and the best thing he’s ever done.
I’m not gonna bitch at the man for making dance music popular because, really, why shouldn’t it be? Take all the victory laps you want, Deadmau5. You just pulled off a rave in freakin’ SkyDome.
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