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Concert Review: Deadmau5 at The House of Blues in Boston, MA

July 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Concert Reviews, Daily Music News

House of Blues- Boston, MA
July 21, 2010

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Reviewed by:  Dorise Gruber  

A Deadmau5 show is not so much a concert as it is a full-on audio-visual experience.  Set up on high in a giant carved-out cube, Joel Zimmerman, AKA Deadmau5, rocked the House of Blues last Wednesday – not only with his mighty beats, but with a brilliant light show that would rival even the most magnificent fireworks display.

The audience was compiled of a pretty interesting mix of people.  Mostly around college-age, give or take, the new age Deadhead5 (if this is not already a term, I’m trademarking it) ranged from Club-Kid to full-on Bro in a sort of mainstream rave.  In some extreme cases, there were 3 or 4 fans who had even fashioned their very own Deadmau5 costumed heads, which they flaunted through the crowd.  For the most part, though, the girls were dressed such that it looked as though they were trying to out-mesh each other, or were perhaps competing in a sparklier-than-thou contest.  Armed with glow-sticks, muscle tees, high heels and $6 PBRs, this mob was ready to party.  Even before Deadmau5 rose dramatically on stage, several hundred bodies had already gathered in the main pit hours earlier, bouncing in frenzy.  Hands in the air and drenched in sweat, warm-up DJs hyped the rambunctious crowd, mixing familiar beats to get everybody moving.

When Deadmau5 finally ascended the stairs to his enormous gutted stand, complete with mouse-head (the first one he wore looked like a faceless mesh Mickey Mouse), the fans went bananas.  Writhing even harder than before, dancers began throwing cups of beer and water into the air, spraying the masses on the floor.  It was clear the *real* show was about to begin.  The beats became harder-hitting, the crowd ramped up its already high energy, and as the lights show got increasingly more complex, the thumping crowd pausing only to intermittently whip out cameras, attempting to capture the moment and the marvel.  Though he did eventually change into his more iconic helmet later in the show, Deadmau5 did spend some of his set au natural (sans costume), swigging away at what I can only presume to have been a Tall Boy.

The majority of the show featured quite a few songs from his most recent album, For Lack Of a Better Name, including crowd favorites like “FML” and “Moar Ghosts n Stuff” (and “Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff”).  Very few of his tracks have lyrics attached, but to this bunch that didn’t make the beats any less meaningful.  Deadmau5 would titillate the crowd by decelerating beats and embracing the lull, and after artfully slowing everyone down, he’d then drop a really heavy bass to get people re-invigorated.  Through his cleverly alternated pace, he kept the crowd going strong.

I’d be awfully remiss to not mention some specifics about the light-show as well, since the concert really would not have been nearly as phenomenal without it.  There were three light stands – vertical light columns, one long horizontal jutted-out panel that looked sort of like a visual sound frequency, and Deadmau5’s mammoth stand, its external panels equipped with amazing LED technology.  It’s probably easier to show you than tell you, so I highly encourage you to check out this youtube video from Deadmau5’s set at Coachella earlier this year.  Even if you only watch for a minute, it’s not hard to envision how such a spectacle indoors at the House of Blues could consume fans, intensifying the quality and meaning of the heavy-laid beats.

In case you’re wondering (like I did), DJs do have Encores.  Deadmau5 stepped down from the stairs and off the stage, and after a series of “Deadmau5” chants, the DJ scaled to his throne once more.  Unfortunately, though, this was perhaps the weakest part of the set.  Already before the encore he’d started slowing down his tracks, which is fine if for the Encore he had come back with an energetic finish.  Instead, rather than maintaining the balance he’d so cleverly maintained throughout the earlier portion of the show, he decelerated so much that the crowd’s energy was clearly waning, and rather than having an energetic Encore, he spent 10 minutes building up to a promising beat that never dropped.  As the house lights came on, a guy next to me even screamed at the stage, “All that and you’re not gonna drop the song?!”  I think given that so few of his tracks break in any lyrics, too, that his set could have benefited from the addition of his wildly popular hit “Hi Friend,” which never actually got played.  If he’d closed with that, it would’ve easily taken the set from a 4 1/2 star performance to a full-on 5-stars.

Whether or not this is your favorite genre of music, it’s still absolutely worth seeing Deadmau5 live.  Even though he might not have finished as strong as he began, that bionic rodent puts on one hell of a show.


For all the latest on Deadmau5 visit the official website

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