Deadmau5 on Halloween weekend at the Civic Auditorium was pretty much an automatic sold out show (as were most on this tour). Deadmau5 (a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman), the world famous, award-winning electronic producer hailing from Ontario came to San Francisco, California, for his Meowingtons Hax tour dressed a la Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (the film) and topped it all off with his holey cheese mouse head. (If anyone’s wondering where he got the name, Joel was known as “that dead mouse guy” on a forum.)
Feed Me, A-Trak, Fatboy Slim, and Tommy Lee & DJ Aero had all opened the show, but the night really began heading way at 10 p.m. The second the white sheet obscuring his rubik’s cube shaped booth dropped, mayhem among the neon lit and costume clad masses broke loose – if that were even further possible. “Where Are My Keys?” started off the two-hour set that mostly included material from 2008’s Random Album Title and the latest disc, 4×4=12.
It was already clear from the start how good this show was going to be. A Deadmau5 audience is as intense and energetic as it gets, with their glow-in-the-dark lights and mouse ears/heads, and concert attire almost reflecting the same vivid colour intensity seen in the lighting setup. The lights extended the music beyond an aural plane and completed the whole experience, perfectly designed to the Deadmau5 house-trance-dubstep orchestration. Deadmau5’s 3D light fixtures have made his light shows a thing of legend. It’s difficult to think of anyone else who could rival them. If you’re not a fan of electronic music, the fun crowds and the incredible light show are two good enough reasons to go see Joel Zimmerman.
SOFI (Sofia Toufa) from Germany, came out for the highly anticipated, “Sofi Needs A Ladder,” followed by the edgy dubstep-tinged “Raise Your Weapon” and the darker “One Trick Pony.” Dressed in her signature silver, glittering hood and short shorts, SOFI (who is just the right amount of sexy, insouciant and cool) commanded attention with a stage presence and personality that could cut glass. Somewhere in between, Deadmau5 came down from his cube to talk with SOFI: “We can’t stop here, this is bat country!” he quoted from Fear and Loathing while waving a fly swatter.
Deadmau5 shows have only grown larger each year, his production scale more grandiose than the last. The bold visual displays made it obvious that much of Deadmau5’s music was video game inspired–images of Space Invaders, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario and Minecraft flooded the giant backscreen.
Zimmerman truly knows how to put on a show and make it a full body experience. The highlights especially illustrated this: the hard and fierce “Professional Griefers,” with “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” dropped in, segueing into everyone’s favorite, “Moar Ghosts N’ Stuff” drove the crowd wild. The crowd—which was made of the usual concert hot-and-sweaty type but more so, making it feel like you were wearing three sweaters as you jumped around with everyone—was super engaged, as it clapped along to the bass that left ears ringing when it was all over. Moments like “Cthulhu Sleeps,” “Maths,” and ”The Reward is Cheese” showcased Deadmau5 dynamics, especially his ease in gliding from glitchy to smooth and balancing the heavy and upbeat.
The dance party ended at midnight with “Strobe,” ending the two-hour sensory symphony of bright colors, crazy dancing, striking lights, and stunning electronic music that has made Deadmau5 a place outside his genre.