Deadmau5 at Ultra Music Festival 2011 Day Two, March 26

Like 100,000 little rats that'd just found a trash bag full of back-alley speed, a massive mob of Mau5heads flooded the huge concrete field in front of Ultra Music Festival's Main Stage last night.

They were wet and sweaty. They were screaming. They were all hyped up to meet their leader.

Deadmau5 was coming. You could smell it. And only moments later (10:36 p.m., if you wanna be exact), the King Rat showed up.

He seemed to emerge from underground, rising upward through a haze of fake smoke and white light to his throne behind a V-shaped booth that looked like the command post of some sleek, post-apocalyptic cyberspaceship.

The King wore a helmet with a shifting, glitching LED Mau5 face and a fat wire feeding into the base of his skull. From the neck down, though, he was all human -- a t-shirt, skinny tattooed arms, and designer jeans.

His real name is Joel Zimmerman. And even if you haven't visited a rat's nest (or an illegal afterhours club) in the last decade, there's a solid chance you know the cleverly spelled pseudonym, the electro-house tuneage, or the gimmicky headgear.

Only five years ago, Deadmau5 was living below street level, scurrying through Toronto's (literally) underground scene, and dropping insanely amped sets for a small subsection of dangerously dedicated club rats. But now he's invaded your house, our house, and Ultra's house. He's everywhere.

This large-scale infestation is just another sign that dance music (which we've already jokingly compared to rodent mind-control) is the breeding ground for the 21st century's total fucking rock stars. Hence, the massive mob, the Main Stage, the Saturday headlining set, the futuristic props, and the animated LED helmets.

And for just under an hour and a half last night, Deadmau5 toyed with his minions' minds and bodies, forcing them through a sonic maze beginning with vintage stuff like "The Reward Is Cheese," twisting down the darker passages of "FML," and tripping out amid the mirrored Mozartian constructs of "Right This Second." He stretched his claws to the sky in a display of total domination. He ripped off his helmet, charged the mob, and called it to mayhem. He released "Raise Your Weapon" and set the trap.

It was a fascinating game and the ultimate bait was a couple of cameos from Sofia Toufa and Tommy Lee for a shot at "Sofi Needs a Ladder." Stuffed into patchwork space couture and fishnets, Toufa prowled the edge of the Main Stage. And rising on a giant scissor lift, Lee pounded a set of transparent Molecules Drums. The little rats went mad.

But personally, we really wouldn't call ourselves converted Mau5heads. We haven't eaten the cheese. And we've never stayed up all night making a low-budget replica of that gimmicky headgear.

Yeah, we've seen the snare. And we're not sure we wanna get caught.

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S. Pajot