4

Ultra 2013: Deadmau5 Proves He's a Real Person, Rejects the Easy Headliner Gimmicks

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

How quickly some stars have ascended in the EDM boom. Just a few years ago, in 2009, Toronto-based producer Deadmau5 could be found at Ultra Music Festival on the live stage, essentially opening up for Simian Mobile Disco. Last night, though, trying to get the main stage to witness his fest-closing set was an exercise in carefully ignoring claustrophobia.

Tens of thousands of revelers squished body to body in the surrounding field, sharing sweat and vibes as they cheered, recorded, and Instagram-ed Joel Zimmerman's every move. Seriously, Deadmau5 could have showed up and played a polka and kids would have still gone insane, by their level of rapt, devout attentiveness.

See also:

-Swedish House Mafia Kicks Off Ultra 2013, "F#$%s Miami in the Pussy"

-Ultra 2013: Snoop Dogg Goes Rasta to Gangsta to Raver, Debuts "No Guns Allowed"

-Kaskade and Tiesto Kick Off UMF's Weekend Two, Reach Epic Pop Peaks

-Avicii Does Country Music and Eric Prydz Proclaims "Love You" UMF!

-Ultra 2013: Slash Does Surprise Guitar Solo, "Pretty Awesome Gig"

So what inspires this devotion? Well, a lot of it seems to be that Deadmau5 comes off as a real person -- despite that Mau5 head! -- instead of taking on that demi-god persona that so many other main-stage DJs seem to like. You won't find him doing that worship-style arm-raise move or seeming to pat himself on the back. Instead, last night, there were actually a lot of awkward, confusing shuffles around the stage. Deadmau5, maybe he's really a slightly geeky computer nerd, like many of us!

But there's also the music, of course, which boasts big, ridiculous melodies, and the occasional anthemic lyric while still managing to hold on to some semblance of subtlety. As a festival performer, in fact, he even seems to revel in bucking the trend toward fist-pumper after fist-pumper.

Deadmau5 has admitted he's not a DJ, and he's said, in the past, that "of course he just presses play," because the point is for fans to hear the tracks in a loud, massive communal setting. Yet last night, there was still some of a proper DJ's structure to the set. It would have been easy for him to come out with the obvious wallop of "Strobe" or another mega-hit, but instead he started things off very techy. And for him, the lead-in was even relatively minimal. The focus was not on synth flourishes as much as the rhythms and a slow burn.

In fact, it proceeded that way throughout the set. For every supereasy part to latch onto, like the vocal-heavy "Raise Your Weapon" or the hit "Sometimes Things Get, Whatever," there were longer, carefully building parts. Monitoring the Twitter conversation, there were fans who dubbed this boring, but it was a slick move on the artist's part.

A lot of dance culture is based around keeping a relatively long attention span for a DJ (or producer) to do proper work. And perhaps by avoiding a total hit parade, Zimmerman is trying to steer things, ever so slightly, back there.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.