Deadmau5, the young DJ from Toronto, has been one of dance music's most-meteoric stories of the last five years. He's a former computer geek who came out of nowhere to blast digital dance music retailer Beatport with some of its best-sellers. He came of age in the download era and didn't even have a proper hardcopy release when we first wrote about him in 2007.
Now Mr. Mau5 is a headliner at global music festivals, and he's evolved to live up to the billing by presenting an electrifying set of bombastic lights and razor-edged electro-house Friday night at Coachella. Deadmau5, in his signature mouse-ears costume, blasted the festival's Sahara tent with sound and light like a radiologist zaps your bones.
Was it us or did the entire, 75,000-person concert seem to flow into that tent, even as the three-day event's main headliner, Jay-Z, performed on the main stage? The venue was swarmed with day-glo dancers and women in Deadmau5 t-shirts as the DJ zapped them with his telltale sound that mixes elements of arpeggiated trance with grating, '80s synths and the punk ethos of nu electro.
The worst thing about Deadmau5's electrifying set was that it was only about a half hour long — barely time to get warmed up in most DJ settings where three hours is considered the minimum time it takes for a top spinner to move the crowd and tell a story.
Still, Deadmau5 had the vibe dialed and used heavy artillery from the first track, leaving dancers feeling satiated and perhaps satisfied that this most-crowded of Coachellas was worth the hassle.