Deadmau5 live at iTunes Festival
- By Jordan Halford -
- Sep 13, 2012
We've all been there, haven't we?
A secret that hardly anybody else knows about, an uncovered gem, an exclusive society. One that you feel so privileged to be a part of that you shout from the rooftops (or at least, tell your mates) in order to spread the word about your chosen allegiance. And then, almost unexpectedly, your little secret is uncovered to the whole world and suddenly it just doesn't feel the same.
Ironic really, that after all of your constant whispering you didn't realise you were equally responsible for one of your favourite artists 'selling out', or 'becoming too mainstream,' as you put it. But don't worry, you're not the only one, i'm guilty as charged. After having seen Joel Zimmerman - aka Deadmau5 - on several occasions, it's been to my great disappointment that with each viewing he has gradually got worse and unfortunately, last night's iTunes Festival performance at Camden Town's terrific Roundhouse continued to follow suit.
After the release of his third studio album 'Random Album Title' (RAT) in 2008, Zimmerman had announced himself on the world dance stage as a genuine challenger to headline acts like Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren. A blissful blend of progressive synths and minimal techno, tracks such as the bass-driven 'Arguru' - written in memory of the well-known audio-software developer Juan Antonio Arguelles Rius - 'Not Exactly' and the wonderful 'Faxing Berlin' fuelled raves the world over long into the early hours and contributed towards him becoming the most decorated producer at the Beatport Music Awards, clinching Best Electro House Artist, Best Progressive House Artist and Best Single that year.
His rise to prominence was meteoric to say the least, having also won Dance Recording of the Year at the Juno Awards in 2009 and placing at number 11 in the DJ Magazine 'Top 100' poll, tying Infected Mushroom for the highest new entry in the poll's entire history. The first occasion I saw him, in front of just 300 people under the King's Arches on a miserable winter's evening in Brighton several years ago will live long in the memory, but the subsequent viewings just haven't lived up to those standards.
Perhaps it is indeed the buzz about a prodigious new talent, or rather that the tracks on that particular album (and i'm currently listening to it now) are simply superb. Or it's quite feasible, that after receiving regular airplay on Radio One, he has simply abandoned the principles that endeared him to many in the first place and instead, churned out generic, guest vocal-laden dross that appeals to the drug-induced brain dead fodder that often now clutter his live shows.
Y'know, those teenage delinquents that have finally been allowed out past 10pm, have little regard for any fellow gig-goers and still think dressing in a Scooby-Doo costume is still hilariously original and doesn't make you look like a complete and utter dickhead. After having been forced to endure Foreign Beggers (who were comfortably the worst live act I have ever seen) for over an hour, Deadmau5 finally appeared. But just like an unwanted bout of thrush, the aforementioned British hip-hop trio returned to hand over the iconic mau5head and also completely butcher 'Some Chords' with their careless rhetoric after 'Sometimes Things Get, Whatever' and 'Limit Break.'
New single 'Professional Griefers' and 'Ghosts 'n' Stuff' followed swiftly, but both suffered the same fate with the vocals of My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way and Pendulum's Rob Swire, respectively, swamping Zimmerman's techno-genius and further highlighting his desire to fill the airwaves and attract a new breed of followers, rather than look after his original mau5 worshippers.
The first hour passed with the similar throb echoing around an otherwise superb arena and it wasn't until new-track 'Closer Rev.2,' available on his latest studio album '> Insert Album Title Here <,' appeared that Zimmerman finally changed the pace and resorted back to the tried and tested methods. The track title is a reference to Steven Speilberg's 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind' and begins with wonderful synths before developing into a fine progressive track akin to that of his early releases. It was a pleasant return to familiar territory and fellow newcomer 'The Veldt' continued from where it's predecessor left off. Curiously named after Ray Bradbury's 1950 short story, it features vocals written by Twitter fan Chris James and once again is a nod towards vintage mau5.
The Canadian predictably concluded his set with the epic 'Strobe,' hailed by many as his best track, but with the omission of fellow newcomers 'Fn Pig' and 'There Might Be Coffee,' the evening comes to a close with a disappointing stench. With the release of his fourth studio album imminent, the tracklist looks as though there will be hits for both fans new and old, but with Cypress Hill guesting on 'Failbait' and Imogen Heap on 'Telemiscommunications', Zimmerman has not completely returned to his origin.
The little rodent might have traded his residency in Ibiza for the bright lights of Las Vegas and also reached out to the mainstream, but with a shelf-life on his career, who can really blame him?
Photo: iTunes Festival
By Jordan Halford.
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