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Deadmau5 show bouncy, sweaty, grinding, gyrating
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Deadmau5 show bouncy, sweaty, grinding, gyrating

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Deadmau5
October 4
The Showbox Market


I felt bad for the line of ticketless hopefuls outside The Showbox Market on Sunday night, desperately hoping to gain entrance to a performance filled to capacity. Their frustration isn't lost on me, as years ago I too prayed for big miracles at concert venues with "sold out" signs taped on box office windows. I remember capturing morsels of sound escaping through the front doors, reminding me that listening from the curb is the worst seat in the house.

The reason for all this fuss was Deadmau5, a 28-year-old Canadian who has rapidly earned marquee status on the dance music circuit around the world. Based in Toronto, the Grammy-nominated producer/DJ attracts the likes of club scenesters and electronica hipsters on both sides of the fence - Gay cuties grinding into each other on my right, shirtless straight boys gyrating to my left. It was more or less a rave party with a star turntablist, but instead of a dark eyeliner crowd, the gathering here was a preppy ensemble of college kids, trendy 20- and 30-somethings, and the usual Gay twinks.

Wearing one version of his trademark mousy headpiece - glittery silver head, large red ears - Deadmau5 got busy on music from various projects, including several from his 2008 compilation called Random Album Title. A fusion of "Sometimes Things Get, Whatever" and "Complications" was incredible, two songs I hadn't paid considerable attention to on the disc, and even cooler was a tantalizing rotation of "Slip." Deadmau5 also intertwined snippets of Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger" into a setlist entry.

As you'd expect from a dance-house party, a colorful array of attire and toys filled the room - a clan of young men dressed in safety vests twirled glo-sticks near the back, while neon wristbands from orange to bright green were spotted throughout the main floor whenever concertgoers bounced up and down, which was quite often.

During "Not Exactly," Deadmau5 (real name: Joel Zimmerman) danced behind two giant projection screens on either side of the stage, going as far as spanking himself on the ass and flipping birdies to the audience. With a clean appearance and lean build, he's definitely easy on the eyes and working his magic onstage - controlling a laptop computer and turntable simultaneously while regularly shaking his hips and bobbing his head certainly raised his sex appeal.

"I Remember" gave the performance a much-needed slow break, but things kicked right back to high-energy with flashy renditions of "Soma" and "Strobe," and then all hell broke loose when Deadmau5 slammed the crowd with a full-throttle version of "Ghosts n' Stuff" off his 2009 release For Lack of a Better Name. The entire room at that point was bouncing so furiously that it turned the floor into a bed mattress ("Does the floor actually have springs?" I asked while jumping). A scattering of water bottles and tiny puddles of sweat made me question if a twisted ankle would be my consequence for joining the fun, but in the end it was very sore shins that would be the price paid.

The night didn't go without disappointments, as Deadmau5 surprisingly omitted "Contact" from his rotation - the song I most wanted to hear, it received shouting requests from several people around me, yet it was nowhere to be heard. However, a terrific run-through of "Brazil (2nd Edit)" partially made up for its absence.

Dance music has evolved into a very popular genre, no longer an underground fixture at urban basement clubs. As proven at Sunday's concert, there's a whole other fan base out there closely monitoring its every move - these weren't kids you'd find at an indie rock show, these were equally well-to-do youngsters who bask in the surroundings of whistles, glow-in-the-dark accessories, and pulsating beats.

I'd waited months to experience Deadmau5 in a small, indoor setting, and I was exceptionally thrilled with his live performance last weekend. This is an artist who really connects with his fans, not one of those self-centered DJs who spins for an hour and leaves without ever acknowledging the audience - he knows what they want, and he delivers.

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