There’s a reason why Deadmau5 has sold out multiple dates in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Boston. Simply put, few dance-music producers around right now have hit the cultural zeitgeist the way this Canadian has.
For you neophytes, Joel Zimmerman, the 30-year-old man behind the oversize mouse head, is as much an entertainer as he is a composer and producer. His best-known tracks—among them “Some Chords,” “Ghosts n Stuff” and “Sofi Needs a Ladder,” which you may have recently heard in a Virgin Mobile commercial—don’t fit into any particular pocket of dance music. They aren’t conveniently trance anthems or house jams. Instead, Deadmau5 mixes up nearly everything that’s happened in electronic dance music since the original rave days and pumps it back out as tunes that are as likely to rock a college dorm party as they will keep the dance floor going at the poshest nightclub.
But Deadmau5 is more than a master of the club hits. His current Meowingtons Hax Tour reveals a spectacle that will put many five-piece live bands to shame. Deadmau5 reproduces his album tracks, as well as some remixes, in a seamless mix. You might think it’s a DJ set, but he’s actually playing live. For this tour, he’s busting out an LED extravaganza. It’s an over-the-top display of abstract and cute, retro-ish images, the likes of which are rarely seen in nightclubs.
Those who may have seen Deadmau5’s Aug. 25 performance in L.A. know he’s famous for the large, cartoonish mouse head that has become his trademark. During his sets, he frequently switches between at least a couple different mouse masks, which he will remove and replace with a simple baseball cap at varying intervals in the performance. Similarly, Deadmau5 fans frequently show up to events wearing masks nearly identical to his, or, at the very least, mouse ears. His appearances have truly become a cult phenomenon, not entirely different from other artists with rabid followings, such as Phish, or comic-book conventions, where fans show up dressed as their favorite characters.
If you’re going to the Sept. 2 or 3 show at the Cosmopolitan, make sure you show up early enough to catch a set from Tommy Lee and DJ Aero. The Mötley Crüe drummer and production partner DJ Aero have just signed to Deadmau5’s record label, Mau5trap, and have been filling dance floors on this tour with a mix of fist-pumping beats and party-starting visuals. Zedd, who has been opening for the Meowingtons Hax Tour, is a stellar up-and-coming DJ/producer who is set to play both nights. Let’s hope he drops his remix of the Legend of Zelda theme music.