Friday Night: Deadmau5 At Verizon Wireless Theater
Check out more photos of Friday night's Mauskateers.
Photos by Marc Brubaker
Deadmau5, Excision, Tommy Lee & DJ Aero, Grrl Parts
Verizon Wireless Theater
September 16th, 2011
The last few times you've heard from this member of Rocks Off, we've brought you reports from major electronic and dance music gigs happening in Houston. It's only been in the very recent past that Space City has been able to attract artists from this corner of the music world, but it's hard to ignore the scene when high-profile acts like Moby visit, much less cult figures like Ramadan Man. It doesn't hurt that homegrown collectives like Gritsy keep putting together larger and larger events of their own.
When our own Rocks Off Jr. visited Identity Fest just last month and came away with a begrudging respect (and greater knowledge base) for electronic music, we knew it was time to cover a show once again. Why we chose to brave the sold-out teen and twentysomething crowd at Verizon Friday for Deadmau5 and friends, we'll never know, but the sights and sounds from night certainly created plenty of conversational fodder for the rest of our weekend.
Musically and stylistically, it was if we had attended two completely separate events. The two touring openers paled in depth, talent level, and straight-up production value compared to Deadmau5. Unfortunately, we missed the early opening set from H-Town's own Grrl Parts, so we have no way of verifying what sort of stage was set for Tommy Lee & DJ Aero or Excision.
Suffice to say the first two hours of the night led us to craft this definition of Brostep: bass-heavy club music for the ADD generation, complete with ironically discordant images flashing upon two video screen and epilepsy-causing lighting effects that rarely seemed in sync with the music.
For these three gentlemen, it was all about getting from one clichéd bass drop to the next. How they chose to bridge that gap was immaterial, because the samples, patches, and sound effects were strung together with very little flow. As long as the tempos were upbeat and the crowd kept continually hyped up, there was sadly no nuance or subtlety to these live sets.
Sure, they flirted with house, jungle, and a smattering of two-step, but only for brief flashes before returning to generic four-on-the-floor bangers slapped together in 90-second segments before jumping to the next seizure-inducing sound bite. To paraphrase our photographer, Excision's set looked and sounded like someone was trying to defrag a hard drive on Ecstasy.
All of this changed when Deadmau5 hit the stage. Not only did the crowd energy skyrocket from simmering expectancy to the sort of throaty roar reserved for your standard musical demigod, but the quality of the music, lighting, and video production work leapt from that of a late-'90s Konami game on your old N64 to that of a major Hollywood big-budget movie. Seriously, the stage setup reminded Atermath of the DJ booth Daft Punk would have used in Tron: Legacy, if it hadn't been a Disney movie.