Deadmau5 Played “Lots of Shows In a Row” In Chicago
Deadmau5 helped to bring electronic music to the mainstream, whether he likes it or not. Over the past 10 years, he has created an empire and went on a few coffee runs in the process. His several years of producing music changed the game when it comes to music and stage presence. Deadmau5 is currently touring in support of his latest album stuff I used to do and stopped in Chicago to play “Lots of shows in a row.” The title was accurate, as he played 2 sold out shows at the Aragon Ballroom. Following these “early” shows, he then played an after-party at the Mid. Four shows in two days had to have been tiring, but if anyone was going to pull it off, Joel Zimmerman was the guy for the job. We caught Deadmau5 on his second night at Aragon.
Outside of the Aragon, a block-long line of people waited in anticipation. Tickets, long sold out, racked up prices of $100 or more on third party websites, and scalpers even had trouble finding tickets to sell. On the second night, the show remained a coveted event. Once inside, the Aragon boomed with the bass of the opening act, Feed Me. A long-time protege of Deadmau5, it only seemed natural for the two to be playing together in the Midwest once more. His modest DJ booth on stage left had cascading LEDs of various colors, synced to the beat but vastly unimpressive. This setup is a staple of Deadmau5 shows, as the stage setup for the main event is extremely elaborate. The Aragon has a whimsical feel, with balconies straight out of Romeo and Juliet. The look of a starlit sky looms over the crowd. Feed Me’s set was a hard-hitting electro romp, but with a little bit of emotion. He played both new and old tracks and ended with “Strange Behaviour,” one of his first hits.
Following Feed Me, the anticipation for Deadmau5 grew. His Twitter handle of Dead Mow Cinco fit perfectly with the Cinco De Mayo holiday. A huge curtain kept the stage shrouded in mystery as some in the crowd donned glowstick-made mau5 ears. As the final event began, the whole stage lit up in a bright white light creating a silhouette of the epic cube behind the curtain. A small Deadmau5 shadow puppet appeared on the curtain before dropping to reveal the updated cube everyone has been talking about. Deadmau5 stood at the top, sans mau5 head, looking almost regal as he towered over the ballroom. The cube put him near to the ceiling of the Aragon. His intro song set the tone for the rest of the event, with a consistent 4-on-the-floor beat that hypnotized the audience.
Following the first track, Deadmau5 put on his signature mau5 head and the crowd erupted in cheer. He truly does whatever he wants and his fans eat it up like a kid with Halloween candy. Even his Twitter dissenters can’t help but groove as his repetitive beats pound through their chest. The bass boomed through Aragon, the kind of bass that could destroy any speaker with the wrong turn of the dial. We wouldn’t want it any other way. Deadmau5 bounced his head at the decks along with the crowd. Regardless of the shit he talks about the electronic scene and those who love it, he clearly loves his career choice and embraces his own talents with open arms. The notorious Cube 2.1 was aptly named, as it held the same shape as his first cube, but with several impressive updates.
The visuals on the cube were crisp and clear, never pixelated (unless it was on purpose). His visuals spoke to the crowd. They worked flawlessly with each track, setting a scene with each. From robots making futuristic mau5 heads in an assembly to simple pulsating cartoon mau5 heads, the visuals truly entertained and mesmerized. Deadmau5 even stayed true to his love for video games, as Rocket League and Minecraft gameplay even came into the cube. As if the impressive structure wasn’t enough, each section of Cube 2.1 moved back-and-forth. It’s no wonder that nothing else can appear on stage, the monstrosity is a very intricate (and expensive) piece of equipment. This is Deadmau5’s baby, along with his music. The two come as a package (three including the LED mau5 head) and they all work in tandem perfectly. It’s OK to be a little cocky with a creation such as that.
And cocky he was the word of the evening. Deadmau5 teased “Ghosts N’ Stuff” as the crowd screamed. He then stopped it, said “Fuck that shit,” and played “Maur Ghosts N’ Stuff” as a tease. The disappointment could be felt throughout the Aragon, but all good musicians must cater to their fans at least once, so he dropped the ghosts immediately after, but not without a middle finger to the sky. He dedicated a track to the 2-night event being the last run of his tour. As the night came to a close, he played a slow and under-appreciated version of “Strobe.” Some in the crowd spent the build of the track talking to others, but the true fans could be seen swaying with the beat and soaking it all in. His final track, “Raise Your Weapon” ended the set with a booming and climactic ending.