On Sunday May 29th, electronic phenomenon Deadmau5 returned from his wildly successful two year anniversary party to bring his overwhelming popularity to Memorial Day Weekend at XS Nightclub.
Sunday marked the height of Memorial Day Weekend in Las Vegas as a lineup of all-star artists flooded the town. Talent such as Armin Van Buuren, Erick Morillo, Paul van Dyk, LA Riots, and David Guetta were all set to perform that evening and unfortunately we could only choose one. I whipped out the DA Guide to MDW and decided that Deadmau5 at XS was the place to be.
The anticipation for this event was unparalleled. The night before, fire marshals decided to shut down XS early due to overcrowding in the hallways of Encore Hotel. This makes sense considering that Afrojack was performing that night. MDW in Vegas is starting to become one of the bigger weekend in the US EDM scene.
XS Sunday Night:
Sold out! Nevertheless, thanks to Ryan, our VIP Host, we got in without a problem.
Upon entering, we were greeted by the sounds of Manufactured Superstars. They did great job of getting the party started. Not only are they a humble DJ duo who dresses up like astronauts, but they are also the co-founders of Beatport. These guys really know what they’re doing. They care about about music and the people who come to see them. It was nice to see them again since the last time we had seen them at Beyond Wonderland.
After an amazing 3 hour set by Manufactured Superstars, it was time to bring Deadmau5 on stage. At 1am, the lights dimmed and the music faded out as fans cheered. It was the moment that everyone had been waiting for. Glowsticks waved in the air as all eyes centered on the stage. Deadmau5 emerged sporting his Orange Billiard’s Ball Mau5 head.
Watch the intro:
Deadmau5 has performed in front of millions of people through out his career under his alter ego, a deceased rodent. Tonight he joined us as vintage-analog-mind-bending DJ, Joel Zimmerman. Deadmau5 or not, Zimmerman knows how to please a crowd – and that he did.
Deadmau5 ‘unhooked’ is what Zimmerman calls his freestyle sets. He features a full length mix of some favorite songs, originals, and bootleg stuff that you will never ever hear anywhere else. This means that his sets are filled with “ID” tracks and rare mashups that don’t even exist. Because of that, we will mostly be mentioning his most known tracks. The material he used during his performance was composed of on-the-fly triggered loops found within his arsenal of Mau5trap sounds. It was a real treat to watch him perform this way.
Deadmau5 performed using an Allan & Heath DB4 Mixer, Jazzmutant Lemur, Native Instruments Kontrol X1, and Macbook Pro running Ableton Live 8. For more info on his setup, please refer to this article found on Beatport.
Zimmerman started his set with a very minimal, yet hard hitting groove that shook the dancefloor from the moment he dropped the first 808. After about one minute of his intro sequence, Deadmau5 mixed in some of his essentials.
“Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano – Pondo (Chuckie & Silvio Ecomo Mix)”
Noir – Super Skunk (Deadmau5 Remix)
Barely warming up, Deadmau5 let the crowd marinate with some nice tech house as he prepared his next track. 12 minutes in, Deadmau5 got melodic. Slowly as the previous track faded, we began to hear the lead synth of a new song. The track was “Some Chords” but with an alteration to the main melody. The break came in, and the crowd went wild.
Check out this video we made using footage from different people on the dance floor.
On stage: Steve Wynn
Everyone went nuts for this electro banger. The song continued with an extended outro which then faded into an alternate ending. A new track began to build up as the sounds of a screeching synth line glided in. Next came ‘Moar Ghosts N Stuff’. Everyone immediately recognized the dirty synth line and cheered with excitement. The song played out as normal up until a musical break when an orchestral section came in. With the drum patterns on hold, Rob Swire’s voice comes in with the chorus line. Take a look.
While he cued up his next track, everyone had their drinks in hand and ready to party. People were dancing in the pool, bottles were popping inside, and Kevin Farley was standing next to us.
Immediately following ‘Moar Ghosts N Stuff’ came a track off his newest album, 4×4=12. Driven by the unique lyrical styles sung by Sofi, Deadmau5 dropped his next track, ‘Sofi Needs A Ladder’.
Following that, Zimmerman mixed in his classic festival favorite.
‘Deadmau5 vs Jelo – The Reward Is Cheese’. So good!
The track played out as normal up until the second build up where he brought in the acapella for Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’. This moment would mark a high point of his set thus far. Daft Punk vocals continued to loop as he pulled in another track from beneath. The last moments of the song switched up into a slow yet pulsating decay.
After a small quiet section, Zimmerman brought in this delightful track:
A Comet In Florida (Skytech Mashup)
Zimmerman took a few moments to breath while he took off his head. After a series of beat juggling, Deadmau5 stopped the music to bust out some attitude. Using the help of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name Of’, Zimmerman loosened up the crowd. Known for playing this song in his unhooked sets, Deadmau5 decided to change something during the middle. Watch:
How do you mix out of RATM?
Doctor P – Tetris
Very appropriately, a series of Dubstep tracks would follow up. Straight from the sounds of his album, 4×4=12, Deadmau5 dropped this grimy track.
‘Raise Your Weapon’ would follow up next. Everyone stopped to listen to this track. I remember it because even my bartender decided to stand back and sing along to the lyrics of this emotional song. This moment in time would mark the height of his performance.
Very calmly, Deadmau5 dove into some deep house music. For the next 20 mins, the bodies were shaking as Zimmerman mixed some tech house. Songs such as Stimming – Tel Aviv Calling, Sylar – Mellow (Sara Galli Shamalaya Remix), Traversable Wormhole – Closed Timelike Curve (Marcel Dettmann Rmx), and with what seemed to be the acapella sample from Funk Phenomenon.
With a nicely executed chilled out section, Deadmau5 brought out his song, ‘Strobe’:
At this point, Zimmerman dove into Trance. He continued his set with some very atmospheric and ambient trouse style music.
Deadmau5 – Not Exactly (Original Mix)
Deadmau5 – HR 8938 Cephei (Original Mix)
Deep in the mix, Zimmerman settled on a nice solid groove as he continued his dark, yet melodic performance.
I spotted this gem during the last moments of his set.
Radiohead – Everything in its Right Place (Gigamesh Remix v2.0)
Shortly after, Zimmerman put his head back on as he shifted back into Deadmau5 mode for his last songs of the night.
Creeping up at 4am and club still full, Deadmau5 closed his set with a track that no one ever forgets. A truly timeless song, and my all-time favorite Deadmau5 track, ‘I Remember’.
Ending his 3 hour set, Deadmau5 took his Mau5 head off for a moment of clarity as he twisted ‘I Remember’ using distortion and time bending effects to create a crazy sound experience. Take a look:
Overwhelmed by the happiness of a successful and unforgettable weekend, we celebrated through the night. My take on Deadmau5’s set was double sided. On one side, I felt Deadmau5 did an incredible job of blending many styles of music together. His creative DJ skills and unique ability to surprise the crowd with songs that are ages old is an incredible feat. Deadmau5 continues to be a pioneer for the world of EDM. On the other hand, the way I was unsure about the compatibility with a Vegas nightclub. For those who truly appreciated and recognized good music, you could not have argued that this event was epic. However, being in Vegas, a good amount of people who attended the event were just there for the nightlife. The night may have held a different experience for them. In Vegas you should expect that kind of response from certain people.
Considering both sides, I must say that the rise of electronic music has caused people from all walks of life to gather together for events like these. Whether people recognize good entertainment or not is a different topic. Deadmau5 did an awesome job as well as Club XS for putting on such a great event.
“XS Nightclub continues to be recognized as one of the top nightclubs worldwide…” says Jesse Waits, managing partner of XS and Tryst nightclubs. “As one of the most talented artists on a global scale, Deadmau5 was a perfect fit for the energy…”
While events such as Memorial Day Weekend continue to occur, Las Vegas is cementing it’s place as an industry hub for EDM. Some would even say that Memorial Day Weekend has now become comparable to Miami Music Week.
It was my honor to review this event and I hope to see what Deadmau5 has in store for next time. Until then, keep it locked for more news and event coverage.