It was a massively interesting decision to put Deadmau5 on Fuji Rock’s main stage — the Green Stage — at 7:20pm on Saturday night. One could say it was a bit of a gamble on the part of the organizers. Deadmau5 does indeed play to crowds this size — around 20,000 or more can fit in the natural grassy ampitheater of the Green Stage. He’s certainly too big for the Red Marquee, though there he’d be able to play proper dance party hours, somewhere between midnight and 5am. He could have been a White Stage headliner as well. But here he was kicking off Fuji Rock’s Saturday night party with a 90-minute mini-rave to set the tone for Muse later in the evening.
At the beginning, it didn’t seem like it was working. The sun was going down, the weather was gorgeous and finally cooling off, and the DJ in the Mickey Mouse helmet was dropping grandiose Balearic house tracks, and everybody just kind of stood there. Then for the first 30 minutes, it was as if the entire crowd was just sort of collectively waiting for the e to kick in. By the time it finally did, anyone who was just there out of curiosity (i.e. the music critics) had already wandered off. Parties started in clusters throughout the crowd, groups of glow sticks, or people with glowing mouse ears, or in some cases light sabers. By 8:15pm, almost an hour into the set, the whole lower two-thirds of field was dancing, all the way up to the camp chair zone at the top. Deadmau5 has constructed his own brand of EDM house that has all builds and the drops of EDM formula, but there’s no pop, no hip hop, no dubsteppy wob wobs, and to tell the truth almost no vocal samples — only a couple well placed vocal bits that don’t bring the house too far out of its depths.
The stage show left a bit to be desired. When you’re DJing for 20,000 people, it helps to have a light show. There was a long LED display that stretched across the bottom of the stage — a strip maybe 20m long and as tall as the DJ booth. There were also screens above and behind him and also the two side screens. But the VJing was pretty rudimentary. It’s hard not to compare to the Chemical Brothers, or Daft Punk, the other big electronic acts that have played the Green Stage in the past. Deadmau5 had his music, and once the crowd accepted his invitation and went along, it was a fun ride. But as a show, the “Wow!” factor was missing. We’d show you the photos, but his management wouldn’t sign the waiver allowing our web team to shoot his performance. One theory is that his mask was broken, or else that it would reveal his real face. So if you want to see the pics, you’ll have to go search Instagram: #fujirock #deadmau5 would the be the hashtags to look for.
Text: Dave Frazier
Posted on 2015.7.26 16:56
Posted on 2015.7.24 17:48