deadmau5: the master remains at top of his game

House of Blues Boston, Boston, January 15, 2020

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

deadmau5 has proven to be one of the leading lights of EDM, and based on this outing, it was easy to see why.

Yes, it might start (but doesn't end) with the songs. deadmau5, aka Joel Zimmerman, made it clear he was not punching the clock on the first of four nights at the venue (and fifth show in Boston overall).

With a keyboard-based sound, the Canadian superstar presented a lot of subtlety during the night. deadmau5 operated out of the gate at a fast pace, but he had no problems slowing it down time and again. That's not often an element that readily comes to mind with EDM.

And while he was a one-man band, Lights (she will open the other Boston shows) came out for cameos on a few songs including "Raise Your Weapon," giving yet another totally different look, feel and sound.

But the most magnificent aspect of the show was the incredibly high-end staging. deadmau5 performed on a raised platform, surrounding by a very large three-sided cube. At times, he was hidden behind the cube with a steady flow of images ranging from swirls of colors to geometrics to a Rubik's cube and more.

And then the cube would pivot and open up, exposing Zimmerman. Sometimes he would wear his trademark mouse head, other times a baseball hat.

deadmau5 had a sense of humor throughout it all. Among the screen images on the cube were a series of animals ranging from a deer to an ostrich with each doing a computer-generated dance. deadmau5 certainly didn't take himself too seriously.

Clocking in at just over 2 hours, there was a bit of fluff in the show with a few stretches not all that distinctive. A bit less would have been more.

But the overall presentation was masterful. With a keen sense of humor, the ability to alter the sound and style throughout and an extremely well-conceived staging, deadmau5 most definitely was a master at the top of his game.

deadmau5's fluidity and ability to go in a variety of directions was in sharp contrast to fellow Canadian outfit, MSTRKRFT. The duo of Jesse F. Keeler and Al-P (Alex Puodziukas) was content to milk the most out of a bass line for the better part of an hour and going off of that time and again. MSTRKRFT just wasn't very challenging musically in laying down their beats.

© Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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