Ultra 2014: Deadmau5 Subs for Avicii, Plays "Levels," Pisses Off Tiesto for Being "Sarcastic"
Photo by George Martinez The Mau5 man miming suicide at last year's Ultra.
He is EDM's evil stepchild.
Many hail Deadmau5 as "my fave DJ!" Some refer to the King Rat as the "Troll of Trolls." Others whisper "asshole."
For years, Joel Zimmerman, the human who wears that famous rodent helmet for a living, has been cultivating a reputation (mainly via Twitter) as a perpetual, unrelenting jerk. He might bitch about the price of tickets for his own club gigs. And he might slander any and every EDMer for any and every reason. And he will certainly sneer at the suggestion that he should be overly nice to someone just because that guy's undergone gallbladder surgery.
So last night, as the Mau5 took Ultra Music Festival 2014's main stage in place of the ailing Avicii, it was probably inevitable that he'd piss off a lot of people.
Photo by George Martinez
Even before Deadmau5 strolled toward the DJ booth to fulfill his 11 p.m. time slot, there was a buzz among the ravers about what "crazy shit" the King Rat might pull during this sub-in set.
Now, if you weren't aware, the Mau5 was stepping up as the replacement for the aforementioned Avicii, who'd suffered a medical emergency this past Thursday, been rushed to the hospital, and canceled his only other scheduled show outside of UMF, just hours after arriving in Miami.
The next day, the sick superstar bailed on Ultra and EDM's evil stepchild (who once said, "Ultra's same thing every fucking year," wondering, "When's it going to be played out?") was tapped.
well... looks like my stay here in miami just got extended for a couple more days ;)— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) March 28, 2014
So with only about an hour till the second day of Ultra 2014 would be over, the Mau5 was ready to get goin'.
But he couldn't quite figure out how to climb into the DJ booth, joking over the main stage mic about the death-defying jump required just to get behind the decks.
It took a bit of effort, but he eventually made it. And the King Rat show was on.
Seriously that was a long jump to that stage speaker. Once I was on there I wondered how I even made that jump in the first place. #stunts— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) March 30, 2014
As far as Deadmau5 sets go, it was fairly typical: moody, erratically paced, and self-indulgent, though still offering a few moments for the mainstream fans. And the ravers seemed to be OK with the goings-on, even if they weren't exactly going wild.
But it wasn't just the headliner that'd caused the vibe to be so muted. All evening, it had been raining, on and off. The crowd had thinned out, as many partiers fled for their hotels and homes when the downpour was at its worst. Even the Mau5heads who'd stuck 'round were looking wet and worn-out.
Severe thunderstorms and rain? Sounds like my kinda party.— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) March 29, 2014
He played some remixes, like Morgan Page's "Longest Road." He played some originals, like "Suckfest 9001," "Drop the Poptart," "Fn Pig," and "The Veldt." And he even played some stuff like Martin Garrix' "Old McDonald"-merking "Animals," of which the King Rat said, "I fuckin' love that track."
But the flash point of the night ended up being a mashup: Mr. Mau5's own "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" and Avicii's "Levels."
One member of the Ultra crowd said, "Oh, no. He didn't." And incidentally, Tiësto seems to have felt the same way. Even if the reaction was a bit delayed.
Though initially commending the Mau5 for honoring Avicii with a setlist shoutout (tweeting, "I love the fact that he supports his EDM colleagues!!"), Tiësto quickly shifted his perception of the "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" vs. "Levels" moment when he was tipped off that maybe, just maybe it was meant as a caustic crack of some kind.
The King Rat's response: "How does one play a track sarcastically?" and a string of dismissive tweets that he's since deleted.
Composite screengrab via twitter.com/deadmau5
Of course, though, Tiësto wasn't the only person who the Mau5 managed to piss off.
By the end of his set (which admittedly wound down without the figurative fireworks accompanied by real fireworks that ravers at UMF expect), he'd also disappointed entire clusters of festival-goers who loudly claimed that they'd bought their tix just to see Avicii.
These people were everywhere. But they certainly weren't the majority. They were just the loudest. Even on Twitter.
@deadmau5 should never be able to play at a festival again !— chris serna⛄️ (@ChrisSerna12) March 30, 2014
@deadmau5 that closing sucked pretty bad— tucan (@rubentorres__) March 30, 2014
That was the worst closing set I've seen @deadmau5— Paul Butera (@Paulybizz) March 30, 2014
Naturally, Deadmau5 retweeted the haters. 'Cause that's his thing ... Taking the piss.
And last night, as the King Rat left Ultra main stage, he delivered one last jab, fussing: "Now how am I gonna get down? I'm gonna fall on my ass and end up in a hospital bed between Afrojack and Avicii."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.