(CLICK TO ENLARGE | Photo – Bryan Mollett)

Live Review: Contact Music Festival – Deadmau5, Nero, Alesso
Wednesday, December 26th 2012
BC Place

One may have felt like a mouse going after the prize cheese as they entered BC Place Stadium this past Boxing Day. Hundreds of fans were rushing the cement spiral maze trying to reach the main floor of the recently renovated behemoth of a venue, while the sounds of the Swedish house prodigy Alesso got progressively louder as you descended further down the mouse hole.

Alesso was in full swing feeding Swedish pop/house music to the thousands of EDM machines dressed in their finest nightclub gear, custom Deadmau5 helmets, candy flavored costumes and attitudes to match. This helped to enrich the uniquely cartoonish, sexy and fun club feeling appreciated by all of the age brackets in attendance.

The main stage was decked out with bright white spot-lights which framed the top and bottom of the stage, fog machines exploding after dramatic builds and green lasers shot over top of screaming fans. Geometrically obscured looking video screens were placed on either side of the stage expanding the seamlessly projected video footage across the entire span of the stadium.

UK DNB & Dubstep artist NERO’s dj set hit the crowd with a bang. He demanded fan attention and brought forth a relentless force of french house Ed Banger styled electronic dance music (EDM). Nero’s set was one of the most powerful of the evening (for this reviewer, personally was one of the biggest highlights of the Contact Winter Festival). bringing the crowd to a maximum climax preparing everyone for the stage to be overtaken by Deadmau5.

The transitions between the sets was almost seamless making for a consistent flow between acts. When Nero ended his set there was approx 10 minutes of silence to prep for Deadmau5. During this time everyone in the stadium started to pack in tighter getting ready for 28 year old Mr Zimmermans stage arrival with hyped anticipation. Everyone humming with excitement.

Canadian award winning EDM artist Joel Zimmerman doesn’t like being called a DJ. He rolls his eyes at the description and sees it as an outdated way of describing what he does. His sets are live performances consisting of tracks he assembles on the fly using cutting edge computer technology, including software that he’s helped to build himself. The name Deamau5, for those curious was born after an actual dead mouse he found in his computer.

BC Place’s floor was packed with close to 12,000 fans including new fiance Kat Von D (sans moose) who has been traveling with her rodent along the tour. Mau5 was greeted with a hail of cheering from an overexcited, elated audience. He emerged mask-less representing the “Unhooked” flavor for the night without all the bells and whistles of his regular big shows. There was no LED cube, no back lighting, just Deadmau5 with his music gear giving a raw and free performance in a minimal fashion.

The first half an hour of the set seemed to go very slowly but as soon as the black, LED eyed mouse head went on during the remix “Closer” his set kicked into high gear and the party could not be stopped. The visuals had a very gothic cartoon quality that blended well with the entire atmosphere of the venue while still sticking to the Deadmau5 style and brand that everyone loves. The on stage visuals gave a sort of three dimensional feel with several giant screens displayed together.

The only cons to this event were venue related. The huge line ups for the licensed areas, for those even old enough to drink, the disorganization of the crowds and badly laid out floor plans/seating plans made the event awkward and time consuming to get into and to get around. As this was an all ages event there could have been much higher drug enforcement inside of the venue to make it a safer and more family oriented environment.

All in all the Contact Winter Music Festival was an excellent display of what EDM music has to offer and was a MUST to attend for anyone that enjoys this genre of music. Blueprint’s events are continuing to be a success by bringing together talented acts that compliment the flow and energies of the each other, thus helping to create successful concert experiences. It’s easy to get excited about future events with the companies collaborative efforts and look forward to future growth and success here within Vancouver entertainment and nightlife events.

We need more musical acts like this here and have to thank Alesso, DJ Nero, and Deadmau5 for giving us a night to remember!

By: Ryan Tweak Clark

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