I wasn’t exactly sure what to call this blog; it revolves around a one-off event that I experienced a few years ago. I did in fact, write a blog about this on a now defunct Tumblr account. Anyway, here it is again, tidied up, and hopefully a bit more constructive since I’m older (and wiser).
On Friday 6th July 2012, I was invited to Hyde Park as a media guest to watch Deadmau5.
Deadmau5 played a 2 hour set which at one point included guest vocalist (I have no idea who it was) for only one song, other than that – there were no vocals, just an occasional sample – nothing to sing along to for the audience, which I was surprised with – and certainly not used to.  I count John Mayer, Paul McCartney, Skunk Anansie, Pearl Jam and Fleetwood Mac as the best artists I’ve ever seen play live – so you can perhaps begin to understand where I’m coming from.

For the most part the people I was surrounded by in the audience were completely drunk and/or drugged out their face without any reference point – I noted people taking heavy drugs just feet away from me on a regular basis throughout the evening. I was approached multiple times by people asking if I was selling drugs and if I wanted to buy drugs. Drugs were rampant and literally all around me. Why the promoter hadn’t taken measures to prevent this – I have no idea. I wondered, ‘Does one need to be that heavily influenced by other substances to truly embrace EDM (or at least this particular artist/style) in order to enjoy it?’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there’s plenty of people who enjoyed it and continue to without taking anything additional – but personally, I don’t understand the reason for this, and probably will continue to find difficulty in understanding this and its relationship with EDM.

Though their seemingly aimlessly dancing was mostly fuelled by both legal and illegal substances – they were expressing themselves, and enjoying themselves, which is great!

There were also parents there with children, and it was shame to see this culture in this way. I honestly believe that you wouldn’t get that at a Pearl Jam concert who played Hard Rock Calling at the same venue in 2010 – certainly not to the extent of this EDM Concert I went to. I’d never seen it on this scale before and so it leads me to believe the demographic of EDM, attracts a certain type of person, or visa versa, and also drugs.. a kind of circle, but I’m not sure which attracts the other. I should stress at this point, I don’t wish to taint every EDM fan as a drug addict, but like I said, like it or not – the festival was rampant with drugs. I’ve been to Leeds Festival, V Festival, Download Festival, Benicassim and many many other festivals and concerts – This EDM concert was something else!eddie_vedder

The stage set was elaborate with lights and really impressive visuals – the production was second to none, as you’d expect for such a large concert and established artist I suppose. However, once again comparing to my experiences watching the likes of Paul McCartney or Stevie Nicks – the DJ didn’t once speak to the audience – It wasn’t engaging, or overly entertaining to watch in my opinion, I found it difficult to respond to his energy, because he just stands still behind the decks and I found it quite boring to watch.

When Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam moves around the stage at Hard Rock Calling, there is an energy which the audience responds to and feeds off, unlike Deadmau5, who stood still for 2 hours. Eddie climbs into the audience, up lighting rigs, side to side, on top of camera arms – one of the best and most entertaining front men you can ever see.

With Pearl Jam – there will be 2 or 3 hours of material written by 5 guys in a room who are masters of their craft, musicians who have written songs full of real emotions conveyed through music, melody and lyrics which people can sing to along to as well as move to – music and words that mean something different to everyone, interpreted as they wish – I think that really translates when you’re in the audience. I didn’t get that from Deadmau5 – I didn’t feel where it was coming from, the emotion – nothing. Pearl Jam will play in time with each other (and slightly out of time!), each performance is unique dependent on their passion and emotion in that particular moment and will always be different. They speed up, and they slow down, and they break down songs. There’s no computers to keep them in time, or perfectly in-time as is the case with EDM. ‘Who want’s a live recording of a Deadmau5 concert?’ I thought – ‘Nobody’ was the answer. It’s the same as the record, and basically the same as the last concert. I can’t look back and say, “I really enjoyed _X_ moment” or “I really enjoyed _X_ song” – because it’s just 2 hours of, in my opinion – almost exactly the same thing. He repeatedly played whacky ‘spacey’ sounds through a computer for one minute then ‘BOOM’ – a drum beat kicks in and it’s just the same as what happened in the last ‘song’. It was all very repetitive. The concert felt almost exactly like a record- it didn’t make sense to me. I felt that this type of concert was lacking in certain elements (compared that of a preferred Pearl Jam concert – for example).

The is the most beautiful thing about live music – is the uniqueness – and sometimes, I just don’t understand where it comes from with some EDM – It doesn’t feel “live” for me, a live performance has faults, whether is a broken string on a guitar or Eddie Vedder crying mid-song because he’s singing ‘Alive’ (A song written about finding out his real father had died after believing him to be a family friend) like the first time he wrote it. Or Mike McCreedy of Pearl Jam, changing the guitar solo in the same song – because he wants to.

I respect him [Deadmau5] for making a living out of what he does, he’s clearly very talented and good at what he does – people like it but I will struggle to fully embrace EDM in the live arena particularly, especially when compared to the live concerts that I’ve experienced. I guess Fleetwood Mac are Fleetwood Mac for a reason – who will remember Deadmau5 in 30 years? I’m not sure.

Live music isn’t perfect, and isn’t it supposed to be like that?