Review / photos: Deadmau5 brings a 'Gift' of candy, costumes, selfies and killer beats at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium
If ever there was an event to help you get up and out of the holiday food coma, one-night EDM fest "The Gift" just might have been it.
DJ Deadmau5 (or Joel Zimmerman) and openers Adventure Club, Nervo, GTA and Nom De Strip, got a young, good-looking Tampa Bay crowd into cathartic dance mode in the parking lot of Raymond James Stadium on the night after Christmas. Here are the 10 best things we heard and saw at The Gift, most of which didn't actually happen on the stage.
-- Grown men exchanging candy bracelets. On more than one occasion, we caught adult, heterosexual men enthusiastically exchanging beaded friendship bracelets (also nicknamed "kandi" or candy bracelets) as if they were trading cards. Our photog Luis got one that said "vagina." Classy, I know. We hear that's like the Mickey Mantle for collectors.
-- One of the largest selfies ever. It was a huge year for the "selfie," and we're happy we could close out 2013 with a big one. There must have been 40-plus people (duck faces included) posing in front of one long, outstretched arm. Wait. Is it us, or is that defeating the purpose of the selfie in the first place?
-- Santa stuff. The balls of a dozen or more Santa hats bounced in unison to Adventure Club's remix of Icona Pop's I Love It, Blue Foundation's Eyes on Fire and Lana Del Rey's Summertime Sadness. Because nothing says the holidays like pulsing remixes of your favorites.
-- Responsible partying. Just as sure as the beat will drop at an EDM event, kids will take drugs. Fortunately, at The Gift, we're happy to report the medical tent wasn't a hot spot. That may have had something to do with the thorough pat downs happening at the entry, although we can't be sure. Maybe Deadmau5’s condemnation of Madonna’s Molly reference at Ultra a few years ago has started to sink in with fans. Either way, we’re glad Tampa party people could save some serotonin for the next occasion.
-- Cooperative Florida weather. It was 66 degrees, which totally makes sense. Because who wants to rave in a parka? Tank tops and skimpy evening wear were in full effect.
-- Homemade mouse outfits and accessories. There were happy mice in Florida and they had nothing to do with Mickey Mouse for a change. Sure, dressing up in rodent gear is standard at Deaudmau5 shows, but boy is it entertaining. Deadmau5 wore his own light-up headgear for most of the show, too. There was some question beforehand about whether that would happen at an "unhooked" show. But all "unhooked" boiled down to was less on LED cube, or the Mau5cube, and more on freestyle mixes and mash-ups.
-- Drinking games. If you took a shot every time an opening act said "Tampa, make some noise" or some iteration of that, you'd need a cab for sure. "Are you there?" One of Deadmau5's latest tracks Your Ad Here contains an abrupt silence during the hook (just before a sample says "are you there”) like the power got cut off or something. It was a neat trick, and a pretty cool moment live, second to only the drop in Ghosts N Stuff, which had the place going off.
-- Timing. If you ask us, The Gift was timed perfectly. It was the day after Christmas, and folks seemed extra excited to take a break from the relatives. For perspective, just take the normal amount of EDM catharsis and multiply it by 10.
-- Free water. It's really about time. In an EDM festival environment in particular, it seems criminal to charge folks six bucks for water, something they should be drinking plenty of. Props to festival organizers for having a stand that gave it out for free.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*