(PCM) This year at The Great Allentown Fair, history was made. EDM juggernaut deadmau5 performed live at the Grandstands, marking the first time the Fair has every hosted a DJ or EDM artist. The traditionally rock and country-dominated festival decided to branch out this year, booking one of the genre’s biggest artists. The Sands Bethlehem Event Center is the only Lehigh Valley venue to ever book the genre, hosting both Tiesto and Hardwell in the last three years. Now, the Fair has joined the ranks, becoming the first festival in the area to branch out.
Working on his new home studio, deadmau5, whose plain-clothes name is Joel Zimmerman, flew into Allentown just hours before the show. According to his Instagram, he took some time to check out the fair, posting pics with some farm animals. As dusk settled in, No Mana took the stage for an opening set. With the crowds juices flowing, mouse ears on, and glowsticks in hand, deadmau5 strolled onto a stage. The stage was a bit stripped down compared to deadmau5’s appearances at Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, and other festivals he appeared at earlier in the spring and summer, but Zimmerman made the most of the huge LED screens and strobes he had.
“So, what the f**k is up Allentown,” Zimmerman asked the crowd a little ways into the set. From there, he tore through a set filled with peaks and valleys that flowed very nicely. He played much of his latest album, (1<2), one of the highlights being “Infra Turbo Pigcart Racer.” The disc debuted last year. He also dropped hits like “Ghosts and Stuff,” “Strobe,” and others. He concluded the set with his version of “Animals” Martin Garrix, a dig at the young Dutch DJ. With that, deadmau5 further established himself as the care-free rock ‘n’ roll renegade of the EDM world.
Throughout the show, fans would occasionally throw a glowstick or two up on-stage. At one point, Zimmerman said half-jokingly, “Stop throwing glowsticks up here it’s getting f**king annoying!” At that moment, a handful of them flew onto the stage. “Oh, alright, go ahead, get it out of your system,” he said while laughing. And he was bombarded with a barrage of glowsticks. Like, a sh*t ton of glowsticks. Many other artists would have been furious or even walked off stage. But deadmau5 said f**k it. He was there to party, too.
Zimmerman performed a significant amount of the show with his mouse head off, ripping cigs and pounding beers. He even spilled one at one point. “This is why we can’t have nice things, Allentown,” he yelled jokingly. He was never short on banter with the fans. “It’s good to be here, Allentown,” Zimmerman said. “Actually, true story, I turned L.A. [Los Angeles, CA] to be here.” The crowd cheered. “F**k L.A.” The crowd exploded.
deadmau5 has established himself as one of the top EDM artists in the world. Last year, his album (1<2) garnered much critical acclaim and earned him his third Grammy Award nomination. deadmau5 boasts one of the most electrifying and captivating live shows in pop music today. After this groundbreaking first step into EDM, the sky’s the limit next year for The Fair.