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It's not often that Little Rock has a chance to showcase its rave kids, an underground cult of disaffected vampires who congregate among the living at Discovery or the occasional midweek DJ set before slinking back to their glowstick-lit coffin chambers. To them, Tuesday night's Deadmau5 show must have been a revelation, because they turned out en masse and in force. The Village became a zoo of muscle Ts and haltertops and faux-fur legwarmers, tattoos and piercings, Rainbow Brited-up Candy Ravers and their baggy-jeaned boyfriends, many nursing some kind of buzz, several straight tripping balls, a few twirling LED lights on strings to weave tiny galaxies inside the dark igloo-shaped ex-theater. Aggression melts, motion takes hold, sleeves are for the weak, when the beat drops they feel no pain at all.
Deadmau5 fed them well with ladlefuls of trance-tinged house music, taking over for Burns, his opening act, a little after 11 p.m. and playing straight until 1:30 a.m. — at which time, bam, encore. The Toronto superstar (government name: Joel Zimmerman) spun in and out of a massive pink-on-white mouse head that cast Mickeyesque shadows on the ceiling when the lights caught it right. Aside from a remix of Daft Punk's “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and of the “Legend of Zelda” theme song (accompanied by pixilated footage of Link dashing across the massive video board at centerstage and 32 staggered LED poles that flanked its sides) Deadmau5 plowed ahead with mostly wordless, mostly throbbing electro-house tracks that bled into the next. He veered from thundering jungle beats to elongated feedback loops that sounded like WWII era fighter planes in slow-mo, and from bongo lines that clattered like rainfall to raked, discordant melodic lines that imitated a rasping accordion.
In the aftermath it's hard to sort through the mental rubble. At times the bass burst like a plump tar-pit bubble, and the ground quaked all the way to your spine. Revelers danced like haywire martial artists at the back of the sloping seats, lit from below as if by bonfire. Pretty girls bummed cigarettes. A shirtless man slipped near the bar, pouring sweat, gleeful. The Coke machine ran out of bottled water. A bald guy had trouble tying his sweatshirt around his waist, and laughed as he fumbled: “I'm sober as shit and I can't figure this thing out.”