Given his classical training in piano since age 4 and his drumming experience in a heavy metal band, there’s not very much room for debate when it comes to Zedd’s musical ability. So it’s not surprising that on Friday night at the Fillmore in Miami Beach, in addition to his originals (including the yet-to-be released “Stay the Night”), he killed Swedish House and Avicii remixes as well as more unexpected remixes like Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound”.
But what gave the show its carpe diem electricity were the perfectly synchronized visuals and lights. Video-game-style vortexes and mazes were projected onto the massive screen while fog bursts and blinding lights shot out from the sides and through the blinking chandeliers. These weren’t just flashing, glaring lights either. No, these lights were planned with the precision to rival pyrotechnics. Creative thought also went into them to insure they reinforced the themes in the music and lyrics. Police car colored lights danced to match the subtle sirens in the background of “Spectrum” and ocean waves of light flowed over the audience during “Lost at Sea”.
But strangely enough, what was particularly magical about the lights wasn’t what they lit up but what they did not: Zedd.
The fact that he was a mysterious shadow amid a sea of light rendered him larger-than-life while, simultaneously, the reverse-illumination effect served to frame and enhance his body-language. It is this body-language that connects him to his audience. Sure he indulges in moments of celebrity, like the classic air-kiss to seal the show, but he executes all his movements sincerely and unselfconsciously. So much so, you would swear he would be as energetic if he were one of us dancing sweatily in the crowd or if he were fiddling with an amateur sound kit in his basement. At times he’s proud, raising his arm like he’s carrying the Olympic torch; other times he’s humble, looking up at the sky as if invoking the gods of electronic music.
But his best move is the most organic one, the one reminder that he’s a mere mortal. Wiping the sweat off his brow with his arm. That’s how you know that he’s an honest-to-goodness professional just doing his job. Even if it does happen to be the coolest job in the world.
words and photos_luisa andonie.