Live Review: Zedd with Phonat and No Big Deal at the Mod Club in Toronto

Zzedd at the Mod Club in Torontoedd proves why this is his headlining show after a night of sweaty beats at the Mod Club on Nov 25/11
By: Lisa Aldridge

November 25, 2011

Bright green Tetris blocks build skyscrapers above the dance floor as two young electro DJs, No Big Deal, begin their goofy and very danceable set. NBD blend beats with club hits like Justice’s “We Are Your Friends,” followed by DJ Fresh’s “Louder,” and close with The Wanted’s “Glad You Came.” This song, along with the duo themselves, provide a cheerful welcome to the audience. Unfortunately, the club is only half full and too many miss this playful, animated act; a very big deal.

Next up is Italian producer Phonat. He’s clad in jeans and an “EPIC FAIL” t-shirt and opens with the spacey, arcade pulse of “Set Me Free.” Now known as Michele Balduzzi, this London-based beat-master spins electronica, Italian pop and thrash. Michele is having a lot of fun up there. Shaking his lanky, curly-haired frame, he makes the silliest faces while he works; this dude is all tongue. Alas, aside from a few notables like, “Get Down My Dirty Street,” – where he tosses a bit of James Brown in there – the set is too chill and samey to complement the oomph of the crowd, who are anxious for what will follow.

Zedds first bass drop nearly detonates the stage. Dressed in a black leather jacket, this German producer, née Anton Zaslavski, spins a mix of electro and progressive house, complextro and dubstep. Playing instruments since he was four years old, Zedd has used his piano and drum training as the groundwork for beat creation and manipulation.

Phonat at the Mod Club in TorontoZedd at the Mod Club in TorontoHe plays “Shave It,” “Stars Come Out,” and the Sega-inspired “Legend of Zelda,” in front of a drooling crowd. The wobble bass, reverb drums, tribal rhythms and Nintendo hooks create variety and intensity in his set, yet jiggle the floor and tables, leaving many of us to ponder if we will ever hear again.

Zedd also mixes sing-alongs like LMFAO’s “Everyday I’m Shuffling,” Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and Swedish House Mafia`s “Save the World,” which gets every mouth in the room moving. During this feel-good, anthem-esque moment, Zedd stretches his arms in a god-like salute and soap bubbles fall from the sky. Underneath, kids bust moves like, “The Elbow,” “Backbend Fail,” “Punching the Air Real Hard,” and “Can’t Find the Beat.” One thing’s for sure: dubstep has bred a new kind of dance animal.

Photos by: Lisa Aldridge

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