It’s nearly 9:30 p.m. in Austin, Texas and Kx5 — the electronic dance music supergroup of Kaskade and deadmau5 — quietly take the stage. The legends are not lost on the crowd, however, as they begin to be adored by the Waterloo Park fans at the Moody Amphitheater.
“Austin!” Kaskade yells into his mic, showing the city some love before returning his full attention back to his deck, as he and deadmau5 perform with precision a steady stream of syrupy and hypnotic hits beginning with set opener “Bright Lights.”
With lyrics like, “There’s a place… we can go… for a feeling…” the pair set the tone for the third and final night (Saturday, March 18) of Billboard’s South By Southwest concert series. The two of them deliver a much-needed, communal dance party to end a week that was nonstop for many.
The headlining set could not come at a better time for Kaskade and deadmau5, either, as just 24 hours earlier Kx5 released its self-titled debut album — over a decade after the two first partnered up. The night is a celebration of all that has been achieved.
Throughout the set — which clocks in at just over an hour long and utilizes over 50 lights and frequent fog blasts — Kaskade and deadmau5 deliver sky-high drops tailor made for roller coaster enthusiasts — especially on new track “Eat Sleep,” which blends into a snippet of an industrial, deconstructed remix of “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
Later, during the atmospheric album cut “When I Talk” deadmau5 lights up — creating his own personal mini fog machine — while “Sacrifice,” which features Sofi Tukker, prompts Kaskade to yell “C’mon!” while reclining his upper body into a small standing backbend.
As the show nears its halfway point the fog seems to rise in intensity. A dedicated fan dances along, holding two circular press down night lights that look more like floating orbs.
To prepare for the set’s peak, the pair dive into “Escape,” a melodic daydream off Kx5 on which British singer-songwriter Hayla questions: “What if I escape?” For most in attendance, this show offered just that — even if only for a brief while.
Deadmau5 shows Kaskade a song on his phone during the song. The two respond with wide eyes and jaws dropping before focusing with laser focus on their last minutes on stage. Just then, the Kx5 logo, which opened the show, appears onscreen. This is a sign that they are truly coming full circle.
The journey is over.
But not before one last hit. The one, of course, that started it all: “I Remember.”
“This song is old enough to vote!” deadmau5 declares with a wide smile. After a long time, deadmau5 gets up from the platform that had housed him and Kaskade, and brings his beer. He takes a well-deserved bow, and then applauds his partner who remains glued to the deck until the last note reaches the last row of fans.
The chant for encores begins as they walk off stage. After such a short encore, Kx5 delivered a performance no one will ever forget.
Even so, one bawling fan could be heard telling friends: “I need to see this again.”