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Masked Musicians: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In case you've been sleeping the past couple of months, here's some news: Deadmau5, one of the hottest electronic acts in music, is coming to Phoenix, scheduled to play Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, September 1.

He's rocked Coachella, Lollapalooza, and sold out Earls Court in London, all while wearing a giant mouse head mask.

It's easy to call it a gimmick, but any time an artist chooses to wear a mask, they have to work pretty hard to win over cynics. Some do it for anonymity, some do it as an extended art project, some do it so people pay attention to their otherwise bland music.

Deadmau5 is not alone in adding a visual element to what he does. Here are 10 more acts who hide behind masks -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:

Nobunny Justin Champlin wears a bunny mask as Nobunny, and little else, most of the time. Dumb, fun rock 'n' roll at its finest.

Mancat These Tempe-based sample weirdos keep things anonymous, but that hasn't stopped blogs like My Old Kentucky Blog from picking up on their subversive pop music.

MAN-CAT - YEAST by Obscuro @PHXMusic

Daft Punk Even if you were bummed out by the Tron: Legacy soundtrack (don't act like you weren't), Daft Punk have a stockpile of goodwill for killer songs/videos like "One More Time."

The Bad:

Fake MF Doom The real MF Doom is awesome, but fans aren't into the guy who keeps showing up claiming to be Doom at various shows. All sorts of conspiracy theories exist, with Doom himself claiming that he's never employed imposters.

Buckethead Buckethead seems like a cool guy, but just because he's got an emptied bucket of extra crispy on his dome doesn't make him any more listenable than Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, or any of the other "shredders" that make me cringe.

Gwar Evil villains Gwar are totally bad -- as in "bad to the bone." You've got to love the wacky vibe the band pushes, and their absolute dedication to their "space monster" theme. (You've also got to love Joan Rivers describing them as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on LSD.")

The Ugly:

The Locust The Locust push "ugly" sounds so far, they start to sound beautiful.

Lordi Lordi sport nasty prosthetic masks, but if you ignore the look, they have a core of straight up pop-metal. It's enjoyable because it's ugly, and like GWAR, the humor behind what Lordi does is readily apparent.

Slipknot and Mushroomhead I remember being a kid, and thinking that KISS must be the scariest band in the world. I couldn't imagine what their music sounded like, but based on the photos I'd seen, and the rumors floating around youth group (Knights in Satan's Service?), I knew their music would be some haunting, scorched-earth level scary. Then one day, someone pointed out to me that "Rock and Roll All Nite" was a KISS tune -- and I couldn't believe it. I had heard the song a million times, and never once been traumatized, or even scared, by it. I imagine this happens to younger people now in regards to Slipknot and Mushroomhead (who've got a rivalry going, apparently). They both look so much scarier than they actually sound.

Deadmau5 is scheduled to perform Thursday, September 1, at Phoenix Convention Center.

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